Ready to Roam?

By Meghan E. Burns, DVM, Connect Veterinary Consulting
June, 2017

Help remind your veterinary customers of what pet parents and clinic staff need to be prepared for before summer travel season


The smell of the open road! It’s a staple of the summer travel season. Oh wait, are we behind a garbage truck? What’s that smell? Oh, no Fluffy got car sick!

Let’s rewind. This all could have been avoided. If we went back in time to ten days prior to the time in the car, we would be back to the day when Fluffy was brought in for a health certificate. While Fluffy was getting all of his vaccines updated and the veterinarian was ensuring he was healthy enough to travel and for the health certificate to be issued, did your veterinary customer think to ask about whether he gets car sick?

It’s important to help veterinarians recognize that preventing a problem is an easier course of action than handling medical concerns on the road with frustrated clients who demand immediate answers. Reminding your customers to engage pet owners with the right questions at the right time will help to head off these concerns before they become an issue on a long car ride. Ensuring your customers’ clients are prepared prior to travel with what medications to have in the event of motion sickness prior to departing on a road trip will do a lot to keep their clients happy and ensure your customers maintain that relationship. We must also remind our customers to have their staff prepared to handle the concerns of pet owners by phone when unexpected travel issues arise. Providing empathy, genuine concern, and solutions to your customers’ most valuable clients over the phone will go a long way to enhancing the veterinarian-client relationship.

Vet-Advantage Ready to Roam? By Meghan E. Burns

Protection against diseases
Infectious and parasitic disease is also a real concern when pet parents travel with their furry friends to new areas. There are ways pet owners can keep their pets safe from fleas, ticks, endoparasites, heartworm disease, as well as other diseases such as, Leptospirosis and Lyme.

It’s our job to ensure our customers have the right tools to educate their clients on the transmission of these diseases and ensure they are properly protected long before they hit the road. For example, if the pet owner is traveling to an area where ticks and Lyme disease are more prevalent, pet owner education is required several weeks before the trip if their dog has never been vaccinated to help prevent Lyme disease. For the dog to be protected, Lyme vaccination needs to be administered twice initially 2-3 weeks apart and then boostered yearly. The pet owner also needs to be educated on the current topical and oral monthly preventative options for both ticks and fleas.

Using a checklist
It would also be wise to suggest that your customers create tools such as a “Road Warrior” checklist for their clients to open up a dialogue before summer travel season hits. Very few pet owners are aware that their beloved furry friends pick up on a myriad of non-verbal clues that indicate change is ahead. It would be great if we could remind our customers to let their clients know to desensitize their pets to their normal pre-travel rituals. For example, leaving a suitcase out in the house so that it is not associated with their pet parent leaving and becomes more of a normal piece of décor that doesn’t induce a reaction may help reduce pre-travel anxiety for human and hound. If the pet has not had the opportunity to go along with their owners on longer car rides, taking frequent and progressively longer car rides will help acclimate the pet to the car.

We can also further recommend to our customers that the vehicle, as well as the carrier or crate, be prepared for convenience and ease for their clients’ pets. Pheromone sprays can be used on a towel to line a carrier, crate, or back seat of a car to further help keep the pet calm. Reminding our customers to remind their clients to allow some time to pass for the towel to dry in order for any alcohol smell to dissipate is important. Other concepts that can easily be forgotten in the flurry to get out of dodge include traveling early or late in the day when the sun is not at its highest point to help keep the car cooler. In addition, it’s important to properly restrain the pet in the event of sudden stops in traffic as well as properly positioning air vents to allow for maximum comfort. It is also wise to have easy access to their pets’ food, water, bowls, waste bags, and medication in the car in the event of any unforeseen delays in their travel plans. Frequent stops are also a good idea to allow bipeds and quadrupeds to stretch their legs and take a break from the stress of travel and confined spaces.

Once the pet owner has parked the car at their final destination, there are new opportunities for even a well-adjusted pet to become anxious. New campsite mates or housemates – both human and hound, new environments, noises, and smells – oh my! No matter whether our veterinary customers’ clients and their pets are enjoying the great outdoors or visiting family, it’s important for pet owners to create a sanctuary where their pet can retreat to in the event that they are over-stimulated, scared of loud noises like fireworks, or need to take a break from their new surroundings. Also, don’t forget to remind pet parents to keep their pet’s normal routine as much as possible including meal times and exercise.

Partnering with our veterinary customers to help keep their clients happy during this busy time of year will help them to see you as an invested partner in their business. After all, when you are looking out for your customer’s best interest and finding unique ways to be of service, you will strengthen the relationship with your veterinary customers and identify yourself as a go-to source for solving everyday problems.

 

Road Warrior Checklist

Is Your Pet:

  • Up to date on vaccines?
  • Current on monthly heartworm and flea/tick preventative?
  • Do you have copies of recent bloodwork, vaccination record, and health certificate
    (if necessary)?
  • Is the microchip registration contact information up to date?
  • Do you have an adequate stock of any and all medications?
  • Does your pet need car/motion sickness medication?
  • Desensitized to travel rituals?
  • Acclimated to the car?

Does Your Car Have:

  • A comfortable and cool place to lay down?
  • Restraint device to secure crate/carrier/pet?
  • All medications, waste bags, food, water, and bowls in easy to access place in the car? 

**Always remember to never leave your pet unattended in the car for any length of time!**

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