After over two years of working behind the scenes on this exciting new project, I’m delighted to announce the official launch of my latest project designed to help pet care and animal welfare: Petfix Club.
This project is exciting. It is the most important and useful thing I have ever done. I would really value your support: please sign up for the free thirty day trial, and let me know what you think. And please share this message: I need help to get the word out there.
What’s the background to Petfix Club?
For over twenty five years I’ve been busy as a media vet, answering owners’ queries about their pets on radio, television and in print. It was obvious to me that these traditional forms of media are fading as the internet takes over, and that online platforms allow more interactivity, immediacy and flexibility. So, along with some folk I knew, we started off thinking how could we create a website to help owners to attain the best possible experience for themselves and their pets, and in particular, to promote optimal health, fitness, wellbeing and lifespan for animals. That was the starting point, and we went on from there to evolve the wide range of features that can now be experienced on the Petfix Club website.
The website is so comprehensive that it is difficult to explain it all in one blog post, but I will do my best to be succinct.
Here are ten features of Petfix Club that I want you to know about.
1) The Personalised Pet Planner
The personalised pet planner is one of my favourite features of Petfix Club. I know from experience that many people have the intention of doing everything right for their pet, but they don’t know exactly what they need to do, so they end up accidentally missing the mark. The personalised pet planner is an easy-to-use, intuitive way of submitting your pet’s lifestyle for professional evaluation. You simply follow the guide on the computer or phone screen, answering questions about the various different aspects of your pet’s life, from what they eat, where they sleep, how they spend their time, to what sort of parasite control you use. At the end of the process (which takes no more than five minutes), you are given a personalised plan for your pet, including advice on vaccine needs, flea, tick and worm control, exercise and play schedule, home dental care, nutrition, and much more too.
Your personal report for your pet will be colour coded:
- green means you have already got everything right
- amber means that a few tweaks would help
- red indicates an area where it’s especially important that you take prompt action (e.g. if a pet had not been wormed for over a year, this is something that absolutely needs to be done to protect both your pet and your family)
This simple report allows you to fine tune how you look after your pet, making sure you are doing everything to give them the healthiest, happiest life possible. Where there are recommendations (e.g. new toys for dental care, a different type of diet, flea or worm preventive treatment etc) you will be shown links to our store so that you can immediately improve your pet’s life by buying what you need for them.
In some cases, recommendations may be to visit other places to get the help you need e.g. your local vet clinic for lung worm preventive treatments and vaccines.
I’m often astounded, in particular, at how many people use parasite control inappropriately, either not dosing their pet often enough, using products that don’t work (e.g herbal drops that don’t control fleas properly), or even using potent medication that is not needed for their pet’s lifestyle. I know that vets do their best to guide people in this area, but I also know that vets can’t reach everybody, and that this is an area where pet owners often fail through lack of knowledge and understanding.
The Pet Planner gives personalised feedback that makes sure that people are doing the right thing for their pet, using the right product, at the right time.
2) The DIY Pet Triage tool
Even when you do everything right for your pet, sometimes things go wrong, whether due to illness, accidents, or something else. It’s worrying when this happens, and the aim of Petfix Club is to ease that worry as rapidly as possible. Don’t go to Google if your pet has a problem: you will only fill your head with fear over the worst case possibility. Come to Petfix Club and we will give you trusted, safe advice about what you need to do.
It’s impossible to properly diagnose serious health issues affecting pets without physically examining them: while virtual vets, involving video consults, have been able to offer some help during the COVID crisis in particular, I know from my own experience that when a pet is really ill, a physical clinical examination is the only way to help.
However, there is still much that can be done virtually. In particular, the process of triage can be enabled by asking a series of questions.
The word “triage” comes from the French verb “trier”, meaning “to separate out”. In the medical and veterinary worlds, triage means the process of separating out the priorities when faced with a number of patients who may or may not need urgent attention.
Traditionally, if your pet is unwell, you might phone your local vet clinic, and the receptionist, nurse or vet will ask you a series of questions about your pet. After gathering this information, they will give you advice on whether you need to rush down at once to see the vet, book an appointment in the next few days, or perhaps the decision will be that this is nothing too major, and you may be able just to monitor the problem, perhaps giving some simple home treatment.
It occurred to me that this question/answer process is something which can be accomplished virtually, and to some extent, it can be done in an automated way using computer technology. We are all familiar with chat bots, and with the concept of a computer seemingly responding to us in a conversation-like manner. So we took this idea, and we created the Petfix Club DIY Triage tool.
The idea is simple: after adding your pet’s details (name, type, age, gender etc), the website asks you a series of questions about your pet’s problem. The tool then automatically works out a recommendation:
- Do you need to rush to the vet at once?
- Do you need to see a vet in the next few days?
- Can you, instead, just monitor the situation, perhaps using simple home treatment?
We have tested our system using real life clinical cases, comparing our DIY Triage tool with the traditional method of phoning a vet clinic: the results correlated very well, so I am confident that this tool offers a quick, simple, safe, effective way to help pet owners who are worried about their animal.
3) An online library of pet information
Once you have completed the DIY Triage Tool, the Petfix Club website will have worked out, broadly, the type of problem that your pet is suffering from. The system uses this information to come up with a number of recommended articles and videos that we have prepared to help with your particular type of query. It’s like an individually responsive library of information about pet health.
We have created hundreds of professionally produced videos where I explain a wide range of common issues about pets, from “why dogs go into the praying position”, to “how to clip nails” to “what sort of urinary problems do cats get?”. There is a large vault of these videos, which can be browsed or searched to make it easy to find what you want. However the DIY Triage Tool makes it even easier: based on your answers to the questions, the particular video that’s relevant to your pet pops up in front of you.
You are also guided to the most appropriate articles: I have written thousands of pieces on anything from disc disease in dogs to cancer in rats to the behaviour of cats. Again, the DIY Triage Tool will guide you to the most appropriate articles for your pet.
4) The Ask The Vet service
If, after completing the DIY Triage Tool, watching a video and reading an article or two, you still have questions that you would like to have answered, you can click on the Ask A Vet button, and either myself or one of the Petfix team of vets will get back to you with an individual answer to your question. You can include photos or video with your question: it is so easy these days to share this type of footage.
The vet will then get back to you as soon as they can, so that you can share a helpful discussion
The whole idea of this part of the Petfix Club website is to make it easier to manage those challenging times when your pet is not so well. I have discovered that a Google search is often not helpful in such situations: you get directed to the worst case scenarios, or to information websites that are cluttered with adverts. Petfix Club is completely advert-free, and we give you safe and objective information that you can trust. And once you are a signed-up member, there are no hidden fees: you can ask the vet as many questions as you want without having to pay anything extra.
5) The Petfix Club Store
We have set up an online pet shop as part of the Petfix Club website. This has been designed to be the pet shop that I would like to go to myself. I have selected every item in the store, and I am happy that we offer good quality items, at the best possible prices.
We stock hundreds and hundreds of items – a huge selection of dry and wet food, collars, leads and harnesses, toys and accessories for dogs and cats.
If there is anything you need for your pet, our aim is to get it for you, and as a new enterprise, we are constantly adapting: if there is something that you want that we don’t stock, ask us, give us a few days and we will find it for you.
We have bedding and food for rabbits and hamsters, food for all creatures, even for birds, both in your home and in your garden.
In line with the concept of using the latest computerised technology to personalise your experience, you will already have entered the details of each of your pets, and when you go shopping for them, the website will recommend appropriate items for them individually (no cat owners want to see dog food, nor do rabbit owners want to know about dog muzzles).
We have negotiated a great deal with our delivery couriers, and if you order is valued over €50, delivery straight to your door is absolutely free.
For me, one of the most exciting products in the store is our own brand of Petfix Club food, created with ingredients specially selected by myself, based on my own experience of feeding my own dogs Kiko and Finzi, and my own cats Peig, Sushi and Couscous. They are all in excellent health, with bright eyes and shiny coats, and I know this is largely due to their top quality nutrition. I am now delighted to be able to bring this to the wider world via our range of Petfix Club pet foods for dogs and cats.
6) The directory of services
As part of our mission to promote optimal health, fitness, wellbeing and lifespan for animals, we know that pet owners will want to work with dog groomers, dog trainers, pet sitters, boarding kennels and catteries, dog walkers and other areas too. So we are creating Ireland’s first nationwide pet-only directory of services covering everything a pet owner might need, geolocated to the person who is doing the searching (on their computer, tablet or phone) so that it’s really easy to find what you need, close to your own location.
We plan to continue to develop relationships with all of these service providers, attracting more as we become better known and more established, so that we become to go-to place to find everything you need for your pet, for their entire lives. So if you offer any type of pet service, please talk to us, and join this growing resource.
7) Helping people to find a pet
The starting point of pet ownership is acquiring an animal in the first place, and it’s really important that this is planned carefully. Petfix Club has articles that discuss how to do this in the best possible way, and we have linked up with Petbond.ie to help you find a pet from an ethical source that’s likely to be a healthy, happy animal and an enjoyable, positive part of your life.
8) The Petfix Club online community
We have a vibrant and growing online community, where Petfix Club members can chat to each other, sharing videos, pictures and stories about their pets. There is always so much to talk about in the world of animals, and our community is a safe, enjoyable place to do just that.
9) And there is much, much more
The Petfix Club website has far more than I have listed, and the best way to find out about it is to visit for yourself.
10) 30 days of membership for free
Petfix Club is a members only site, with a monthly subscription fee of €7, but anyone can enjoy a free 30 day trial absolutely free: all you need to do is register.
So come on and join us for that free trial. My mission in life is to help animals and pet owners. Petfix Club is a culmination of many years of learning and experience of being a pet owner and a vet, and I am just delighted to be able to open this up to the wider world.