Working with the Veterinary News Network, Sleuth the Reporter Dog has the luxury of getting some pretty solid advice when it comes to his health care. Unfortunately, far too many pets have owners that rely on the Internet when it comes to animal health information. What can you do to help make sure you are looking at a good and trusted site instead of someone out to sell you something?
1) When searching for animal health information online, look for sites that have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who either writes or oversees the content going onto the site.
2) Even though other animal “experts” are out there, often their skills are in breeding, training or other aspects of animal care. When they cross over to discussing medical issues, there can be serious consequences for the pet.
3) The state veterinary medical association has a good website with lots of pet owner resources and their Facebook page is also a fun and active place to get good advice. Nationally, HealthyPet.com from the American Animal Hospital Association is another great source.
4) When looking for a veterinarian, many people will turn to online review sites, like Yelp.com or Angie’s List. In fact, almost 80% of people trust online reviews as much as personnel recommendations.
5) If you choose to use a review site to find a veterinarian, look for sites that provide a balance of good and bad reviews as opposed to all of one or the other. Also, find sites where the business has been reviewed at least ten or twelve times.
6) Read beyond the words in the reviewer’s posting. Is there really a problem with care or service or have emotions and a focus on money obscured the real issue?
7) Look at the profile of the reviewer. Do they review many businesses or was this a onetime posting? In some cases, individuals can make a living posting positive reviews and also use the exposure to promote their own products or services.
8) Whenever you have questions, ask us first. We are here to make sure that you and your pets have access to the very best in care.
9) Sites like MyVNN.com can provide you with accurate and unbiased pet health information.
Veterinary Medicine Online – What Sites Can You Trust?
It’s not hard to find pet health information on the Internet. But, the challenge is finding advice and information from sources that you can trust. What can you do to make sure that the recommendations and opinions you find will actually help? And…what about those review sites? Can they help you find a veterinarian when you need one?
By: Dr. Jim Humphries, Certified Veterinary Journalist, Veterinary News Network
From new toys and comfy beds for your pets to medications, designer sweaters and even recommendations for “pet friendly” vacation destinations, animal lovers can find just about anything for their four legged furry family online. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to find a lot of mis-information and even potentially dangerous advice when it comes to your pet’s health care.
Since the very first website was created, anyone with the time, creativity and access to a web hosting service can post their opinions about almost any subject. This has led to a wide variety of non-veterinarians who claim to be “experts” in pets providing advice and recommendations. Sadly, pets have been harmed or even died when owners followed the counsel provided by these individuals.
When searching for helpful information about animal health, you should trust sites that have a veterinarian who either writes or oversees the content. HealthyPet.com from the American Animal Hospital Association is a great place to start. You can also look at your state’s veterinary medical association website or even their Facebook page for pet owner resources.
A new organization, the American Society of Veterinary Journalists, has been created to help both the media and the public find trustworthy professionals providing advice through any sort of media. Look for the Seal of Approval from ASVJ.
The popularity of veterinary blogs is hard to ignore and bloggers like Pawcurious.com or Pet Health Care Gazette.com can provide general suggestions and opinions about veterinary care. The added bonus to following these well-liked sites is that they are often a lot of fun and give the reader a personal viewpoint that is lacking from other sites. Just remember, none of these bloggers can diagnose or treat your pet’s specific problem.
Another fashionable trend is the use of review sites to find service providers, restaurants or almost any other type of retail outlet. The question here is, should you rely on these review sites when you are looking for a veterinarian?
According to SearchEngineLand.com, almost 80% of online users say they trust online reviews as much as personnel recommendations. There is no doubt that sites like Yelp, YP.com and Angie’s List can have a significant impact on a person’s decision to use a specific provider. These experts do recommend that you follow some easy guidelines when reading online reviews.
First, find sites that present a balanced set of reviews and look for at least ten to twelve postings before you can say you spot a trend for that particular business.
Next, look beyond the reviewer’s words. Is there a genuine concern over poor service or are emotions and a focus on money obscuring the real issue? Let’s face it…some people are very hard to please or are often simply grumpy.
Conversely, avoid relying on reviews that are excessively positive and seem too good to be true. While there are people who are always happy and never have a bad word to say, companies do exist that pay individuals to write positive reviews for a wide variety of organizations.
Finally, look at the reviewer’s profile. Has this person reviewed other businesses? Do they seem to be objective or are they using the same “cut and paste” language on all their reviews? If their evaluations seem too similar, they may be working for one of the review writing companies. Another red flag is to watch out for reviewers who constantly try to send you to look at their own profile…odds are, they are trying to sell something and they are using the review sites as marketing opportunities.
It’s been said before, but your veterinarian (and their website) will always offer you the best and most trusted source of information. With a good relationship, you can have confidence that your veterinary professionals are eager to help and offer the correct advice!
To learn more about how veterinarians are working hard to keep your pet’s healthy, visit your veterinarian’s website or www.MyVNN.com.