A Pet Care Facility’s Silver Lining to COVID
By Laura Laaman
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a monumental global challenge, we can point to one good thing that’s come of it: an abundance of puppies and shelters dogs have been adopted nationwide.
In recent months, rescues and shelters saw enormous spikes in applications and adoptions, and so did breeders. In fact, puppy sale inquiries have been reported to have increased over 400% during the pandemic, with fostering rates at an all-time high across the nation. It makes sense—what’s a better comfort in uncertain times than a sweet new furry family member?
Like many industries, pet care businesses are still navigating an uncertain path out of the pandemic, but this influx of new dogs is our silver lining. Think of the possibilities. Each of these puppies will likely benefit from many of our professional pet care services—and these new dog moms and dads will be looking for somewhere to obtain them. Let’s do what we can to ensure it’s with you and not your competition.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you likely realize you have clients in your database who have spent tens of thousands of dollars with your company on their individual pet. In many cases, these are clients who began their relationship with you as puppy parents. With consistently excellent pet care and human customer service, proactive cross marketing to each client and appropriate pricing, your chances of realizing maximum revenue go up significantly. The younger the pet is, the better your chances are the pet parent will choose you for many of their pet care needs. So how can you capitalize on these precious opportunities?
Don’t make the mistake of treating each client like another number or commodity. Rather than assuming the puppy parent knows what you offer or why these services will benefit their new family member, take the time to explain it to them in an individual, one-on-one conversation or consultation.
The following are some key talking points that will go a long way in convincing those new puppy parents that your services play an important role in the lives of their new addition.
Veterinary societies including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) advocate for socializing puppies as early as seven weeks of age—even before their initial vaccinations are complete. Developing social skills in the first three months of a puppy’s life is a critical key to helping pets enjoy their happiest and most successful canine lives.
As long as a puppy has received their first set of vaccinations (and isn’t showing any health concerns), a conscientious pet parent can safely introduce them to as many new environments and faces (canine and human!) as possible. Adjustment to socialization in these impressionable three months helps reduce the probability of behavioral problems later in life, including heightened fear, anxiety and aggression.
Behavioral issues stemming from improperly socialized puppies is a huge factor in why pet parents surrender their pets. Sadly, many are euthanized. For this reason, the official stance of the AVMA and AVSAB is to socialize puppies as early as possible, even before they’re fully vaccinated. The age that you accept a pet into your facility is, of course, your decision.
What better place for puppy parents to socialize their new furry family member than a professional daycare facility like yours? A safe, clean and supervised environment like doggie daycare is a great place for young pups to see new sights and meet new friends in a controlled, healthy setting. Consider including puppy socialization messaging in your marketing to entice puppy parents.
Once you’ve attracted new puppies to your quality daycare program, it’s time to introduce them to the other amazing services you offer. Ensure the pet parent knows about your other offerings, from overnight lodging to training and grooming.
After months in quarantine, many people are eager to travel as soon as restrictions lift. This includes many new pet parents who will be looking for a home-away-from-home for their puppy. An early visit to a lodging facility can be a valuable experience for a puppy. Pet care businesses can provide everything a young pup needs to have the most enjoyable stay away from home, including loving human attention and special amenities designed to enrich the puppy’s experience. When the puppy parent returns to find their loved one happy and satisfied, they’ll feel the same way. This is an excellent way to make lasting impressions and relationships with puppy clients.
Bathing or Grooming
As you know, bathing and grooming are a critical part of maintaining a dog’s overall wellbeing. This is especially true for puppies. Introducing young puppies to grooming early on in their lives helps them adjust to the process of a routine appointment. With an early and positive experience, the pup is more likely to allow bathers and groomers to trim their nails easily, cut their hair and provide other important services as they grow. That’s not to mention the importance of keeping their skin and coat as clean and healthy as possible.
Behavioral concerns can be very frustrating for families—especially for first-time pet owners. In fact, difficulty with behaviors is the leading cause of surrendering pets to shelters. According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year, of which 30% are relinquished by their owners. Early access to socialization and behavioral training can be extremely meaningful for pets as well as their families, allowing them to enjoy the most fulfilling and, hopefully, long relationship.
As challenging as COVID-19 has been and continues to be for many businesses, the world has been blessed by lots of new furry friends. Progressive pet care businesses look for proven ways to grow, even during the most difficult times. By taking the time to adjust your strategy and thinking with these puppy prospects in mind, your business will be stronger than ever as the world continues to normalize.
Laura Laaman is president of Outstanding Pet Care. Outstanding Pet Care guarantees to substantially increase the revenues of its clients with its proven services. If you’re interested in growing your revenues, schedule an individual consultation with Laura Laaman or one of our team members. Call Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 or go to www.OutstandingPetCare.com.