How to best communicate with pet parents during stressful times

How to best communicate with pet parents during stressful times

by Petfolk

Pet parents are like any parents out there – they get stressed! Especially when their fur babies are in pain, nervous, or grumpy. One of the trickiest parts of being a Pet Professional is effectively communicating with pet parents while also giving focused attention to their pet, asking the right questions, and formulating solutions for care. 

When pet caregivers are stressed, either from the situation, life, or even the holidays, it can make things even more difficult for all parties involved. Here are a few tips for not only bringing the stress factor down in the room but also helping you deepen and grow your professional relationship with your clients, furry and otherwise. 

Be a source of calm

Whether it’s a routine annual exam, an emergency, or a cat who looks like they rolled around in a field of bubblegum, pet parents are counting on you to keep them calm. Speak in a kind tone and give their pet as much attention as possible. 

Listen first, then ask questions

During stressful moments, pet parents may have a lot to say or very little to say. Start the conversation by asking a general question like, “What are we seeing Ms. Scribbles for today?” rather than making any assumptions. Once they finish voicing their concern or need, follow up with detailed questions. 

Answer questions accurately

When a pet parent asks you a question, be sure to answer questions with the appropriate level of detail required. While they won’t need to get into the Latin names for body parts or know every case study written on feline idiopathic cystitis, pet caregivers will want to know all the most important elements like what symptoms to watch for, treatment options, and prevention. 

Be proactive

While you may be dealing with one particular issue at hand, be sure to identify potential issues as well. Ask questions regarding what you feel, smell, and observe yourself in addition to what the pet caregiver communicates. 

Offer (limited) options

Choices are a funny thing – too few and we’re unhappy, too many and we go into analysis paralysis. You’ll generally need to give pet parents options concerning the care of their pets. List the options, clearly and carefully, and then give them your recommendation. Ask if they have any questions and then how they would like to move forward with care.  

Aftercare

Remind pet caregivers that you have a relationship with them, not just a transactional exchange. Create time each day to do a little extra follow-up on those visits where pet parents seemed a bit more stressed out than usual. Just a quick check-in to say, “How is Bennie feeling after his shots” or “Is Princess Pouf liking her shorter cat cut,” let’s pet parents know that you are invested in them and their pet, making them more comfortable with you and your business. 

Use these tips and the next time they come in, regardless of the issue, they will have greater trust, and you may just notice the anxiety is turned down a bit from before. After all, a calmer pet parent means a calmer pet. And vice versa.