Upselling at the Vet’s Office

Stray dog no more Elbee the day he found us


As many of you know I had a stray show up at my door on Saturday afternoon in dire need of some food and attention. Elbee, as we are calling him for now, seems to be doing better. I took him to the vets office this morning and apart from some general concerns about his weight (he is 19lbs and probably should be around 30), some minor skin issues, and some parasites, he is in good shape all things considered.

As I stated before, we will hang on to Elbee for a while and get him back on his feet. He is a sweet boy and although I won’t rule out our keeping him, I wasn’t looking to add a fourth dog to the family. But my post today isn’t about Elbee specifically, but about the subject of upselling at the vet’s office.

If you have ever shopped at all then you have been the target of upselling. When the drive through attendant at the fast food restaurant asks you if “you want an apple pie with that?” that’s upselling. When a waitress asks you if you’ve “saved room for dessert”, that’s upselling. In fact anytime someone suggests or reminds you about other products or services they offer, other than the ones you have specifically asked for, that’s upselling.

Now mind you I understand that businesses need to upsell and I regard it as a legitimate business practice, indeed, it is probably a necessity. However there are places and situations that beg for a bit of decorum, and where I think upselling is inappropriate.

When I showed up at the vet’s office today with Elbee in tow, It was very obvious why I was there. Elbee is extremely emaciated and is obviously a stray or abandoned dog. When I was ushered into the exam room the vet tech did ask why I was there and took what history I knew of Elbee. But before even seeing the vet and coming to a diagnosis of what problems Elbee might have, the vet tech was trying to get me to buy a full series of vaccinations and other services offered by the vet. Now as I’ve said above I recognize that the upsell is a legitimate practice, but at least take my order before asking me if I want an apple pie.

Sadly in my area, this is not an uncommon practice at the vet’s office. And although most aren’t quite as blatant and obnoxious as this was, most all of them could benefit by being a bit more delicate and tactful about the process.

So tell us what you think. How is upselling handled by your vet? Do you think that upselling is legitimate practice for vets to increase their revenue? What is your experience with this?

My Woof Wednesday guest this week will be Veterinarian Krista Gibson (Scottsdale_Vet on Twitter) of Animal Medical Services in Scottsdale Arizona. We will be discussing ways to better communication between owner and vet.


Kevin, Jackie, Elbee, Gavin, Annie, Tosha