The Nature of Knowledge: Dr. Google and Pet Health

BevHills_iStock_000053120748_LargeWe used to rely on relatives and neighbors to learn about new things – not to mention bona fide experts. However, in our media-driven culture, we seek knowledge on a minute-by-minute basis. In the ever-growing sea of online resources, can we find the truth among the never-ending fictional and fallacious websites?

Pet owners are no strangers to the online world. Finding information about your pet is certainly worthwhile, but taking certain medical advice at face value can be detrimental to your pet’s health. Indeed, “Dr. Google” and pet health is a hot topic, and Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates are here to help you navigate the line between fact and fiction.

Be a Savvy Searcher

Anyone, anywhere can post content to the World Wide Web, but the chances you’re reading a credentialed author aren’t always high. So how do you know if the website is trustworthy and the content credible? Some sources may be obvious (e.g., our blog), but others may have ulterior motives or are authored by someone with no professional training.

Let the Scrutiny Begin!

It’s common for pet owners to plug troublesome symptoms or noticeable behavioral changes into a search engine. However, before applying what you glean from other websites, make sure the source is credentialed or endorsed by a professional organization or government agency (such as the Food and Drug Administration). Sites such as the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, or the Red Cross are exceptional choices; you know you’re getting the most precise, up-to-date information available.

Dr. Google and Pet Health

With so much information at your fingertips, it may feel like you can diagnose your pet’s symptoms. It’s helpful – reassuring, even – to consult Google when your pet displays troubling signs of illness or injury, but please don’t stop there. Instead, familiarize yourself with signs of a pet emergency, and call us immediately. Checking the Internet can waste precious time that your pet may not have.


Many sites may offer to diagnose or treat your pet via the web or phone, but the most effective (and legal) way to handle your pet is with a hands-on approach. Seeing your pet in person for a thorough examination is hands-down the best way to understand what’s going on.

Also, while purchasing pet medications online is common, ordering certain drugs from an untrustworthy source is extremely dangerous. Be wary of companies that don’t ask for a prescription or deem one necessary.

Lastly, it may be tempting to purchase homemade remedies from websites touting their effectiveness. However, your pet’s health could suffer if you buy products that haven’t passed the FDA’s rigorous testing.

The Focused Truth

Our team understands the Internet provides immediate results to worried pet owners. But remember, you want real information when searching for answers about your pet’s health. Dr. Google and pet health might seem like a good match, but proper veterinary care and compassion is what the (real) doctor ordered. We’re just a phone call away, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.