Your dog suddenly throws up after eating her dinner.
“It’s probably nothing,” you think. “Or wait. Didn’t she throw up last week?”
You wonder if it’s related to that lump you’ve been meaning to get checked out. You push the scary C-word out of your mind. Everything’s probably fine and you’re overreacting. Dogs just throw up sometimes, right?
Fortunately, you have an expert in your pocket, so you turn to Dr. Google.
You type in, “My dog is…” and your search engine suggests: shaking, not eating, coughing, and finally, throwing up. You click the latter and get caught in the aptly named “web” of links, sites, and articles.
Many bad sources have professional-looking websites and convincing language. To ensure a site is trustworthy:
- Ensure that the author is a veterinary healthcare professional or that the company has veterinarians overseeing its work
- Avoid broad claims, forums, or anecdotal evidence without supporting studies or data
- Check the date of publication (ideally, in the last few years)
Once you’ve found a veterinary accredited source, it’s easy to start self-diagnosing. You prepare yourself for the worst possible prognosis, but try to remember that the internet can’t do diagnostic tests or look at your pet’s medical records.
So you go to your veterinarian’s website and head to their database of pet health articles. There, you focus on learning about your pet’s normal body functions and what would be considered an emergency.
Their website says to contact their team with any questions, so you call to ask about the vomiting. In your research, you also came across some claims regarding your dog’s food and medications, so you ask about those, too.
Your veterinary team loves science (almost as much as they love animals!) so they are happy you want to be involved and informed. They answer all your questions and determine your dog should be fine, but give you a list of symptoms to look out for. Relieved, you book an appointment to finally get that lumped examined, too.
It can be helpful to have Dr. Google “on call”, if you know how to use him. However, don’t forget you have another expert in your pocket, who knows your pets and cares about them personally… Your veterinarian!
Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.