4 recommendations your veterinary clients ignore

When veterinary clients bury their heads in the sand, they miss important recommendations. Here's how to get their attention.

Mrs. Cares Alot (not her real name) visits the practice of Dr. Ernie Ward (yes, his real name) every few weeks with a dog that suffers from weight-related health problems. She understands the importance of helping her pet lose weight, and she's compliant with recommendations. But her husband constantly sabotages her efforts. Recently, she brought him to the practice in the hopes that he'd believe the message if he heard it from the veterinarian.

"As I'm talking about my concerns about the pet's weight, he's rolling his eyes and making exasperated sounds. He's not engaged at all. He doesn't want to hear this. And he doesn't think it's a problem," Dr. Ward says.

You've seen these clients in your own practice. When they ignore your recommendations, it's easy to feel frustrated, concerned for the pet, and even hurt. You won't win over everyone, but with patience and persistence, you can woo some of your more reluctant clients to offer the care you recommend. Consider these common recommendations and explore how to soar over the obstacles in your path.

No. 1: Avoid the treats

Saboteurs can take many forms: the neighbor with pockets bulging from dog biscuits who ambushes your client on nightly dog walks. The bank teller, the toll booth worker—anyone who wants to appreciate your portly pooch with a tasty treat. And if the kitty cat is out in the great outdoors, she might be scoping out the neighbor's houses for food bowls—an all day-buffet that never closes.

What to do:

When your client tells you she's following your every guideline and yet her precious pet keeps packing on the pounds, it's time for a little detective work. Dr. Ward says his doctors have written a note for the friendly neighbor asking her to please not feed the dog because it's bad for the pup's health. It's also a good idea to explain to clients that what their pets really crave is attention. So they can remind their friends and family that pats and play beat out treats—paws down—every time. And the next time pet owners want to show their love, they can reach for the leash, the toy, or the laser pointer instead of diving into the cookie jar.