By Dr. Elizabeth DeLomba, DVM MBA
Due to stay-at-home orders, the pandemic created an environment where many people opened their hearts and homes to cats and dogs. Following a dramatic increase in pet adoptions over the past year, the challenge now shifts to keeping these pets in their forever homes. As veterinary professionals, we need to do our part to ensure that these patients remain in their new homes.
Communicate with Clients
Proactive communication with your clients will be key to keeping pets in their homes. Your clients may be concerned that their pets will be stressed from routine changes whether it’s returning to work or school or visitors in the house for the first time. That’s not to mention the normal environmental stressors such as thunderstorms and fireworks! In short, there is no end to the potential sources of stress.
These circumstances may result in stress-related behaviors including inappropriate urination, aggression, vocalization, and more subtle signs, such as pacing, appetite loss, overreaction to noises, lip licking and yawning. Help your clients identify these common signs of stress before behavioral issues worsen.
Reach Out to First Time Pet Owners
Start the conversation early. It may be something you can email to pet owners who adopted a new pet within the past year and a half. Contact them proactively to ask if their pets are experiencing any of the clinical signs of stress. A quick call or email is an easy way to identify which pets may be at risk.
In many cases, people are hesitant to share behavioral concerns due to their fear of being judged or considered bad pet parents. It’s important to acknowledge the stigma around behavioral issues and inform our clients that they’re not only common, but there are solutions available for pet stress.
Recommend Behavioral Supplements
Behavioral supplements like Composure™ Pro are one way to tackle these burgeoning issues. Since supplements don’t require a prescription, you can recommend one to pick up along with a handout for behavioral modification. Create a follow up reminder for a staff member to call and see if the supplement curbed the unwanted behavior. If not, schedule an appointment for a physical examination and a consultation on the concerning behavior.
It’s best to tryto get ahead of these issues by discussing options for their pets before behavioral issues escalate. Supplements are part of a protocol to address early anxiousness. As with all behaviors, training plays a key role while it’s important to use a supplement that doesn’t negatively impact learning.
Being proactive and offering solutions for behavioral issues will improve the health and well-being of pets while helping to keep them in their forever homes.
Dr. DeLomba, DVM MBA is a Senior Veterinary Services Consultant at VetriScience®. She combines extensive clinical experience with 13 years of management in veterinary pharmaceuticals. She has authored over 50 veterinary articles and continuing education courses. Dr. DeLomba earned a DVM in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University and MBA from Villanova University.