- Always consider the source of the information. Make sure that the author has the qualifications to provide owners with accurate and trustworthy advice. There are countless on-line “experts” that will vociferously provide their opinions in spite of the absence of factual information or training. A doctor that has graduated from a reputable veterinary school is always the safest bet. If in doubt, do a little research on the person’s credentials.
- Avoid sites that diagnose, prescribe medication or tell you how to treat your pet’s condition based on information you provide online, through email or over the phone. A complete and accurate assessment of your pet’s health or condition cannot be determined without a physical exam and recommendations made without a trust-worthy assessment can be very harmful to your pet.
Note: there are limited exceptions to this rule. For example, the the PET POISON HELP LINE can provide you with recommendations for emergency treatment for animal poisonings, but they may also instruct you to take your pet to your veterinarian for additional evaluation and/or treatment.
- Beware of sites promoting “homemade” remedies for pet health problems (such as parvo, heartworm, etc.). Always check with your veterinarian before giving your pet any non-prescription supplements or ‘natural’ products to make sure that the product is safe, effective and meets quality standards.