Is an ESOP a Good Option for My Veterinary Practice?

by easyDVM

Employee stock ownership plans, or ESOPs, are a powerful way of encouraging your employees to take an active interest in your business. They can powerfully impact your company for the better, although they’re not without drawbacks. Read on to learn more about ESOPs, and how they incentivize employees.

What Is an ESOP?

An ESOP is a plan where a company pays benefits to employees in the form of shares in the company. These shares can’t be sold off until the employee leaves the company.

When that happens, the company automatically purchases the employee’s stock. Employees can choose to receive that money in a lump sum, or in payments over time.

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Different ESOPs may be set up differently. Some companies may not distribute stock to employees until they’ve been with the company for a certain length of time. Others may distribute a type of stock that doesn’t come with voting privileges, which restricts employees from making key decisions (unless they buy normal stock in the company on their own, of course).

An Example

Sarah works as a veterinarian at a practice with an ESOP. She came on because she liked this investment option – although she had to work there for a year to get it, and it doesn’t give her voting rights.

Every year, her ESOP benefits buy shares in the veterinary practice. She can’t sell them until she leaves the practice. Because she can’t get out of her investment early, she knows she has to work hard to see the practice succeed.

Sarah is nearing retirement age. She’s excited for her shares to “vest”, meaning she’ll receive money for them (matching their value at the time of her retirement). The veterinary practice will directly buy her shares, then distribute them over time to other veterinary employees.

The Benefits

Employees like ESOPs. Giving veterinary employees stock in the corporation will encourage them to apply at the veterinary practice and stay there longer, so they accrue benefits. If a practice is having trouble recruiting and retaining veterinary employees, an ESOP can be a key part of a strategy to turn that around. ESOPs also often come with many tax benefits for employees and the veterinary practice.

ESOPs also encourage employees to care about the veterinary practice. Their investment is tied to investors’ confidence. If employees don’t care about the practice’s future, an ESOP is a powerful way of reminding them that everyone should be pulling together.

Limitations and Drawbacks

Despite their appeal, ESOPs have some serious limitations and drawbacks. Perhaps the most obvious limitation is that not all companies distribute stock. A sole proprietorship or other non-stock corporation won’t be able to provide employees an ESOP.

Stock is a measure of real ownership in a veterinary practice. When a practice sells stock to the public, they lose a certain amount of control over their practice to shareholders. Veterinary practices with ESOPs often cede some control to their employees, although nowhere near as much as they cede in a model like a worker-owned cooperative. Concerned practices can distribute ESOP stock that doesn’t give employees voting privileges.

In some rare but troubling cases, an ESOP may incentivize bad employee behavior. An employee might fail to blow the whistle on scandalous practices within the practice, for instance, because this would cause investors to lose confidence in the veterinary practice and cause the employees’ investments to lose value. Rather than addressing the bad practices and amending them, employees might allow the toxic elements within the practice to fester. To avoid this, it’s vital to maintain a culture of accountability and honesty within the veterinary practice.

For practices that dispense stock, an ESOP can be a valuable way to incentivize employees to sign onto the veterinary practice and work toward its success. ESOPs aren’t an option for every practice, and should be carefully considered before they’re implemented, but can transform a veterinary practice’s culture for the better.

Giving Millennial Veterinarians a Sense of Purpose

by easyDVM

When it comes to careers, millennials have very different priorities compared to their Boomer parents. If you are looking to attract millennials to work in your veterinary practice, or reduce turnover among the young staff you already have, you need to consider what this new generation of veterinarians needs to achieve job satisfaction. Here are a few tips you can use to give your millennial veterinarians a sense of purpose to make them feel happy in their jobs.

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Studies show that millennials consider training and career development opportunities to be high priorities in their working experience. Always provide your millennial employees with training opportunities that allow them to obtain new skills and improve the ones they already have. For example, train your younger employees to use the latest veterinary technologies so your clients can benefit from the best in cutting edge care. Consider offering funding and flexible working hours to help your millennial veterinarians take specialist training courses or attend conferences.

Work-Life Balance

Compared to Boomers, millennials often place a higher priority on work-life balance. Both men and women are committed to caring for their families. Millennials are also likely to have hobbies and fitness activities that they do not want to give up when they start a new job. Be prepared to work with your millennial employees to find schedules that allow them to maintain a fulfilling life outside of their jobs.

Career Advancement

Simply having a secure job is not enough for many millennials. To be satisfied by their careers, they need to feel that they are making progress toward a long-term goal. Talk to your millennial employees and potential hires to find out what they want out of their careers. Do they want to run their own practice one day, or become a leading specialist in a particular area of veterinary medicine? Ask what you can do to help your millennial veterinarians achieve their dreams. The answer might be to allow millennials to take on more responsibilities to prevent them from becoming bored in their current roles.

Direct Feedback

Millennials thrive on feedback. Raised on an expectation that they will be able to publicly review every service they use, they expect the same direct consumer feedback when they enter the workforce. Always pass on client feedback to millennials, as well as letting them know that you appreciate their efforts and giving them tips to help them improve their performance in future. Millennials also like you to be able to give their own feedback. Regularly ask your veterinary employees how the environment and working conditions in the practice could be improved.

Supportive Culture

Compared to previous generations, millennials are much more clued up about mental health and well-being. They expect employers to take their well-being into account when designing working processes and environments. Work on creating a supportive culture in your veterinary practice, where all employees feel comfortable raising problems and asking for support whenever they need it.

By following these tips, you can increase your practice’s ability to recruit and retain millennial veterinarians and support staff. Millennial employees are looking for an environment that supports their health, well-being, and career aspirations. If your practice can provide this kind of working environment, as well as providing ongoing training for every employee, you can increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover among millennials.

6 Ways A Veterinary Team Member Could Embezzle from Your Practice

by easyDVM

You may not want to think about it, but you could have a thief in your midst. For many veterinary team members, the temptation to embezzle from their employer is real. Sometimes no one may even notice until the culprit’s made off with a substantial amount of money.

Take control of the situation. Here are six all-too-common ways team members on all levels can steal from your practice, and some simple ways to avoid fraud.

1) Deleting or altering invoices.

Your invoices are the lifeblood of your business. They’re how clients and other businesses know what to pay you.

At many businesses, it’s easy to change or even delete an invoice. By changing the amount on an invoice after the customer receives it, an employee could take some of the money paid by the customer. By deleting an invoice, the employee could walk off with all the money, or even provide services to family and friends for free.

This problem exists because there’s no paper trail. In these cases, practice management software is invaluable: it allows management to password protect invoice changes and deletions, and track changes made.

2) Taking cash.

Cash provides your employees an easy way to embezzle. It’s easy for a team member to skim the till. Alternately, if clients aren’t diligent about checking their receipts (or taking a receipt at all), a team member can request more cash than they’ve rung up the client for, and can pocket the difference.

As a rule of thumb, any time there’s cash changing hands, there should be two team members there. All clients should receive receipts, and practices should audit cash registers and receipts regularly.

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3) Making personal purchases on the company’s credit card.

This one is straightforward: team members use the company credit card for personal expenditures. It’s a classic way of embezzling.

Only select members of your team should be able to use the company credit card. Veterinary practice management software helps managers run reports on spending and see where money’s going. Immediately question unusual purchases.

4) Paying fake vendors.

It can be surprisingly easy to make fake purchases on a company’s behalf. A team member could easily authorize a payment to themselves or a friend.

Veterinary practice software helps businesses run reports on their payments, and detect any purchases that don’t match the practice’s normal routine. Again: if you see a payment to someone you don’t recognize, look into it.

5) Taking inventory home and selling it online.

Normally the profits from selling flea or heartworm products go directly to your business. But a savvy team member can figure out how to take those profits for themselves, without ever touching company money. Team members can swipe drugs or tools, sell them online, and pocket the profits. Particularly brazen team members may even claim the item never came, forcing the supplier to eat the cost and send duplicate items.

Another way is to set up their own account at a vendor that you are paying for.  The products ship directly to the employee’s home and you get stuck with the bill.

To counteract this, keep security cameras up, and assign team members to take inventory regularly. Ideally, the team member taking inventory shouldn’t be the same one who’s unpacking items.  And use your practice management software to track inventory and cross-reference what you received in the software with the invoices you are paying.

6) Logging hours they didn’t work.

Many businesses let employees report their own hours. Some team members will take advantage of this, logging hours they didn’t work.

Veterinary practice management software will usually let managers see the hours a team member has logged, at a glance. Managers should be present and engaged enough to know if that actually reflects the employee’s presence in the office, or their work.  Our easyDVM software even shows the ip address of the device where they clocked in allowing you to easily check that they are in the right place at the right time.

There are many ways to embezzle money from a veterinary practice. By staying diligent, keeping an eye on expenditures, and running regular reports on your veterinary practice management software, you can make sure your employees are on the straight and narrow. Most of your employees are completely honest and your due diligence protects them from being set up by that one bad apple.

The Veterinary Labor Market Is Getting Tight. How Do I Increase Productivity?

by easyDVM

Prospects are great for up and coming veterinarians, with a 0.5 percent unemployment rate. That news is not so good for veterinary practices that need to recruit staff in this competitive market. One way you can handle this challenge is by increasing productivity of your current employees. You calculate productivity by the amount of revenue produced per hour of veterinary support staff time, or per hour of veterinary time. By improving these numbers, you can avoid trying to recruit more people in a tight labor market.

Automate Business Processes

How much time does your staff spend on time-consuming, repetitive administrative processes? For example, entering data from paperwork, emailing follow-up instructions to patients, and calling for appointment reminders can eat up a lot of the day.

Veterinary software programs can automate many business processes and streamline your staff’s overall workflow. This technology makes it possible to get more done in less time.

Client registration and education are two areas that are well-suited to automation. You can use web-based veterinary practice management software to handle client registration and get all the information you need for the appointment.

Hire More Support Staff

How many responsibilities do the veterinarians have on a daily basis? You hired them to help the animals that come through your practice, not to handle invoices and other administrative work.

The job market for veterinary assistants and other support staff is not as tight as veterinarians. Hire more of these employees so your vets can delegate tasks that don’t fall under their specific job duties.

Increase Veterinarian Pay

Sometimes keeping your veterinarians happy and loyal is as simple as paying them more. Retaining your current workforce is a lot less resource intensive than trying to recruit new veterinarians. Experienced, consistent staff brings a lot of long-term benefits to your practice. Clients form attachments to the veterinarians who have handled their pets all of their lives, which builds up your customer base and referrals.

Provide Emotional Support Benefits

Working in animal care is emotionally taxing, as evidenced by having the highest occupational suicide rate in the United States. Compassion fatigue and STSD are two prevalent problems in this field. Long hours and taxing caseloads can also lead to veterinary burnout.

Emotional support benefits, such as fully paid access to mental health care, support groups and other resources, can make a big difference for your staff professionally and personally. It can take a lot out of a person to handle the types of tragedies that can play out in the practice. When assistance is readily available and accessible, you can help productivity and show your staff members how much you value them.

Train on a Continuous Basis

Give your staff members opportunities to grow their skills in their primary duties and expand their knowledge through cross-training as well. Continued education classes, workshops, in-practice training and other learning resources keep your employees up to date on the latest developments in the veterinary field.

Don’t get frustrated while attempting to hire veterinarians in this competitive market. Focus on the people you already have on-hand by improving their productivity and giving them the tools they need to excel. Whether you implement one or all of the above suggestions, you put your practice on the right path for long-term growth and performance boosts.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

What is an EAP and should I get one for my veterinary team?

by easyDVM

An employee assistance program (EAP) provides support for veterinary employees who are experiencing problems that affect their physical and mental health. Having an EAP can mean that your employees are happier and healthier than they would be without support, which leads to better job performance. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of an EAP and explore your options for setting one up in your veterinary practice.

EAPs provide mental health counseling

One of the main forms of support provided by an EAP is mental health counseling. The EAP we use, which is provided by ESI Group, allows employees to benefit from one-on-one phone or face-to-face sessions with a counselor who has at least a master’s or PhD. The network includes more than 40,000 providers, which means that most employees can find a counselor close to their home or workplace. The ESI Group program also makes other resources available, including an online wellness center that can help employees manage their own mental health.

What problems can an EAP help with?

An EAP can help employees with a range of personal problems that affect their physical and mental well-being. Veterinary employees often struggle with stress and anxiety, which counselors are trained to help them overcome. Counselors can also help employees overcome the loss of a loved one, problems with substance abuse or eating disorders, workplace difficulties, depression and relationship issues. The EAP can also provide help with personal, financial and legal issues; for example, counselors can provide advice about personal debt restructuring and management.

Information resource benefits of an EAP

The benefits of an EAP are not limited to one-to-one counseling sessions for employees with urgent needs. An EAP provides additional resources to help employees manage their health, finances and personal lives. For example, employees can access discounts on nutrition, fitness and weight loss services, as well as valuable information about managing financial issues. There are even online training resources to help employees with their personal growth.

How to use an EAP

When you have an employee who requires support, all you need to do is call your EAP provider. You can call TotalCare EAP toll free at any time of the day or night, seven days a week. The service provider will find the right counselor to help your employee work through their problems. You can relax, knowing that your employees are getting the support they need. You can also direct your employees to information resources that can help them overcome legal, financial, lifestyle and personal issues that they are currently struggling to manage.

How much does an EAP cost?

For our employee assistance program provided by ESI Group, we pay a capped amount for up to 50 employees per year. This covers employees for support including counseling, wellness benefits and personal development benefits. The cost of the program is a great investment in your business, as a good EAP can help employees to work through their mental health issues or personal problems and return to work feeling stronger and more capable. When all your employees are able to perform at their best, your veterinary practice can provide better care to customers and therefore grow as a successful business. Every veterinary practice should consider getting an EAP to support their employees.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Top 5 Places to Find Veterinary Employees

by easyDVM

Attracting and retaining quality veterinary employees is a challenging task. You face a very tight job market in the US, along with a career path that has higher levels of stress than other positions. Your recruitment processes for new veterinary employees should involve multiple places to find new people who can fit in at your practice.

1. General Purpose Job Sites

Websites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder and Monster serve a general job-seeking audience. You can use these resources to get a lot of exposure for your listing. While some of the people visiting these websites are animal care professionals, you do end up with a lot of awareness and reach. These jobs also get aggregated onto other sites, so you end up spreading it beyond these large-scale websites.

2. Niche Job Websites

Complement your general purpose job site listings by putting career opportunities on niche sites and groups, too. For example, AVMA, iHireVeterinary and The Vet Recruiter are specialized resources that give you access to a smaller, more focused user base. You won’t get as many responses through these sites, but the ones that you do are likely to be high-quality candidates.

3. Animal Shelter Volunteers

People who are heavily involved as animal shelter volunteers have a love of animals and a lot of practical experience that you can leverage in a veterinary practice setting. They may have previous animal care experience or be interested in starting careers in this field. Partner with local shelters, rescues and similar organizations to build a long-term talent pipeline. If you have spare time, you may want to volunteer at a shelter to network with the front-line employees and volunteers who help with the animals’ medical needs.

4. Local Businesses

Have you encountered workers at local businesses who impress you with their skills? You may want to start networking to see whether you can bring in quality candidates that you have already interacted with in professional settings. Make sure to maintain good relationships with the local businesses and avoid blatantly poaching their employees, however.

Pet stores, boarding facilities and grooming services are three great options for finding potential employees. They may have limited advancement options or access to continued education opportunities. A career at your veterinary clinic could fulfill their dreams and long-term plans.

5. Community Outreach

Does your veterinary practice stay involved with the local community? Employer branding is an excellent way to establish your clinic as a quality place to work. When you have community outreach initiatives, such as low-cost spay and neuter services and vaccine clinics, you grow the network of people supporting your animal care efforts. Your next star employee can come through word-of-mouth recommendations provided by community members.

An offshoot to this idea is to post signs in your waiting room that advertise the open positions that you want to fill. Your patients’ parents may be job hunting or have someone in their social network who are. Local publications also give you an opportunity to communicate your job openings. You probably have some of these magazines and newspapers in your waiting room, already.

It’s not easy finding the right people to add to your vet practice. When you use these channels to bring in applicants and seek out candidates, you can keep your job roles filled and your upcoming pipeline healthy.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Veterinarians and the New US Tax Law

by easyDVM

Tax reform is likely to have significant consequences for veterinarians. Not only does the reform bill contain several provisions impacting individual rates of income tax, but it also contains provisions that affect how veterinarians manage their accounts and expenses. Let’s take a look at the details of tax reform and discuss how each provision is likely to affect veterinary businesses.

New Pass-through Tax Provisions

The new tax reform allows certain pass-through businesses to deduct up to 20 percent of their qualifying business income. However, some “specialized service” businesses, including veterinarians, cannot use this benefit unless their taxable income is under a defined threshold. The new individual threshold is $157,500 and the threshold for joint filers is $315,000.

The aim of the new pass-through provisions is to prevent high earners from converting their salaries to income that is eligible for the deduction. However, critics have complained that the rules surrounding pass-through tax deductions are unclear. Doctors, veterinarians, lawyers and people working in the financial industry are all excluded from claiming pass-through tax deductions, whereas high earners working in professions such as architecture are not.

Fair or not, the new rules surrounding pass-throughs prevent veterinarians from claiming a 20 percent deduction on their business income, unless their income is less than $157,000 per year. Veterinarians must be aware of this rule, as it can make a significant difference to the amount of tax they need to pay.

New Cash Accounting Provisions

The tax reform allows veterinarians to use the cash method of accounting as long as their annual gross receipts do not exceed $25 million for the three years immediately before the current tax year. This limit of $25 million represents an increase compared to the previous threshold.

New Expenses Provisions

Veterinarians can now deduct new and used equipment as expenses for five years. The tax reform increases the total permitted amount of expenses to $1 million. Veterinarians can now also claim deductions for improvements to non-residential properties, including maintaining the roof or adding heating, ventilation, air conditioning, security, fire protection and alarm systems. However, from 2022, the 100 percent allowance will decrease by 20 percent per year.

New Individual Tax Provisions

As well as understanding the new tax provisions that will affect their businesses, veterinarians also need to become familiar with provisions that will affect them as individuals. The seven income tax brackets have all been modified as follows:

  • Income under $9,525 ($19,050 for joint returns): tax rate of 10 percent
  • Income between $9,525 and $38,700 ($19,050 and $77,400 for joint returns): tax rate of 12 percent
  • Income between $38,700 and $82,500 ($77,400 and $165,000 for joint returns): tax rate of 22 percent
  • Income between $82,500 and $157,500 ($165,000 and $315,000 for joint returns): tax rate of 24 percent
  • Income between $157,500 and $200,000 ($315,000 and $400,000 for joint returns): tax rate of 32 percent
  • Income between $200,000 and $500,000 ($400,000 and $600,000 for joint returns): tax rate of 35 percent
  • Income over $500,000 ($600,000 for joint returns): tax rate of 37 percent

As the top individual income tax rate has decreased from 39.6 percent to just 37 percent, owners of the largest veterinary businesses will pay less tax as a result of the reform.


The tax reform makes some important changes to tax for veterinarians, most notably by excluding them from using the pass-through benefit. By familiarizing themselves with these changes, veterinary business owners can plan their budgets to ensure the financial health of their businesses.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable..

Top 5 New Years Resolutions a Veterinarian Should Make

by easyDVM

The start of a new year is the perfect time to make positive changes in your career and personal life. As a veterinarian, the holiday period is a chance to take a break from your busy schedule, reflect on your work-life balance, and work out how you can more effectively work toward achieving your career goals. Here are five resolutions that could make a big difference to your life.

1. Look After Number One

Stress and burnout can prevent any veterinarian from achieving their full potential. This year, resolve to take care of your health and wellbeing. Why not take up an active hobby, such as dance classes, yoga, climbing, hiking, or jogging with a local running club? These hobbies can help to clear your mind as well as improve your fitness. If you think you don’t have time for hobbies in your busy schedule, think again: structuring leisure activities into your schedule could help you work more efficiently.

2. Make Time for Family and Friends

At the beginning of the year, make a calendar of all the important birthdays, weddings, reunions, family get-togethers, and other important events that you want to attend. Make a plan now that will allow you to attend these functions. Arrange for another veterinarian to cover your shifts or be on call during the time you plan to spend with your family and friends. As a busy professional, you need a strong support network around you to help you cope during stressful periods. This year, resolve to foster strong relationships with the people you care about.

3. Appreciate Your Team

Strong relationships with your team are also vital to ensure success in a veterinary career. Show your veterinarians, administrative staff, and technicians that you value everything they do by taking the time to praise them this year. Throughout the year, set aside time to listen to your team members and act on any ideas they have for improving the working environment. While you’re thinking about ways to appreciate your team, add National Veterinary Technician Week to your calendar in October. This is the perfect time to plan a party or social outing for your veterinary team to show how much you value them.

4. Learn Something New

Veterinary medicine is changing all the time, which means you can never stop learning if you want to stay at the forefront of your field. This year, put aside an hour or two each week to read about new developments in veterinary medicine. Consider attending a veterinary conference to network with other veterinarians and learn about the latest research.

5. Use Technology to Free Up Time

Technology can help veterinarians work more efficiently. For example, easyDVM veterinary practice management software can help you track and store medical records, invoice clients, and prepare reports. This software stores all your data in the cloud, which means you don’t need to worry about storing and backing it up yourself. When all your records are available in a format that is easy to access and share, you can spend more quality time interacting with patients, coworkers, friends and family.

Before January 1 rolls around, take the time to make plans for the year ahead. Purchase veterinary practice management software to help you work more efficiently, add important events to your calendar, and set aside time each week to appreciate your team and continue your education. These resolutions should set you up for an enjoyable and successful new year.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

How to Increase Compliance With Veterinary Dentals

by easyDVM

Just like humans, dogs and cats benefit from regular dental cleanings. Unfortunately, many clients tend to balk at the price and the fact that the pet needs to undergo anesthesia, which means that their pets don’t get the dental cleanings they need. Convincing clients of the importance of dental cleanings is a tough job for any veterinarian, but it can be crucial to the oral health of the animals you serve. Here are some tips to help you be more assertive with clients when recommending a dental cleaning.

Clarify the Consequences of Skipping Cleanings

Many dentists try to persuade clients to schedule a dental cleaning by pointing out the tartar build-up on the pet’s teeth. However, clients don’t always understand the dangers tartar can pose. Instead of simply telling a client that their dog’s mouth has a lot of build up, you need to explain the consequences of letting the tartar go untreated. Let clients know that dogs and cats can develop painful infections due to poor dental hygiene.

Focus on the Benefits

Clients generally do not like hearing about the health risks their pets face. Although words like “pain” and “infection” may spur some people to schedule a cleaning right away, others may react to hearing about the health consequences of skipping dental cleanings by refusing to talk or think about the issue. For these clients, it is important to focus on the potential benefits of teeth cleaning. These include fresher breath and healthier, whiter teeth. Talk positively about the procedure itself, reassuring the client that the pet can be safely anesthetized so they don’t feel any pain or distress.

Use Assertive Language

The language you use to talk about a dental cleaning matters. Confidently stating “let’s schedule the dental cleaning” is more likely to improve compliance than asking “do you want to do a dental cleaning?” This approach emphasizes that dental cleanings are an important part of pets’ oral care, rather than an optional add-on.

Follow Up

Clients aren’t always able to commit to a dental cleaning right away. If your client doesn’t want to schedule a cleaning at checkout, be sure to follow up a few days later. Remind them of the pet’s need for a dental cleaning and ask them to choose a convenient time. Remember to use assertive language to prompt the client into scheduling an appointment.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Pictures often speak louder than words. Take a photo of the pet’s teeth so the client can clearly see the tartar build up. It is often easier to point out areas of particularly bad build up on an enlarged photo than on the teeth of a squirming pet. Give the photo to the client so they can take it home with them as a reminder of how badly the teeth need cleaning. This may help to remind the client to schedule a cleaning soon. You can also provide a picture of the pet’s teeth after the cleaning so the client can see the dramatic difference in cleanliness for themselves.


Veterinary dental cleanings are vital for protecting the oral health of cats and dogs. By using these tips in your practice, you can reduce client compliance problems and focus on caring for your animal patients.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

The Challenge and Value of Q&L, not Q&A, in Veterinary Practice

by Hunter Little

Businesswoman attending listening to a client who is talking at officeI’m going to pose a challenge, of sorts, to you. What do you expect when you ask a question? An answer. We want to get from point A to point B. But what if I told you we should expect more from our questions than just an answer? What if, instead of thinking about the process as Question & Answer, we thought of the process as Question & Listen? Q&A implies that there is a finite end; that there is a point A and a point B, and that is all. But, Q&L implies something more, like a vector, a starting point of a line that projects out; a launching point with no end, but limitless direction and possibility. That limitless possibility that emanates from a question, I believe, is learning. When we question and listen, we learn.

This whole line of thinking is inspired by Frank Sesno’s new book, Ask More. Sesno, a veteran of CNN and the current director of the School of Media and Public Affair at George Washington University, understands the value of a good question. As he says in the book, “Smart questions make smarter people. We learn, connect, observe, and invent through the questions we ask.” Without giving away the whole book, Sesno breaks down questions into 11 categorical types (Diagnostic, Strategic, Empathy, Bridging, Confrontational, Creativity, Mission, Scientific, Interviews, Entertaining, and Legacy) and delves into each, defining what they are and how they can be utilized.

In addition to dissecting questions themselves and how we can best craft them, Sesno although emphasizes the importance of listening. It is this particular dynamic of Ask More that I think is most applicable to the veterinary practice setting, and really life in general. Emphasizing questioning and listening imbues the process with an educational quality. The importance is to learn, not just to find an answer. To learn, we must engage. We must engage in thinking about how we question, we must engage not by looking for the answer we want, but rather by listening.

This whole Q&L paradigm implies a certain level of thoughtfulness, and this is where I challenge you from a veterinarian perspective. When we make the conscious decision to question and listen thoughtfully, we are engaging in the process of consciously interacting and learning. To think that we, as veterinary practice owners, have already learned everything we need to know – especially if there’s a graduate degree/DVM/MBA sitting in your back pocket – is a foolish notion and can close us off from opportunities to pivot, grow, evolve, or even open new doors and paths. We should never be done learning. And to think we have learned all we need to learn shows just how little we have actually learned. So my challenge to you is this: as you interact with your associates, employees, clients, or what-have-you, be conscious of your interaction and make the effort to be deliberate in how you ask questions. Then, instead of looking for a particular answer, just listen. Be open to the notion that there is always the possibility to learn. Learning implies growth, and I would surmise that this personal growth might spill over into your business, in one way or another. To question is to learn, and to learn is to grow.

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