February is fast approaching, which means that Dental Health Month is right around the corner. We know that pet parents want to save money whenever they can, and some are even reluctant to discuss preventative treatments like dental cleanings. According to data published in a market research study, 95% of pet owners brush their own teeth daily, but only 8% brush their dog’s teeth and only 4% brush their cat’s teeth on a daily basis. That’s a startling finding. Luckily, you have some tools at your disposal to shift their awareness. Let’s start by talking about social media.
1. Leverage Your Social Channels
The great thing about social media is that your clients can come to their own conclusions about a course of action or outcome without the awkwardness of feeling put on the spot. Social channels also tap into all kinds of messaging tactics for different types of media consumers, leading to instant discussion, knowledge-sharing, and a strong sense of community and connection. In addition, you can share educational materials in visual formats (and dental pictures don’t lie). There is no better way to convince your clientele of the need to get their pet in for an annual dental cleaning than by proving it, quite literally, with images. While not everyone is keen on seeing periodontitis first thing in their feed, it doesn’t hurt to offer before and after photos following a dental cleaning for the curious pet parent.
Start to utilize your channels by sending out a Dental Health Month newsletter or a promotional email, scheduling posts, or even offering a scannable QR-code discount for first-time dental patients at your front desk upon checkout. There are a bunch of ways to get creative. Also, make sure to utilize PetDesk’s Dental Health Month content pack which includes four free social media posts customized for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — ready to post at your convenience.
2. Deliver the Facts
You can’t argue against facts. Pet parents need to understand the risks of neglecting their pet’s dental hygiene, so take time to educate them on the matter. Set aside adequate time per appointment to go over the stages of periodontal disease following the examination of their pet’s mouth. Explain the following:
- Periodontal Disease Stage 1: Gingivitis; requires dental scaling, polishing, irrigation, and at-home care.
- Periodontal Disease Stage 2: Early periodontal disease; <25% attachment loss, requires the same care as Stage 1 but with local antimicrobials and scaling below the gums.
- Periodontal Disease Stage 3: Established periodontal disease; 25–50% attachment loss, requires periodontal surgery (may include extractions, closed or open-root planing, and tissue regeneration).
- Periodontal Disease Stage 4: Advanced periodontal disease, with >50% attachment loss; requires extractions, surgery with bone resection or additions, and at-home dental care.
Emphasize the severity of reaching Stage 4 periodontal disease and how it puts their pet at risk of developing kidney, liver, and heart issues. Be blunt, and tell them that a significant enough systemic infection from untreated dental disease can take years off of their pet’s life. Not to mention, the longer they wait to address the dental issues and the worse they get, the costlier it will be for them in the end.
3. Create a Personalized Promo
Get creative with your messaging. Whether your clinic uses push notifications, in-app messaging, email campaigns, or other outlets, personalize your dental cleaning reminders in a fresh, creative way, like trying out a new voice or tone in your promotions. Here’s a template to get you started.
Subject: Something to Smile About
Preview text: Good dental hygiene can add years to your pet’s life…
Dear [CLIENT NAME],
Now is a great time for a fresh start, so we’re sending you a friendly reminder to schedule [PET’S NAME]’s annual dental cleaning. It looks like it’s been [# MONTHS/YEARS] since their last cleaning, but it’s never too late to get scheduled.
Since February is Dental Health Month, we are offering special promotional pricing including [e.g. a free oral exam].
Call us at [PHONE NUMBER] or select the option below to find an open appointment on our calendar.
CTA: Schedule a Cleaning
— Your friends at [CLINIC NAME]
4. Talk About Financing Options
Not every client will be able to afford a full dental cleaning for their pet, so consider talking to people individually about special financing options, such as CareCredit or other allowances that your clinic can offer. You might also promote alternatives to a full dental cleaning, such as “levels” of services. A Level 1 service might include an exam and an at-home care kit. A Level 2 service might include a free exam when combined with radiographs and a full dental cleaning — the possibilities are up to you and you know your clients best.