The dogs, cats, birds, fish, gerbils, and hamsters you see today might look like the same animals that walked into your practice 10 years ago, but they're different. A sign of their status change might be the number of companies that cater to four-legged consumers, including Old Navy, Harley-Davidson, Origins, and Paul Mitchell, just to name a few. You can also look to what their human companions are spending on these and other products—an estimated $40.8 billion in 2007.
It's probably more than you think. For example, a typical dog owner spends $219 a year on routine veterinary care, while a cat owner spends $175, according to the 2007-2008 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey (see Figure 1).
If you were going to spend $100 on a new set of tires, wouldn't you want to know why? Were the old ones worn out, or do the new ones work better in snow? Knowing why you should care makes it easier to make the decision to spend. And the same is true for clients and their pets. Clients expect a recommendation each time they visit your hospital, and they want to know how your recommendations benefit them and their pets. Once they know why they should care, they're more likely to comply.