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Busting Through Senior Pet Care Assumptions at Veterinary Practices

By Pam Foster
September, 2016

As a distributor rep visiting practices every day, what are you seeing when it comes to senior pet care? For instance, are you assuming that your customers… Vet Advantage photo: To prepare for a senior care discussion with all the practices you visit, check out available materials such as this AVMA Senior Pet Care FAQ page.

  • Identify every senior patient that walks through the door… and then provides the most appropriate care? 
  • Follow a clear and thorough senior care protocol throughout the practice (where the entire team is on board)?
  • Look at all aspects of the senior pet to determine what he or she needs? 
  • Offer a full range of solutions for senior patients — from traditional to alternative?
  • Help clients become fully informed owners and stewards of their aging pets, so these animals can grow old in the most healthy and happy way possible? 

That's a lot of assumptions, and some of them may be off base because senior care can sometimes fall by the wayside for practices, considering everything else they have to juggle these days.

So here's a challenge for you:

Never assume your customers are following an up-to-date senior care plan within the practice. Make it a point to discuss senior care protocols with every clinic you visit through the end of the year.

Why would you want to do this when you've already got other priorities on your sales-call plate?

There are several benefits to bringing up senior care.

First, you can inject a revived focus and energy into a practice's mission to provide the best care to all senior patients. It's probably safe to assume that all of your customers want to provide the very best care. It's just that senior care — as a primary focus — may have gotten buried beneath the team's other daily to-do's.

So when you sit with a practice owner or office manager and ask about senior care, you may be re-igniting a spark the practice will appreciate. This is great for the practice, their patients, and their clients, right? 

Second, you can be the superstar that introduces exciting new solutions that support the best protocol.

With so many new products coming out to support senior care, you have a chance to enlighten your customers about:

  • Special new diets for senior/aging patients
  • Advanced diagnostic tests to uncover hidden conditions and catch problems early
  • Exciting new therapies, including alternative approaches such as laser therapy and senior supplements
  • Client education resources and approaches to help their clients understand what to watch — changes such as reduced/increased water intake, a slowdown in mobility, limping or other signs if pain, etc. — so they can call and get support as quickly as possible 
  • Other innovations that can help, such as wearable technology, therapeutic pools, and games that stimulate brain power. The opportunities are exploding in the senior pet care market!

We recommend that you prepare a brief presentation or questionnaire to bring with you on every sales call; an up-to-date packet ready to show anyone in the practice. 

Here are some ideas for starters: 

  1. Review the senior care materials from the AVMA and DVM360 (including their senior care toolkit and information on senior pet wellness screens). 
  1. Be sure to check with various product manufacturers in your catalog to see what they offer. (You may find terrific resources in our online Manufacturers Directory).
  1. Google "senior pet products" just to see what shows up in the results. You may find items that your catalog caries… but they may not necessarily be listed together within a senior care category.
  1. Create a quick sheet of questions the practice can ask each client about diet, lifestyle, mobility, unusual behavior, etc.
  1. Ask practices if they're planning to celebrate November Adopt a Senior Pet Month, with incentives to help clients adopt these overlooked yet loving companions.

See where we're going with this? You're not only bringing immense value to practices, patients and clients… you'll be increasing your bottom line and making a difference to more senior pets.

Topics: Senior Care