Pixels and Pets!

PuppyBy Krissy Goelz (@krisgoelz)

Are your kids asking for a new kitten or puppy for Christmas? If so, they’re not alone.

According to the Humane Society, 39% of US households own at least one of the 77.5 million dogs in the country, and 33% of US households own at least one of the 93.6 million cats. So its likely that you, dear reader, are reading this with a furry member of your household on your lap or at your feet.

That small housemate is an important part of the family, and you take care of them that way – making sure they have the proper food, games and exercise, as well as health care. Americans spend $41 billion a year on their pets, and as much as $8 to $9 billion a year of that goes directly toward their pets health care.

In October, at Eye for Pharma 2010, we interviewed Rick Stoner from Bader Rutter, Pfizer Animal Healths ad agency. He talked about their work (including the creation of a Facebook page), the similarities and differences with human-health pharma marketing.

From what we learned from Rick, it seems as if animal health is learning from the pharmaceutical industry, in terms of interaction with consumers through social media.

We see some more opportunities for animal health, though. So, as we do here at Pixels & Pills, here are a couple of free brainstorm ideas. These are projects wed love to work on to help promote great animal health care.

  1. Reminders. Its all we can do to take our own daily pills. How much harder is it to remember a heartworm pill, insulin shot or flea dip for someone else, or when to make a vet appointment? Itd help if we had the options of getting Facebook, Twitter or text message reminders to know when to give Fluffy and Fido their meds.

  1. Education. We know to take our medicine because the health of ourselves and our human loved ones has immediate repercussions, and were selfish: we feel lousy, we put up with our spouse or childs whining, we get lectured about antibiotic resistance, etc. Pet health is a harder to wrap your head around. Its a whole different anatomy to understand, and they cant explain when theyre feeling a little under the weather. Wet nose? Dry nose? Cold nose? Hot nose? How can we really tell whats important to do for our pets, and who can tell us what to do about it?

  1. Charity Support. Just as human-health companies often support charitable organizations that address their patient populations, many animal-health organizations do the same with animal charities. How much fun would it be to work on a project for an animal-health organization where pet lovers can come together and decide which charity theyll support, and how? You could do YouTube challenges, Facebook votes… it could be a great time.

Maybe Spike and Shadow dont have their own profile pics up yet (although… you are gone all day… how do you know what theyre doing while youre at work?) but social media can still be helping animals, and animal-health companies too!

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