Pet obesity is a very real and serious threat to our companion animal patients. Many of our clients are unaware of the extent of their pets' obesity problem. It can be a sensitive topic to tackle, and therefore weight loss challenges have become a popular way to educate and encourage pet parents, while promoting weight loss in pets. Here are some ways to plan a successful weight loss challenge in your clinic.
1. Marketing & Team involvement
Once you choose how to run your challenge, it is important to market the event & include your team. Get the word out through social media, during exams and advertising around your clinic.
Also, get your team pumped up by offering them a prize. You can award the team member who gets the most contestants to participate, or give a reward to the team member who initially got the winner signed up.
Pet food vendors love sponsoring events like this. Call up your rep(s) and let them know you are hosting a weight loss challenge. By promoting their weight loss diets, many companies will offer up free samples, brochures and kits. Just ask!
Many people love to give back to local non-profit organizations. You could include one into your challenge as a way to get healthy and give back. Your contestants might see more value in your challenge if you include a way to involve local non-profits.
4. Client Education
Provide ideas on activities that pet parents can do to help their pets get more exercise. You can offer a free weekly class or short tech/nurse appointments for each contestant.
Be sure to encourage both dogs and cats to exercise while on the challenge. For cats, this can be hiding food around the house instead of offering it directly in their bowls.
It's easy to suggest walks for dogs, but they too can work for their food by using food puzzles. Even if the weather is bad, dogs can use treadmills or be shown other indoor activities to get them moving.
5. Before and After Pics
A great way to see progress is by documenting it through photos. Take before and after pictures of each contestant. You can even jazz them up by posting them on a board in your reception area or making it part of your social media efforts.
This one can be tough depending on your budget. You want to have a valuable prize for your winner. Always consider vouchers they can use within your clinic or ask local companies if they are interested in donating a prize to your cause. Your vendors may also offer a free bag of food for the winner or other nice prizes.
A successful weight loss challenge will include a lot of prep work, but if you contact the right vendors and have a good marketing plan, you'll be off and running in no time. Your patients will be healthier and your clients will become more educated.