What is Collaborative Pet Care?

Collaborative Pet Care is the personalized, pet-first practice of approaching pet care from a team-based perspective. Try saying that 5x fast.

So, what exactly does that mean?

The animal-loving team at Boehringer Ingelheim is turning pet care on its belly-scratching, sweater-wearing, who’s-a-good-boy ear. We’ve created a fundamental shift that goes beyond the relationship between pets, their people, and their vets, to include their pet care circle.

Wait, pets have a care circle? Yep. It includes everyone from Sarah the dog walker to that adorable BARKery that makes the perfect dog treats. We’ve created PetPro Connect for all of them—because pet care was due for an update.

Why Can’t Things Just Stay the Same?

As people are taking a much more active role in their pet’s health and happiness than they have in the past, the shift from passive pet ownership to a more active relationship has been driven by two factors—technology and society.

Technology has given us on-demand access to pretty much anything we need or want to know. A quick search for any symptom provides countless answers, empowering caregivers to make informed decisions for their pet’s wellbeing.    

And society is changing. Pets aren’t just animals a family keeps around the house any more. Pets are members of the family, not something that the family owns.

Ready for the part where we talk about Millennials and Gen Z? Here goes.

The future is PetGen, and they want tech-enabled, collaborative care that takes the long view (both hands-on and virtual) with a lifetime commitment to their pet.

Today’s Veterinary Business, October 2019

Most Millennials and Gen Z grew up with pets in the home, and even in their classrooms (remember the class hamster?). An APPA-sponsored survey of 1,000 Gen-Z Americans ages 11-17 showed that nearly 80 percent have a pet in their household. They have a strong familiarity and bond with pets⁠—as best friends, confidants and support systems.  

We’re going to skip the part where we tell you how much they use their smartphones, but it’s a lot. Like, checking-it-at-least-40-times-a-day a lot.

PetGen* makes up over 62% of today’s pet parents. Many are choosing pet parenthood over babies. 

*Roughly anyone under 38

How Is This a Movement?

Adopting telehealth and using technology to reach these audiences isn’t revolutionary. But using a telehealth platform to deliver Collaborate Pet Care is both revolutionary and necessary.

We’ve taken the convenience of local telemedicine and coupled it with a networked pet care circle. We’ve given the pet family, the house sitter, the substitute dog walker, the vet, and anyone else on the pet’s team easy, immediate platform access in the palm of their hands to keep pets happy and healthy.

Pet care was due for an update. That update is Collaborative Pet Care.

Collaborative Pet Care in Action. (Aka, Meet Scruffy.)

Picture your ideal dog (or cat if that’s your thing). Are they big? Small? Fluffy? Trim? Get a really clear picture in your head. Got it? Okay.

Let’s call him Scruffy.

Now, think of some changes in Scruffy’s behavior. He starts to withdraw, seems overly tired, refuses water, and won’t stop coughing. How do you help?

How you imagined yourself helping really depends on your role in Scruffy’s life, right? 

Are you his dog walker who first noticed his cough? Are you his panicking pet mom who wants to call your own mom for help? The practice manager at the local clinic trying to get a fix on Scruffy’s case? Are you the family vet who has been seeing Scruffy since he could fit in the palm of your hand?


No matter who you are, you feel some responsibility towards Scruffy. You’re going to do your best to keep him happy and healthy.

The pet parent will Google symptoms furiously and may even text her mom—”Your grandbaby is sick! Didn’t this happen to our dog when I was 12? What should I do?”

The practice manager will need to get answers from the parent—”sounds like he’s not doing so hot. You should bring him in.”  

The pet parent brings Scruffy in for a curbside appointment (because it’s the 2020s). The vet will need info from the pet parent and practice manager to diagnose. They’ll need help from a vet tech taking samples. They might even ask for advice from a colleague who lives a few hours away (“You specialized in infectious diseases, what are your thoughts?”).  

 Poor Scruffy has influenza! Scruffy’s diagnosis and treatment go into the clinic’s health records. The vet sends the pet parent home with medication. But even after all that, care stays collaborative.

The pet parent may text the clinic with updates, like when his health-and-fitness collar shows that his fever has broken. She might want to check the prescription instructions a few (or a few dozen) times. She’ll bring him in a week later for follow-up tests. Scruffy passes with flying colors: he’s right as rain and flu-free. He can go back to getting dog biscuits from that BARKery.

 Now imagine that this all happened pretty much within the same app. That’s the update. That’s PetPro Connect. And it was designed with Collaborative Pet Care (and Scruffy) in mind.

 This is the world as it exists today. No flying cars, just people all working together to give Scruffy all the love and care he deserves.

We do it for Pets

At Boehringer Ingelheim we’re dedicated to finding opportunities to improve human and animal health in still-unimagined ways. Today we’re using connection and technology for the love of pets.

We know that collaboration in pet health exists. But we saw a reoccurring theme: pet parents, practice managers, vets, nurses, colleagues, and others were collaborating on six or seven different platforms. That’s a lot of platforms.

Pet parents would text the clinic with every update, but they couldn’t see their own pet’s full health record.

Clinics were swamped with messages from concerned pet parents but didn’t have an easy system for keeping those messages in one place, or flagging them for the right person.

Vets were busier than ever, handling everything, when all they wanted was to help the Scruffys of the world get back to eating those perfect biscuits.

People don’t just need to collaborate—they need to collaborate better.

We had to fully embrace all the ways technology brings us together. At Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health (BIAH), we care for people and pets, that’s what we do. And we realized that true Collaborative Pet Care would require a single, everything-in-one-place engagement platform.

One that lets pet parents message clinics fast, check their pet’s health record, and easily request prescription refills.

One that lets practice managers easily keep track of messages, flag them for the right people, and manage loyalty programs.

One that saves vets time, quickly provides them with information, and helps them conduct curbside and video appointments if they need them.

One that brings everyone together.

And one that lets Scruffy…be Scruffy

Our PetPro Connect platform is a hub for Collaborative Pet Care in an ever-evolving world of uncertainties. PetPro Connect puts Scruffy’s tail-waggin’ vibes above all else.

PetPro Connect has everything he needs to live his very best life—centralized healthcare, appointments for the mobile groomer, and first looks at snacks and accessories from local pet startups. That’s pretty cool.

Whether you’re a vet 15 years into your practice, a first-time dog mom, or his regular dogwalker, Collaborative Pet Care is about you. Well, it’s about Scruffy—but you’re there, too.

Innovation in Collaborative Pet Care

Today’s generation of pet parents grew up using technology to solve most—ok, all — of their problems. Does the dog have fleas? Google provides an answer (or several). However, apps and technology can provide information without context. All of this information both empowers and overwhelms newer pet owners.

We built the PetPro Connect platform knowing that Collaborative Pet Care provides better results. With PetPro Connect, pets are the center of a pet care circle that combines health, commerce, and community.

For vet practices, the PetPro Connect platform brings Collaborative Pet Care through a transformative, digital workflow that can increase productivity, loyalty, and revenue streams.

Let’s Collaborate

We don’t just want to talk about collaboration, we want to move it into the future. Let’s connect and chat about what Collaborative Pet Care means to you and how we can better support your experience, and the Scruffys you care about.

Tag us with #CollaborativePetCare or schedule a demo for a more in-depth discussion about your practice or your pet.