Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog
A Bottomless Well: Online Pet Resources
The Internet is a powerful tool, so it’s a good idea to approach using it with caution to avoid buying into misinformation that abounds in the digital realm. Modern technology has put a seemingly endless amount of information that we never knew existed at our fingertips, however not all of it is accurate. Pet owners are especially savvy, and there’s no shortage of reputable information out there, but trusting un-vetted online pet resources could endanger your companion.
So how do you know if an online pet resource is credible? Look no further – Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic is here to help!
Do Your Homework
Before we get into why some websites are sketchy, we’d like to affirm that the online world can – and does – provide amazingly helpful and credible information.
However, it’s important to always keep your pet’s veterinarian in the loop, especially if you’re researching worrisome symptoms. If your pet needs medical attention, please don’t rely on Dr. Google. Instead, involve your veterinarian as quickly as possible.
That being said, you can always trust the following online pet resources to find accurate and up-to-date information:
- American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology
- American College of Veterinary Dermatology
- American Animal Hospital Association
- Veterinary Partner
- ASPCA Poison Control
- Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Website
- Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog
- Balance It – a website for homemade pet food by a Veterinary Nutritionist
If you’re browsing a different online pet resource, look for a list of credentials belonging to the author(s) and verify their experience, along with checking if they are working for a company that might be skewing the information provided. Also, if a government agency or professional organization endorses the site, it is more likely that you’re getting reliable information.
Online Pet Resources: Red Flags
It is important to be aware that many websites have an agenda, hidden or otherwise, and it usually involves having something they want to sell you. These sites might artificially inflate the value of their product, or even bad mouth perfectly good products or medications that are the competition. Some warning signs of online pet resources you want to avoid include:
- The site doesn’t require proof of prescription when purchasing medications. This may result in giving your pet fake, illegal, or unapproved medication, placing him or her at great risk.
- The site claims to “diagnose” your pet without any physical examination (a huge red flag!).
- The site claims a homemade, all-natural, or organic remedy or cure is more effective than medical veterinary care. Always check to see if the Food and Drug Administration has tested the product before using it on your pet.
- Products touted as natural or organic are not subject to the protective oversight of FDA testing like prescription medications, which means that no one is checking their safety or effectiveness.
- The website is a .UK, .RU, or other country designation. While it’s possible that these are legitimate sites, it is difficult to verify their authenticity and pretty much impossible to seek redress if they end up scamming you.
- The site is offering prescription medications at significantly lower prices than your veterinarian or brick and mortar pharmacy.
There are a number of things to watch for with these discount online pharmacies:
- Accurate comparable pricing (their quantity for a “full prescription” does not match what your veterinarian actually prescribed, thus making it appear that they have better pricing)
- They are selling generic medications as name brand, or substituting the type of medication altogether
- The medication is being manufactured in a country without strict guidelines for production, thus resulting in less expensive medications with questionable safety.
Trusting Online Pet Resources
With so much easily found information out there, it can be convenient to trust the multitude of online pet resources we happen to come across. However, it’s our responsibility as pet owners to exercise great caution when following advice we find online. By all means, consult your favorite search engine to review pet care and health articles, but take what you find with a grain of salt.