Managing Pet Parent Anxiety at Your Veterinary Office
Nearly every pet parent experiences some level of anxiety when dropping off their beloved furry friend at the vet. It only makes sense for this to happen considering most pet owners do not know the entirety of how their pet is treated while at your veterinary practice. These unknowns lead to your clients spiraling about potential risks their pets might get exposed to.
While this anxiety can make helping the client a bit more difficult, it comes from a place of love for their pet. So, how can your veterinary practice best manage pet parent anxiety to improve health outcomes for the pets you treat?
What Causes Pet Parent Anxiety at the Vet?
Pet parent anxiety largely stems from the unknown factors of bringing a pet to the vet. Everyone has heard at least one horror story related to leaving a pet with someone you don’t know. Even though the purpose of a veterinarian is to care for the health of pets, people still let these horror stories creep into their thoughts which leads to anxiety.
Some people also experience separation anxiety in the same way their pet does. This type of anxiety comes from simply being apart from the pet. It also ties into the unknown as when the pet parent is away from the pet, the owner cannot ensure the pet’s safety.
Why Veterinary Practices Need to Manage Pet Parent Anxiety
When pet owners experience anxiety about bringing their pets to the vet, they tend to push back appointments. Whether it’s a necessary procedure or a regular check-up, maintaining regular appointments with a veterinarian is crucial to the health of a pet.
So, by helping alleviate pet parent anxiety, you can improve the health outcomes of the pets you treat. This can also help increase the number of repeat visits you receive as your clients will feel more comfortable bringing their pet to your office with any of their concerns.
How to Best Manage Pet Parent Anxiety at Your Veterinary Practice
Given that pet parent anxiety largely stems from the owner not knowing exactly what happens to their pet at the vet, veterinary practices can help alleviate this anxiety through transparency. There are a few key ways practices can reduce the number of unknown factors for pet owners when they book an appointment at your practice.
Offer a Virtual Tour on Your Website
Providing a virtual tour to clients allows them to see your practice before even booking an appointment. This can help alleviate pet parent anxiety by showing them the cleanliness and care you put into your practice.
During a virtual tour, provide a comprehensive view of the entirety of your veterinary practice. Give them a walk-through of the experience they can expect from when they walk into the door to when they leave with their pet. Show them the rooms where pets have procedures and exam rooms. This level of transparency puts pet parents at ease.
You can also include simple greetings from staff or a recorded narration of the video. Using voices the pet parent might hear at your practice can help further reduce anxieties as soon as they hear that familiar voice.
Allow Pet Parents to Stay with Their Pet During Minor Procedures
During any minor procedures without any major risks, allowing the owner to stay with their pet can go far in terms of managing both the owner’s and the pet’s anxiety. Providing this level of transparency into the care you offer gives owners the assurance they need to trust your practice. This assurance can even carry over to more major procedures when owners cannot stay with their pets.
Beyond allowing pet parents to stay with their pets, you can also offer other forms of transparency. Start with thoroughly explaining every step you plan to take to ensure the safety of every pet you treat. You can further this level of transparency by offering a live stream of a pet’s treatment to its owner.
Provide Distractions in the Office for Pet Parents
Distractions offer an effective way to temporarily reduce anxiety. Something as simple as keeping a television on in the waiting room can give pet parents a way to distract their thoughts from anxious feelings about their pets. You can always go further with this idea by providing other forms of distraction related to their pet such as running small pet health classes during extended treatments.
Show Pet Parents You Know How to Care for Their Pets Immediately
As soon as a pet walks into your veterinary practice, staff can help reduce pet parent anxiety. By showcasing your staff’s ability to care for pets, you let owners understand that this is your area of expertise. Simple steps such as walking a dog comfortably on a leash or offering a chew toy to distract the pet can make a world of difference in the way the owner views your practice.
Leverage Your Efforts to Manage Pet Parent Anxiety in Your Marketing
On top of offering higher quality care to the pets you treat, you can further leverage any efforts you put towards managing pet parent anxiety by incorporating those efforts into your marketing materials. Allowing pet parents to stay with their pets during minor procedures is a major benefit for most pet owners. So, make sure to showcase this quality to all potential new clients.
A virtual tour can act as a marketing tool on its own. Showcase the quality of your veterinary practice throughout your marketing materials with a real representation of what clients can expect as soon as they walk in the door. During the virtual tour, you can show any distractions you provide to owners and the way you treat animals from the moment they walk through the door.
By understanding that pet parent anxiety comes from a place of love, veterinary practices can provide resources to alleviate client anxiety during every visit. It only requires a caring touch that alleviates the unknown factors of letting someone else care for your pet.