How to encourage your clients not to

When pet parents panic buy pet food, no one wins. Here’s how to approach the topic and encourage them not to buy more than they need.

In the veterinary profession, it often falls on us to be the voice of reason in the crowd. Panic buying has abruptly become the new norm and there is a global desire to fill our coolers and cupboards. In fact, this behavior has been likened to how animals stock up for a cold winter! While this knee jerk reaction to the coronavirus pandemic is understandable, it is also potentially dangerous. Read on to get some ideas about how to broach this topic with your clients.

Why panic buying does more harm than good

It can be easy for pet parents to fall into the mindset of ‘just one extra bag’ while at the shops, or doubling their standard dog food order online. However, this will quickly result in bare shelves and a supply issue. Those who will suffer are those who cannot bulk buy such as:

  • Pet parents with no internet access
  • Those who don’t have the space or financial resources needed to stock up
  • Those who walk to the shops and can’t physically manage to carry too much

Of course, it is the elderly and less able who generally tick one or more of these boxes. When pet food is bought in bulk, these minorities and their pets are left in the lurch.

When panic turns to foolishness

When a pet parent is worried about their cat or dog going hungry, they might make a bad purchasing decision. Some may be tempted to bulk buy a different food to the one their pet is normally on. If there isn’t a large amount of their regular food in stock, they may opt for a different brand or variety. Of course, this can result in an upset stomach and an animal that is being fed an inappropriate diet. Long-term, this has the potential to do a lot of damage.

Other drawbacks

Panic buying will almost certainly lead to more waste, with food expiring before it can be consumed. Similarly, we all know how fussy some pets can be and they may decide to turn their noses up at their diet when there is still a 20kg bag left to eat.

We all know that a pet’s nutritional needs are not constant. It’s not unreasonable to think that some pets will need to change their diet at some stage over lockdown. Whether this is because they need to lose weight or because they develop a medical condition, that bulk-bought diet may not be suitable forever.

Staying calm

If we all resist the urge to panic buy, it won’t be difficult for everyone to get the pet food they need as it’s needed. However, it only takes a small percentage of the population to panic buy for the pet food industry to start struggling.

Raising these points with your clients is important. Consider face-to-face conversations, emails and leaflets. Most should be receptive to your reasoning. 


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