Keeping Our Pets Happy And Healthy: Where To Find Good Pet Health Information

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show

There is a lot of information out there about pet health. Larry Meiller finds out where to find good resources and how to judge the accuracy of others.

Featured in this Show

  • Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Pet Health

    Anyone who has ever researched a health problem knows that there is a lot of information to sift through out there — a lot of which ends up being misinformation. According to one veterinary expert, the same is true for pet health.

    Dr. Sandi Sawchuk, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, recently encountered misinformation on pet health when shopping for a chew toy for her bulldog puppy, Pete. Sawchuk said that she spoke with a salesperson at the pet store that she visited, and was shocked by the advice that she was given.

    She was told that antlers are safe as chew toys, when in fact, antlers are more durable than dog teeth and chewing them habitually can cause dental problems. In addition, she was told that leaving a crated puppy with rawhide is fine when in fact it could be a choking hazard for dogs.

    “It was just a real eye-opener that anybody that was going in there would be potentially taking advice from someone who doesn’t really know what they’re talking about,” said Sawchuk.

    Bad advice from a pet store employee, however, pales in comparison to the amount of potentially dangerous information that can be found the Internet.

    As a starting point for determining if a site has reliable information, Sawchuk said to check if there’s an on-staff veterinarian listed. She also said to be careful about using information from animal nutrition websites, which she has often found to have bad information. She said that the only such websites she would endorse are those associated with American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.

    “Ninety-nine percent of what’s out there I just can’t trust,” said Sawchuk.

    For general pet health information, Sawchuk said that veterinary school websites often have many educational materials meant for pet owners. One of her favorite sites, she said, is that of her alma mater, the Ontario Veterinary College in the University of Guelph. She said that its blog, Worms & Germs, covers many veterinary topics, including new developments that people may be wondering about.

    Sawchuk also advised using the American Veterinary Medical Association website, as well as that of the American Animal Hospital Association. She added that the site of the Veterinary Information Network is geared toward veterinarians and other pet health professionals, but is a great resource for pet owners, too.

    When in doubt, Sawchuk emphasized that “the first place to go is your veterinarian. They know your pet best. Don’t rely on neighbors, or pet store employees.”

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Dr Sandra Sawchuk Guest

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