How to evaluate pet information on the web - Dr. Marty Becker

How to evaluate pet information on the web

Thursday, Jun 5th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

When you think something’s wrong with your dog or cat, the first thing you do is Google the symptoms. Am I right? I bet I am.

Studies show that three out of four people go to the Internet before calling their veterinarians or taking their pets to the clinic. I understand. If you’re worried about your pet, you want to have an idea right away of what might be wrong. But “Dr. Google” isn’t always the best source of information for what’s going on with your pet or how to treat it.

I’m not just saying that because I think you should take your furry friend to the veterinarian if he’s sick (although I do). The Internet is an amazing source of all kinds of knowledge, but it’s also full of unreliable, out-of-date and just plain wrong advice. The fact is, some information is more equal than other information. More important, nothing on the Internet beats an in-person exam by your veterinarian.

I say that after seeing at least five instances in the past couple of years of pets dying because well-meaning owners relied on information found on the Web and brought them in for help when it was too late. I don’t want you to stop going to the Internet for information. I think it can be a valuable resource. I do want to help you learn to find and evaluate the best information.

Here’s what to look for.