Article Text

other Versions

PDF
UK pet owners’ use of the internet for online pet health information
  1. Lori Kogan1,
  2. James A Oxley2,
  3. Peter Hellyer1,
  4. Regina Schoenfeld3 and
  5. Mark Rishniw4
  1. 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  2. 2Independent Researcher, Swadlincote, UK
  3. 3Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4Veterinary Information Network, Davis, California, USA
  1. E-mail for correspondence; Lori.Kogan{at}ColoState.edu

Abstract

The internet has been found to be a popular source for human health information. However, there is a lack of information on pet owners’ use of the internet to source pet health information and implications for the owner–veterinarian relationship. Therefore, the aim of this study was to address this gap in knowledge by focusing on UK pet owners’ general use of the internet to find online pet health information and the impact of this behaviour on the owner–veterinarian relationship. An online survey targeting UK pet owners resulted in 571 respondents. Respondents reported the most frequently used source for pet health information was the internet (78.6 per cent), followed by their veterinarian (72 per cent). Veterinarians and other pet owners, however, were rated as the most trustworthy sources. The topics searched for most often online were specific medical problems (61.3 per cent) and diet/nutrition (58.5 per cent). Regarding the owner–veterinarian relationship, 42.1 per cent of participants reported discussing information they found online ‘sometimes’ with their veterinarian. When asked if their veterinarian recommended specific websites, nearly half (49.6 per cent) stated that their veterinarian ‘never’ made such recommendations, yet over 90 per cent said they would visit veterinarian-recommended websites.

  • health
  • pets
  • human-animal interactions
  • internet

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.