Getting a pet to take their medication is not an easy task. Many pet owners are familiar with stories like covering a pill in peanut butter just to find out the dog has licked the peanut butter off while avoiding the pill or the owner trying to pretend the pill is a treat just to see their pet ignore it completely.
Bernadine Cruz, DVM, a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), finds that between half and two-thirds of her clients prescribed medicine for their pets fall off after about six months. “In spite of their desire to help their pets maintain a high quality of life, they tend to have a low adherence rate,” she says. In fact, clients stop giving their pets certain medications as quickly as five or six days, she adds. As with adherence to human medication, this problem can be both dangerous and expensive. So what can a pharmacist do?
1) Educate- Often after a few days of medicating an animal, they start to look and feel better, causing many people to stop administering medication to their animals. Just like humans, if medicine is not given for the full amount prescribed, illnesses can return. Educating pet owners about the importance of completing the full prescribed amount can ultimately save the pets life.
2) Make it liquid – To make it easier for owners to give their pets medication, give it to them in liquid form, if possible. Many times owners complain about their pet not swallowing the pill or avoiding eating it when hidden. By turning the pill into a liquid an owner will be able to squirt it in their mouth, not giving the animal the choice to spit it out.
3) Flavor it – Many times animals reject medication because of the way it tastes, no matter what form that it comes in. By flavoring a medication to beef or fish chowder, a pharmacist has the power to turn medicine-time into treat-time as well as remove the stress of medicine-time for the pet owner.
4) Be proactive – Think of creative ways to reach out to your community to raise awareness to medicine adherence. Creating signs, flyers or handouts for your customers will not only advertise that you can fill pet medications at your pharmacy but also raise awareness to a very important subject.
Helping find a better way for a pet owner to stress less about medicating their pet creates another way for your pharmacy to provide better customer experience. That type of customer experience shows how dedicated a pharmacy is to the wellbeing of their customers and their entire family. With 62% of American’s owning a pet, chances are your customers are already looking for help. Show them that you care about their animal’s health by implementing these four strategies today.