Pet owners encouraged to text a vet, not check the net

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(PRNewswire)—With a new survey revealing people increasingly turn to the internet for pet health guidance, the nation’s largest general veterinary practice teams up with celebrity Jane Lynch to encourage pet owners to ‘Nix the Net, Text a Vet.’

Banfield Pet Hospital® announced its new telehealth service, Vet Chat™, that offers its more than two million Optimum Wellness Plan® clients across the U.S. and Puerto Rico access to one-on-one chat with a veterinarian anytime, anywhere through the Banfield app.

Many pet owners turn to internet instead of vet, survey shows:

A recent Banfield survey shows 71 percent of pet owners turn to the internet instead of their veterinarian. Vet Chat gives Banfield’s wellness plan clients on-demand access to general pet care advice and triage support from a veterinarian.

According to the survey, 75 percent of veterinarians agree that knowing how long to wait before consulting a veterinarian is one of the biggest challenges their clients face. Making matters worse, 90 percent of veterinarians worry pet owners may unknowingly put their pet at more risk by taking bad advice from the internet. Banfield aims to help solve these common dilemmas with Vet Chat.

“At Banfield, we never take for granted that being entrusted with the care of a beloved pet is to be invited into the emotional center of a person’s life,” said Brian Garish, president of Banfield Pet Hospital. “To us, that means not only being with you throughout your pet’s life, from puppyhood through the golden years–– it also means being there during those unexpected, sometimes anxiety-ridden moments between visits.”

Garish added that Vet Chat marks the next chapter in the future of pet care.  “We’re thrilled to offer a service that benefits our clients, their pets, and our veterinary teams,” he said.

Celebrity and pet advocate, Jane Lynch, is helping Banfield raise awareness of the dangers of turning to the internet with pet health issues instead of seeking counsel from a veterinarian.

“As the proud owner of three rescue pups, I am all too familiar with the sounds of a dog vomiting at three in the morning – and the comfort and peace of mind that comes with having a veterinary team I can count on,” said Lynch. “I’m honored to work with Banfield Pet Hospital to launch Vet Chat.”

In addition to concerns about the negative impact taking inaccurate advice from the internet can have on pets, 90 percent of veterinarians also report needing to dedicate more energy and allotted appointment time toward correcting misinformation pet owners gleaned from the internet.

Further, many veterinarians report seeing owners fixate on certain signs and symptoms, omitting critical information (75 percent).

Further, pet owners reported online pet health research typically leaves them feeling anxious (32%), overwhelmed (25%) and fearful (25%).

Some other interesting results from the survey:

•One third of pet owners (35 percent) report losing sleep over their pet’s health,

•Nearly one in five (17 percent) report feeling ill themselves.

•More than half (60 percent) of pet owners even say they are quicker to bring their pets to the veterinarian than to bring themselves to their own doctor.

To sign up for an Optimum Wellness Plan, which includes Vet Chat, pet owners are encouraged to schedule a visit with their local Banfield Pet Hospital. For more information about Banfield and to find a nearby location, visit

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