In the age of social media and online review sites, it is increasingly important to make sure you are ready to prevent and manage negative reviews and potential attacks from cyberbullies, particularly when it comes to hot-button behavioral topics.

Actively monitoring your online presence on social media and online review sites can help you be aware of how others are perceiving your practice. Check out AAHA’s suggestions below for handling controversial issues in your hospital and on social media and online review sites.

In the hospital

  • A position statement serves as the starting point for your practice when anyone asks about a particular topic. For any potential controversial procedure or issue, it’s a good idea to develop a position statement for your hospital so your clients know what your policies are.
  • Refer to the AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines for guidance on how to ensure that the basic behavioral needs of your patients are met.
  • Ensure the entire staff is adequately trained to talk about pet behavior and behavior modification techniques that help prevent unwanted behaviors.
  • Include client education materials on dog and cat behavior on your website that you can refer clients to when they call your practice to discuss their animal’s problem behavior.
  • Ensure that every interaction with every client is always polite and professional.

On social media and online review sites

  • Set up alerts to monitor what is being said online about your practice. Monitoring services like Google Alerts and Mention scan the Web for mentions of a practice—both positive and negative. Visit and to set up alerts for your practice’s name and the name of your veterinarians. You can choose to receive daily updates via email whenever your practice or your veterinarians are mentioned online.
  • Monitor your Facebook page and Twitter daily to watch for comments and posts about your practice. Don’t forget to respond to both positive and negative comments. Practices should strive to respond within 24 hours to all comments.
  • Encourage clients to share positive experiences on all aspects of their pet’s care on social media. This will help you build up your positive posts to help counter and balance out any negative posts by cyberbullies.
  • Take the time to respond to positive social media posts as well as negative posts. Respond to your fans as well as your critics to reward loyal clients for taking the time to write a positive post. Responding to positive posts is easy: All you have to do is thank them for the review and reiterate that you’re pleased to be serving them.
  • Take a negative conversation offline as soon as possible. Be polite and friendly when responding to negative posts and reviews, and encourage commenters to call your hospital to continue the conversation. You can also use private one-on-one messages for conversation that includes sensitive information.
  • Respond appropriately to reviews. Give fraudulent reviews from non-clients a short, polite response and then ignore it.

AAHA offers public relations resources for AAHA-accredited members. Are you an AAHA-accredited member? Log in to your account to access the free resources in the AAHA Publicity Toolbox.

Not AAHA accredited yet? Find out more about becoming accredited.

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Privacy Statement | Contact Us