Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pets and the Internet

There’s a whole world of info available on lots of topics on the Internet, and a huge amount of it involves pets.

Like what? Well, veterinary information, for one thing. My Lexie had a bump on her back. I took her to her vet and had it tested, and fortunately the results were negative for the horribles they looked for. She has an allergy to bee stings, so on vet’s advice I gave her a low dose of Benadryl in case the bump was caused by a bug bite. It went down but didn’t go away, so, worried, I went on line and Googled “dog back lump.” And found a whole bunch of information! It included articles that vets had written that described some of the bad stuff lumps could signify, but that there were also a number of benign reasons. Lexie’s lump is still there but it’s a lot smaller, so I’m starting to worry less.

Then there is that awful pet food scare. I heard it on the news but also checked it out on line. Sure enough, the brands of canned food I buy for my two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were on the long list that I printed out--not necessarily the lot numbers or even the varieties they eat, but it was enough information for me to return the cans I had to my local pet store and find something else to feed them.

The Internet helped there, too--or would have, if I’d chosen to cook for my Cavaliers. There are pet food recipes that are easily accessible, too. I did cook for my first Cavalier, Panda, when he was diagnosed with a heart problem (all too common in Cavaliers). This was before you could buy specialized diets for dogs at a vet’s, so I had to make up a salt-free combo of chicken and rice for him. I cooked up large batches, then packed them into plastic bags and froze them.

I’m also a member of an Internet loop for Cavalier aficionados. As with most loops I’m on, I’m a champion lurker, but I have lots of fun reading as people extol the virtues of this wonderful breed. They answer questions of people who are considering buying a Cavalier but require more info. And, sometimes, others offer information about illnesses or solace on a loss. That part’s not fun, but it is kind.

There is a lot of information about dog breeders on line, too. And about lost dogs. Dogs to rescue, and the organizations who’ve taken them in. It’s hard sometimes to look at those sites and the adorable photos of the poor lost souls who need a new home. I’d love to take them all in--particularly the Cavalier babies. I sent an e-mail recently to the Cavalier rescue organization about a couple of Cavaliers I saw on-line that needed a new home. I was tempted but didn’t think the idea would work well with my pups--and they have to take priority, of course.

I’m on a daily e-mailed newsletter list for dog aficionados. The articles are sometimes interesting, and the purpose of the newsletter is more to sell pet-related items and insurance than simply informing and educating. Even so, I haven’t yet opted out. I’m always interested in hearing more about pet products.

And most especially, the Internet is ideal for researching stuff on some of the pets featured in my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter, mysteries. Of course I always want to meet some of the creatures face-to-face to get my own take on their appearances and personalities. And I talk with some owners for their perspectives, too. But for general background information, I love the Internet. It saves huge amounts of time I otherwise might need to spend in libraries or otherwise.

Finally, what else is there about the Internet that’s related to pets and fun? This blog!



Caryn St.Clair said...

Our dog had a tick up under one of his front legs, and when I pulled it out, the head broke off and was still in the dog. I googled that one as it was a Sunday and I have to say, the results of the google search were pretty frightening. I called the office bright and early Monday morning and was assured that actually, it was not that big of a deal. I should wipe the area with rubbing alcohol and neosporin and keep and eye on it. Of coasre it was fine.
On the fun side, I have not actually done this, but I understand that there is a site where your dog or cat can have "virtual" friends. You as the enabler can post pictures, journal your pet's life, correspond with the friends etc. Me? Not nearly enough time in my day for that, but I know a couple of people that do this regularly.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Glad your tick story had a happy ending. Can't believe everything we read on the Internet, despite its being such a useful source of info. And virtual friends? Sounds like fun but I, too, don't have the time!

Janie Emaus said...

Hi Linda,
About a year ago, my daughter found a breeder on-line, but then after several calls to other breeders she had discovered on-line, she learned that he was not very reputable. The Internet served as great resource for her. I know we can't believe every we read, but it does serve it's purposes.

Great post.