Veterinarians see it all too often. A client brings in a furry friend for a checkup. The veterinarian recommends the dog or cat get a teeth cleaning treatment and the client leaves saying he’ll make a cleaning appointment later. The client returns the following year and it’s the same story.
This is a frustrating scenario because you know that those animals will have unnecessary dental problems and, potentially, other health problems as a result because of client inaction.
Promote and Make Good Pet Dental Health a Priority
A big part of the problem is that many clients simply aren’t aware of how important it is for cats and dogs to have clean teeth. They don’t know the problems neglected teeth can cause; everything from mouth sores to bacterial infections reaching the heart. It’s much more than an issue of cosmetics or stinky dog breath.
1. Pictures are powerful. Create posters that show before and after dental cleaning pictures of a dog’s or cat’s teeth. Hang these posters up in your waiting area and exam rooms. When clients see close-up pictures of what their pets’ teeth might look like before a cleaning, they’ll be more inclined to make the cleaning appointment before leaving your clinic.
2. Take a lesson from retail stores. Hold a drawing to give away a free dental cleaning or progressive discount. This can be as simple as having clients fill out a ticket and drop it into a jar. Or hand all clients checking out a secret dog or cat dental cleaning coupon from 10 to 50 percent or even a free dental cleaning. All prizes will have some value. The discount is only revealed when they go to redeem after the dental cleaning.
3. Make it social. Like every business, your practice needs to have a social media presence. National Pet Dental Health Month is a perfect example of why social media is so useful. Update your Facebook page regularly about why dogs and cats need regular dental care. You can get more aggressive by offering discounted cleanings if a client mentions your Facebook page when making an appointment.
4. Old school still works. Send a mail campaign. Because February is just around the corner, now is the time to send out a mailer to your clients with information about dental health. The mailer can be everything from a color, multi-paged brochure to a simple letter. Make sure the mailer includes why dental health is so important and the consequences of neglecting their pets’ teeth. This can be followed by how your clinic can help. Explain the cleaning process and the measures you take to ensure pet safety and comfort. End the mailer with a call to action that tells the client to call the clinic to make an appointment. Like with the other promotional methods, you can also offer a teeth cleaning coupon as part of the mailer to entice more clients to call.
5. Go live. Hold an event right in your animal hospital, if space permits. Perform demonstrations about how clients can clean their dogs’ teeth at home. Give behind-the-scenes tours of your clinic so clients can see how an animal hospital operates. Kids will especially love the backstage tour experience. This would even be a great time to hold a drawing for free dental cleanings. Have refreshments ready for both your clients and their furry companions. Have your staff on hand to answer questions.
Promote Pet Dental Health All Year
Clean teeth aren’t just important during the month of February. Your animal hospital needs to be educating clients and talking about their pets’ teeth year round. Train the entire clinic staff about the importance of dental health so they can educate clients about paying more attention to their pets’ teeth. This is an ongoing educational process that will take time to sink in.
In the meantime, take advantage of National Pet Dental Health Month. National campaigns will bring increased awareness throughout the country. So be ready to do your part.