It seems as though the internet runs our lives, and in some ways it does. Scheduling, researching, working, and planning all typically take place on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the ubiquitous presence of the internet.
It’s no surprise that many of us turn to online sources for help with health concerns, both for us and for our pets. Although the internet can be a great resource, it can also provide misleading, false, or even dangerous information if we aren’t careful. Finding credible pet health information online can be challenging, but entirely possible once we know what to look for.
Doing a little research about pet health online can be helpful, but it can also make things worse if we aren’t careful. One of the most alarming parts of finding pet health information online is that anyone can post information, regardless of their education, credentials, or experience (or lack thereof).
Be on the lookout for the following red flags while surfing the web:
- Websites promoting home remedies
- Any website selling homemade products and/or making claims that their product is superior to veterinary care
- Any website claiming to diagnose an illness
- Websites selling medications that can normally only be obtained via prescription, such as certain parasite preventives or antibiotics
Finding Credible Pet Health Information Online
We are thrilled that so many of our clients take the time to research their pets’ ailments before they come to see us, and we always encourage pet owners to educate themselves on proper pet care. Trusted veterinary care organizations, universities and veterinary schools, as well as some content submitted by veterinarians themselves can be valuable sources of pet health information.
We recommend the following reputable and vetted online resources:
- American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- American Red Cross (Pet First Aid)
- Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital website and blog
Relying too heavily on Dr. Google to diagnose your pet’s health problems could mean delaying the medical help your pet needs. Taking medical advice or purchasing medication online can interfere with proper treatment. Waiting too long to get help may also lead to a more serious and expensive situation, and may cause undue pain or suffering for your pet in the meantime.
Please don’t hesitate to call your team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital if you have any questions or concerns about the health of your sweet pet.