The Dangers Of Searching for Pet Care Answers Online

Dr. Kerri Blackburn

When your pet is sick it can be tempting to just Google their symptoms rather than take them to the family veterinarian, but this can be dangerous in many ways.

  1. It is too easy to get the wrong information. To use information from a website, without the input of a veterinarian, to formulate a treatment plan at home can prove deadly for your pet.  Many websites may provide dangerous information, recommending the use of common human medications, like Tylenol, which are actually toxic to pets. Blogs and chat rooms are often full of information that is inaccurate, complied by each blogger’s personal opinions rather than fact.
  2. Many pet care websites are also inaccurate, being more interested in profits generated via traffic than in your pet’s best interest. In a comparable human healthcare website search, 65% of the websites on the first 3 pages of a Google search had information that was biased or contained information that was unverified. Add to this that most people will click on a website within the first 2-3 Google search pages and this means searchers are likely viewing inaccurate information.
  3. Websites that are sponsored by a Veterinary University or Veterinary hospital are more likely to be accurate, but make sure the information you are reading is dated and is recent. Information that cites credible references like peer reviewed medical journals and university studies is also more likely to be accurate. Perhaps the most accurate, and safest measure, is to verify any information you find by contacting your family veterinarian. We at Animal Medical Hospital are always happy to answer your questions, verify the information you are reading, and provide you additional online references that are accurate and safe. Please do not hesitate to call us anytime.

We now offer a LifeLearn search portal on our website where you can search for answers from reputable veterinary sources!