3. The Internet
Pet owners are going online to seek information on pet health care and to decide if they need to make veterinary appointments.
A website is no longer enough to help you reach pet owners outside the walls of your veterinary practice. The real action
today is happening on social media sites such as Facebook. Consider these facts:
> Seventy-nine percent of all adults are online. They use the Internet an average of 33 hours per week, and one-third of that
time is spent on Facebook.
> Fifty-five percent of pet owners who infrequently visit veterinarians use the Internet to address pet health issues.
> Thirty-eight percent of all pet owners go online for pet-specific information.
Clearly, pet owners are online and using social media to educate themselves. Veterinarians need to be part of the online conversation
to learn what pet owners are talking about and provide reliable, helpful information about their pets.
4. Clients don't understand the need for veterinary care
Pet owners appreciate the benefits of pet emergency care. The problem is they have a blind spot for pet preventive care. They
don't believe their pets are at risk for preventable diseases, and many are skimping on wellness care with disastrous results.
A recent story in the South Bend Tribune reported on a parvovirus outbreak in Indianapolis, and there have been reports from other areas of the country of other outbreaks
for easily preventable diseases like leptospirosis and heartworm disease. What a terrible way for pet owners to learn about
the importance of preventive medicine.
On the other hand, outbreak stories like the one above give local veterinarians the opportunity to alert pet owners to disease
risks in their communities. Help clients and other pet owners understand the need to protect their pets by posting online
alerts and sending press releases to the local media.