Make time to talk to pet owners about parasites

Make time to talk to pet owners about parasites

Stop the clock for vital flea and tick discussions with clients. Consider these six client personalities and take time to offer the best responses to pet owners' parasite concerns.
Mar 01, 2014

As veterinary professionals, we're faced with pesky parasite problems every day. We've heard a myriad of excuses from numerous parasite enablers, and we've tried our best to thwart them. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we prevail, but the sun always sets and rises on another day of all-too-familiar battles.

Reflecting upon these experiences I began to notice a pattern, which brought me to the discovery that flea- or tick-troubled clients I've dealt with fit into one of six categories. I decided to try to use a specific and consistent approach for each type of client I recognized to yield better results—and it worked.

Evaluating the thought processes of clients, I realized that instead of spewing the entirety of my prevention knowledge to these cynics, I should choose an appropriate response that matched their personality types. Below are some verbal and visual strategies I used to approach each type of client:

The Refuter

"My pet doesn't have fleas. I only walk him on the sidewalk."

What to say: Talk about hitchhikers

Whether you're passing by on the sidewalk or walking through your garden, creepy little fleas feel no shame in jumping on you and hitching a ride inside ... where their new, four-legged home awaits.

What to show: Flea dirt

Your clients just told you there was no way their pet could have fleas, because they've never seen one on him. This is especially common with cats, since they are such avid self-groomers. Run a flea comb through their fur and show clients the flea dirt you find. Place it on a wet paper towel so they can watch that little black speck turn red. Once you've explained to them that flea dirt is actually flea poop and that flea poop is actually blood, they'll not only understand, they'll be taking away a new trick they can try at home—and, of course, visual evidence.