We get it. You love your little Fido(s) more than anything. But when it comes down to it, it can be hard to be proactive in providing your pup the health care they need. Particularly when health care for your dogs is stacked up next errands for your kids, for work, or yourself.
While there’s no real substitute for taking your dog in for an annual check up (or to get vaccinations) at a vet’s office, there are a wide range of internet-enabled services that can help take care of your dog.
Below we’ll jump into a few of the most popular internet-based tools or services for your dog. If you’re looking to jump right into some of the best products out there, be sure to check out our ranking of the best online vet services.
There are a few major categories of online pet-related tools. Some of the most popular include:
- Home Monitoring/Video Feed Services to Check On Your Pets
- Automated Toys to Play With or Feed Your Pet (for when you’re not there)
- Online Marketplaces for Pet Products
- And Online Vet Services
Let’s start from the top by looking at home monitoring services for your pets. These products can come in a number of forms. The simplest of these products are essentially web cams you can check on remotely through your phone. Mount them in areas your pet frequents to be able to check in on them throughout the work day.
Beyond that, there are some more dog-tailored tools such as the Furbo Dog Camera. This product, along with a few competitors offers a range of features including:
- A Bark Detector That Turns on the Camera
- A Mic and Speaker So You Can Communicate With Your Dog
- An App-Enabled Treat Dispenser
- And an App to Get Notifications of Your Dog’s Behavior While You’re Away
If that’s not quite your style, there are other toys that can stimulate your dog while you’re away. The iFetch Frenzy is one such toy that allows your dog (once it’s learned how to do so) to drop a ball in the top of the device. After waiting a few seconds — and letting the anticipation mount — the ball will randomly drop out of one of three holes in the base allowing for unpredictable fun for your dog (whether you’re there or not).
Our third category of internet-enabled health tools for your dog include the wide range of pet product marketplaces. Many of these marketplaces offer a wider selection of dog toys than even specialty shops in person. Additionally most top-notch online pet marketplaces have 24/7 access to product experts who can help you choose what to purchase your pet, as well as pet pharmacies to fill heartworm, flea and tick medicine, among other things.
Finally, one of the most useful and money-saving ways you can care for your dog’s health online is through online vet services. Online vet services can save a ton of time and money for a wide range of animal ailments and behavioral issues. Many vet services are available around the clock. And while some services can offer more in-depth check ups of your dog, they’re a great option for people looking to ask a few quick questions or get a common dog ailment diagnosed.
Most online vet services are more affordable than heading to an in-person meet up with a vet. And all of the major online vet services accept pet insurance.
Some of the most common issues an “e-vet” can help you resolve include:
- Discerning whether your pet has an ailment that’s easily remedied or is in need of visiting an emergency vet
- Help with stomach problems
- Help with skin problems
- Performing paperwork for travelling
- Refilling routine prescriptions
- Helping answer common behavioral issues
- Helping you to discern which breed of dog you would like to get
- Among many other situations
Wondering what this process looks like?
For most online veterinary services the “entry-level” service either involves signing up for a forum or chat room in which you can ask initial questions, and then downloading an app or logging into a portal online where you can manage your pet’s profile, talk with your vet, and submit payment information.
Additional features of online vet platforms include:
- House-call service requests (for some providers)
- The ability to pick up a pet prescription or have it mailed to you after your appointment
- The ability to do some medical diagnostics at home
- 24/7 access to emergency or urgent online vet care
- Access to forums where less time-sensitive questions can be asked
- Chat rooms in which you can ask a vet or vet tech unlimited questions during business hours
- Subscription-based routine medicine delivery
- Among other things
If you’re trying to discern the best online veterinary or pet health service for you, be sure to check out OnlineDoctor’s ranking of the best online veterinary services today!