Summer skin solutions

By MWI Animal Health

How to educate pet parents on dermatological issues, treatments, and causes
Chocolate lab in field

Although dermatological issues can appear any time of year, some pet parents may discover specific problems in the summer. Veterinarians can create a sense of urgency in their messaging by alerting clients to these potential skin issues, and highlighting appropriate treatments.

Talk about seasonal allergies

Cats, dogs, and other pets may experience seasonal allergies that affect their skin, leading to inflammation or rashes. This can cause cats to excessively groom or dogs to scratch and bite, leaving bald or sore patches in their fur. Sometimes extra-itchy skin can even lead to behavioral problems that are seemingly unrelated, like hyperactivity, chewing, or begging. While allergies can happen any time of year, it's important to alert your clients to the possibility that new allergy issues may surface as pollen and grass levels change.

Discuss skin issues from swimming

Dogs can pick up bacteria or other irritants when they swim in a lake. Chlorine from a pool can lead to skin irritation, dryness, and fur discoloration. Send summer-themed messaging with a reminder that clients should rinse or bathe their dogs after a dip in the water.

 

Warn about fleas and mosquitoes

Fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks are often a bigger problem in the summer. This is a good time to remind your clients that if they don't protect their pets with preventive medications, their pets could develop more significant health issues down the line — like heartworms from mosquitoes. Studies have shown that pet parents are more likely to comply with preventive treatments if they last longer than just a month. Let your clients know if you offer preventive medications that require fewer doses than what they're using.

 

Offer advice on sunburns

When it's sunny and warm, people spend more time outside. Unfortunately, this can lead to pets getting sunburned, especially hairless breeds or those with lighter-colored fur, noses, or ears. Sunburns can lead to cancer or exacerbate other health problems. Remind your clients that their pets need sun protection too. Your messaging might offer tips, like making sure their pets have plenty of shade and keeping them inside during the hotter parts of the day. If you sell sunscreen for dogs or cats, mention that too.

 

Don't forget year-round skin issues

While you're focusing on seasonal-based messages, don't forget to reference other dermatological issues that pet parents might encounter year-round. Environmental allergies can happen any time of year, as can bacterial infections, ringworm, parasites, alopecia, and other skin diseases. Remind your clients that if they notice anything unusual, they should schedule an appointment.

 

Personalize your message for specific breeds

Consider tailoring some of your messaging to match your client's specific breed of pet. This type of personalized content can grab a client's interest since it applies specifically to their pet. For example, longer-haired dogs and cats might feel hotter in the summer. Hairless cat and dog breeds might be more susceptible to skin rashes, dry skin, and sunburns when it's warmer.

While canine atopic dermatitis can affect any dog, there are specific breeds that are more susceptible. Alert those clients to the possibility that their pets may be susceptible, pointing out which signs to watch out for even as young as two months of age.

 

Try different forms of messaging depending on your client demographic

Now that you know what types of messages you might want to try, how do you get the message to your clients? Consider your pet parents' demographic and tailor your messages accordingly. Use client engagement platforms to customize your target messages. Older clients might prefer postcards or emails, while younger demographics may prefer mobile notifications or texts. You can set up non-compliance alerts so you'll be notified if clients don't refill heartworm medication when mosquito season is approaching. You can even automate your messaging to send a seasonal-themed reminder about refilling flea, tick, or heartworm prescriptions.

Consider sending an email or app notification to your clients where you list symptoms of skin allergies that they might notice during the summer. Remind them that they can use the patient portal or telehealth system to contact your office with questions.

In addition to these personalized messages, you'll also want to provide seasonal dermatological advice on your social media channels. Try a variety of formats, including compelling, cute pictures that followers will want to share, along with longer articles with detailed treatment advice. Then observe which types of messages get the most reactions and engagements. As you see which types of posts are the most popular, you can tailor your messages in the future to match those preferences.

Feeling overwhelmed about getting your summer messages across to your clients?

Veterinary-focused software solutions can help increase compliance, personalize your messaging, and make scheduling appointments and medication pickup easy.