When something seems “off” with your pet, it can be tempting to jump online and Google their symptoms rather than making an appointment with your veterinarian. The internet can be a wonderful source of information, but it can also be dangerous if the websites you find are outdated or inaccurate.
Dr. Google has its place in your pet care arsenal, but only if you understand how to find credible online veterinary advice. The team at Town & Country Animal Hospital is here to help!
When Dr. Google Won’t Cut it
Some common problems that result from turning to the internet instead of your family veterinarian include:
- Inaccurate information – It’s hard to know whether or not a website has accurate information. Many websites contain erroneous facts, someone’s opinion, or are based around selling a particular product. Formulating a treatment plan without checking with your veterinarian can be dangerous for your pet.
- Waiting too long – By spending time seeking online veterinary advice you may be delaying the professional medical care your pet needs. Waiting too long can cause your pet to experience unnecessary suffering, and may wind up being more expensive and complicated in the long run.
- Interference with other treatments – Herbal treatments, home remedies, and other ideas may actually interfere with our attempts to treat your pet’s condition should they need it. Certain herbs and human-grade products or preparations may also be highly toxic to your pet.
How to Find Credible Online Veterinary Advice
Just because there is a lot of bad information out there does not mean that you should never seek online veterinary advice.
Reputable veterinary care organizations, universities, and some content submitted by veterinary professionals can be useful in non-emergency situations and for general educational purposes.
Websites sponsored by a veterinary university or veterinary hospital are usually a good place to start, provided the information is up to date. We also recommend the following vetted resources:
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
- Veterinary Partner
- American Red Cross (pet first aid)
- Town & Country Animal Hospital website and blog.