When it comes to your pet's health, nothing can replace your veterinarian's advice. However, there are times when you want to do your own research. It's important to be informed so you can be an advocate for your dog and help keep your dog healthy. If you find that you have a veterinary medical question, it's natural that you want to search online. After all, it's what we often do when we have a question about any topic. However, it's important to remember that not all the information you find online is accurate, no matter how believable it sounds.
What Does "Doctor Google" Say?
There is a lot of veterinary information on the web. Some of that information is reliable, helpful and true. Unfortunately, there is also some inaccurate or downright bad veterinary advice out there. Some of the most dangerous articles contain part facts and part myth, which can be misleading to readers. Many articles are simply based upon the author's opinion with little regard for scientific facts.
When searching online for vet advice, take everything with a healthy dose of skepticism. Even articles written by experienced veterinary professionals can be taken out of context. However, if an article has no information about the author, then there is no real way to know if the information is based upon facts, education, and experience. It's better to look for a source you can trust. When reading vet articles online, ask yourself some questions.
- Does the author have veterinary experience and training? If not, has the article been reviewed and approved by a veterinary professional? If neither of these is true, then you might want to skip that one.
- Is the article full of suggestions for home remedies and medical tips that do not involve seeking your veterinarian's advice? If so, stop reading and find another source. Some of that could be dangerous to your dog!
- Does the article actually discourage talking to a veterinarian? If the author is distrustful of vets, it's a red flag. Vets are human, and not all are equal; if you don't trust your vet, find a better one, don't just trust some random online author who talks a good talk.
- Does the information sound too good to be true? It probably is. Are there claims and advice that sound far-fetched? They probably are. Contact your vet before you follow any of that advice.
Best Websites for Veterinary Information
Obviously, you still want to be able to search online when you need veterinary information. The following websites generally contain trusted, up-to-date, educational information for pet owners that is based upon facts. The information in these sites is intended to accompany your own vet's advice, not replace it. Be sure to communicate with your vet before making changes that can affect your pet's health. The next time you have a question about your pet, consider one of the following websites:
Veterinary Medicine on About.com: This website is about all things veterinary, and it is run by an actual veterinarian.
Partners in Animal Health: This is a collection of innovative, reliable resources for veterinarians and pet owners developed by veterinary experts at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
WSU Pet Health Topics: From clipping claws to treating cancer, get the healthcare information you need for your pet on the Pet Health Topics site from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.
ASPCA Pet Care: This informative, comprehensive site covers everything from pet poisons and common health concerns to behavior and training.
Pet Poison Helpline: This poison control website can help you determine if your pet has been poisoned. You can also call their helpline for a fee to get advice before heading to the vet.
Pets and Parasites: Here's everything you need to know about parasites and how they can affect your pets.
AVMA Pet Care Page: The American Veterinary Medical Association lists great resources for pet owners.
Dr. Sophia Yin: The website of this late renown veterinarian behaviorist has been kept updated with amazing resources on animal behavior.
AAHA for Pet Owners: The American Animal Hospital Association's pet owner page has information and resources that are accurate and reliable.
Veterinary Partner: Vets love to recommend this site to their clients because there is so much valuable information. Veterinary Partner is affiliated with VIN.com; a site vets use to exchange ideas, do research and attend online continuing education sessions.