Adopt a kit, save a pet
Adopting a pet can be exciting for your client. It can also be a lot of work—more work than some of your clients may be ready for. Prepare your new pet owners for what lies ahead by presenting them with an adoption kit: a binder filled with pamphlets, brochures, and free samples designed to help both pet and owner.
Dr. Julie Clark-Blount, owner of Laurel Oaks Animal Hospital in Kingsland, Ga., started handing out these kits, which focus on behavior as well as other health care issues, when her practice first opened in 2006 and she hasn't stopped. "Poor behavior in pets is what gets them sent back to the shelter," Dr. Clark-Blount says.
The goal of the adoption kits is to educate pet owners and get them on the right track from the beginning. After all, bad behavior in pets usually means the person—not the pet—is doing something wrong, Dr. Clark-Blount says.THE INSIDE SCOOP
That's why it's important to tailor each kit to fit every dog and cat individually. First, ask your clients about their pet's lifestyle. Find out if the cat or dog will be an indoor or outdoor pet and if he or she will be living in the city or out in the country. Then tweak the adoption kit accordingly.
If the animal will be exposed to ticks, include brochures about flea and tick prevention. If he or she will be outside constantly, include brochures about environmental protection from poisonous plants, snake bites, heat stroke, and natural disasters. Plus, include information about potential genetic problems. "We make our adoption kits as breed-specific as possible," Dr. Clark-Blount says.
FREE IS KEY
Very few clients will turn down free samples, so include as many freebies as you can in your adoption kits. If you can get the samples donated, it costs you nothing extra—and it's guaranteed to put a smile on your client's face. Dr. Clark-Blount recommends including the following:
> Diet samples
TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
Keep in mind, though, that adoption kits are more than just brochures and samples—they're about client education and dialogue, Dr. Clark-Blount says. Instruct your clients how to clean the cat or dog's ears, especially in breeds that are more likely to get ear infections. Also, be sure to explain the dental needs of each pet. And teach your clients how to administer medications. Most importantly, encourage your clients to ask questions. Here are some more topics to touch on to get the conversation flowing:
> Potty training
Dr. Clark-Blount doesn't charge her clients for the adoption kits, and the feedback she's received makes all the copying and compiling worth it. "It's about giving your clients the right building blocks to be successful long term," Dr. Clark-Blount says.