Being a vet tech is HARD.
They’re on their feet all day, dodging fecal matter, filling meds, placing catheters, and just about breaking their backs lifting dogs. Meanwhile, there’s no end to the amount of love, care, and support they provide pets. This is why fathers get a day, but vet techs get a whole week. Just kidding dads, but truly, veterinary technicians aka veterinary nurses deserve being honored to the fullest during National Vet Tech Week.
PSA: National Vet Tech Week  is the 3rd week of October each year.
Practice managers and owners, this shouldn’t be news to you. Hopefully, you have a long history of celebrating the techs in your practice each October. But look, the standard pizza party just isn’t going to cut it this year, especially if you’re trying to reduce staff turnover .
Step it up and experiment with some of these creative ways to honor your veterinary nurses.
Top 5 creative ways to celebrate vet tech week
Bringing in a massage therapist for free mini chair massages is a hit in any office, let alone a veterinary office. Soothe your vet tech’s sore muscles and pamper them with relaxing self-care time.
Clothes stay on for chair massages, but you’ll still want to dedicate a spare room for max relaxation. Massages are usually 12-15 minutes long and fairly affordable depending on the size of your team.
Who doesn’t love a food truck, am I right? Pretty sure it’s because they remind us of the ice cream man from childhood.
Food trucks have really exploded in the past few years, so you should have no problem getting a few trucks to park outside your practice this October. Pay for the ice cream truck to show up and watch the joy spread through your team as they hear the music.
Bonus: food trucks will attract attention to your practice. You may even get a few social posts or tweets. #awesome
This idea might require the most effort but it’s sure to be memorable. Take each of your techs to the mall or even a Target near you and hand them $100. Tell them they have one hour to spend it all – use it or lose it.
At the end of the hour, have each tech show off their loot and give recognition to those who managed to spend every last penny. This creates a unique bonding experience for your staff, guaranteed. Alternatively and admittedly easier, simply add $100 to each tech’s hospital account to help cover care for their personal pets.
It goes without saying that time is valuable. Show your employees that you value their time and support their work-life balance by giving them an extra day off with pay.
Make sure you’re adequately staffed to handle an extra day off and remind techs of your scheduling policy. Consider whether you’d like to offer 1 extra day per year of service with a cap in place for longtime employees – this could be a great way to increase retention.
Free food should be a given during Vet Tech Week, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Make it interesting by having your DVMs prepare it. Get creative with a taco bar, ice cream bar, or avocado toast bar if you really want to wow your millennial techs. Respect employee dietary preferences by having vegan and gluten-free options.
You could also have your DVMs go on a Starbucks run. Who wouldn’t love a free Pumpkin Spice Latte hand-delivered by your favorite doctor? Lastly, have your DVMs handwrite thank you notes to every veterinary nurse. It’s time-consuming but incredibly meaningful.
Pro tip: Get your vendor reps to pay for things
Save your time and your money by asking vendors to sponsor aspects of your Vet Tech Week celebration. Most vendors are happy to provide lunch or swag in an effort to support your relationship.
Should you include veterinary assistants in vet tech week?
No, that’s like combining a graduation and birthday cake into one. Ew, David . However, you should definitely honor assistants with a separate event.
Perhaps you create something like Veterinary Assistant & Receptionist Appreciation Week or simply celebrate the broader holiday National Receptionist Day, which is the second Wednesday of May. By focusing and expanding your efforts, you’ll help everyone feel special and appreciated.
Go big for Vet Tech Week
Did this list get your creative gears turning?
Have you started brainstorming other ways you can make an impact? Whatever you do, pledge to make this the year that you really wow your veterinary nurses and show them you care  during National Vet Tech Week.
Kate Zirkle is a Marketing Manager for VetSuccess. She is passionate about animal rescue, personal development, and travel. When not working to advance the veterinary industry, she can be found kayaking, reading, and planning her next trip. You can reach her at email@example.com .