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Issue: 70 - Oct 15, 2014
‘Tis the season … OF HAVOC!
By: Nathaniel Nehrbass, Product Specialist

Yesterday was the first day of fall and as the seasons change many look forward to the holidays that draw near. Christmas, Thanksgiving, even Halloween are all exciting times in which families can come together to celebrate with their loved ones. For many, these invitations of good will include their animal family members as well. Just like the people close to you, spending quality time with your pet or pets can be very rewarding during the holiday season. However, with the holidays comes many dangers to both dogs and cats, and for the uneducated pet owner, their family may be at risk.

The holidays bring with them many dangers that a pet may not normally face throughout the rest of the year. While some of these dangers, like chocolate, are relatively well known, others such as grapes and raisins may go left unchecked and can wreak major havoc on a pet’s body. New and seasoned pet owners alike can fall victim to some of the risks associated with the holiday seasons. As a veterinarian, sharing your knowledge on some of these red flags may not only save lives, but create trust between you and your client base.

Let’s look at chocolate for a moment. If you surveyed every dog owner at your practice how many would say that chocolate is bad for their pets? Probably quite a few. But what’s the reasoning behind it? Let’s take it one step further. How many of your clients would know what’s worse for their dogs: Milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white? Probably not as many. You could get more in depth by asking how many ounces of milk chocolate it might take to get their pets sick. The number of correct answers are likely becoming fewer and farther between.

Chocolate is just one example. What about raisins or grapes and the devastating effects they can have on a dog’s kidneys. Candy wrappers and boxes can cause massive obstructions within the bowels of pets. Of course, candy and chocolate are not the only culprits. How many of your clients know whether or not it’s safe to feed their pets turkey and ham bones? Lastly, how many cat owners in your practice can’t get enough of those holiday poinsettias? Holiday dangers lurk everywhere and while many of these examples may be overlooked in small doses, larger amounts may cause irreparable damage.

For veterinarians a lot of this information may be old news but to the uneducated pet owner this knowledge may prove invaluable. As the old saying goes – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While it may be a bit old-fashioned, it rings true.  As veterinarians you are loaded with knowledge and tools to prolong the life of our pets. Unfortunately, sometimes that knowledge doesn’t get effectively communicated before it’s too late.

As the holiday season approaches make it a concentrated effort to educate your clients on the importance of prevention toward some of the risks that are associated with our favorite holidays. Something as simple as pamphlets explaining what to be on the lookout for, or taking five minutes to talk with your clients about holiday dangers during their visits can do wonders. Services like VetPressOnline* can be extremely beneficial in educating your clients with the use of reminder cards and marketing tools. With VetPressOnline veterinarians can write personalized messages on their reminder cards, giving their clients a friendly heads up on holiday items that may be poisonous to their pets. The practice could also go the extra mile by sending out a dedicated mailing to all their clients, educating them on holiday dangers and the steps to take if a pet gets ahold of too much of something that would put them at risk.

The holidays are a time of family, friends and celebration, and it wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged friends. However, many of the things that make the holidays great can be dangerous to our animals and, unfortunately, not every pet owner is in the know. As a veterinarian, you have the power to change that. So, this holiday season, consider giving the gifts of knowledge and prevention. It’s a gift that will pay tremendous dividends for you, your clients, your patients and your business.

**VetPressOnline is an easy-to-use, web based service designed to help you create an effective mailing that will produce big results.  The service provides the tools and the guidance needed to use direct mail effectively and affordably.  For more information regarding VetPressOnline postcards call (866) 212-2502 or visit us on the web at