I think I’ve mentioned before that my sister, Colleen, refers to me as the “FKIA,” which I figure stands for “Famous Know It All.” A few days ago she said to me, “Ash, do you ever consider what other people think about what it takes to have a healthy, well-behaved dog, or do you just figure you know everything?”
I have to admit that I thought about that for a bit. I try to be reasonable and consider other people’s points of view, even when one of those other people is my sister (who does not treat me with the respect I deserve).
I suppose that I do think I know a lot, but I’m always trying to learn more, and when I’m proven wrong (which hardly ever happens, and when it does, it’s usually someone else’s fault – kidding!) I’m not afraid to admit it.
So, I humbly admit that I really don’t know everything, and when I’m curious about matters dog-related, I often refer to other websites. Some are helpful; others not so much. Some things I reject out of hand, because we all know that the Internet is full of misinformation. But I thought that this time around, I might share with you some of the websites that I find very helpful when looking for information about dogs. I’m presenting them in no particular order, because they’re all useful in one way or another.
It’s often hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to online research, because there are a lot of sites out there, but these are the ten websites that I go back to again and again for information about caring for dogs, to learn about different breeds, to find training tips, and more.
As you would probably expect, the ASPC website offers a wealth of information on preventing cruelty and rescuing dogs, but there’s more on the site – there’s also a wealth of information about caring for your dog. You can learn a lot about nutrition, health, behavior issues, and grooming techniques on the ASPCA site. It also offers helpful tips on how to keep your dog safe from common toxins in your home, and what to do if your dog should happen to ingest a toxic substance.
The site also has a daily blog, and sometimes even multiple posts in any given day, and readers can comment on the posts and share them. You can also sign up to receive the ASPCA newsletter, and you can follow links to their Facebook page and YouTube channel. And if you want to do something to help dogs in general, you can visit the online store, where you can buy books, clothes, jewelry and other items related to dogs. The funds from anything that you buy are used to help dogs and other animals that are in need.
Dogster offers a home page in an easy-to-read magazine format. It’s very colorful, and features a number of photos and links to articles. The tabs at the top of the page will direct you to various topics including photo galleries, a Q&A section, and also a section that features dogs available for adoption. You can also participate in forums, and even create a diary of your dog’s life. The only thing I can find to complain about when it comes to this site is that there are a lot of ads, but given the considerable amount of useful information, I’m inclined to overlook the commercialism.Dogster is also a presence on Facebook and YouTube, although you might find the YouTube videos a bit dated.
As you could probably deduce from the name, Vetstreet is operated by veterinarians as well as other people who love dogs. There are also links on the site to other pets, including cats, so if you have a multi-species household, you’ll have easy access to information about your other animal friends as well. Topics covered on the site include health, care, and training, and there are also links to articles by America’s Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker.
One of the best features on this site is the ability to search for veterinarians in any given area by simply entering a zip code. The site is also interactive, so people can share posts and comment on them. Also, unlike many dog sites, this one is updated regularly. Vetstreet also has a Facebook and YouTube presence, and the training videos are quite useful.
I’d have to say that this site isn’t anything to write home about when it comes to visuals – it kind of looks like it was created by someone’s kid who’s just learning their way around web design, but just the same, it does contain a number of useful articles. If you have pets other than dogs, you’ll also appreciate the sections that relate to birds and small mammals.
WebVet is more directed toward veterinarians than it is to the general public, but I think you’ll still find useful information on this site. If you’re concerned about health problems as they relate to specific breeds, then this is a good source of information. You can also download a variety of different PDF files that relate to pet health, and one really good feature is the “symptoms” link. All you need to do is type in a symptom that your dog is displaying, and you’ll be presented with a list of articles that relate to that symptom.
Keep in mind, though, that you should never base your dog’s veterinary treatment on anything that you find on a website – any website, no matter how credible and no matter who the authors might be. The information could be good and valuable, or it might be useless, depending on your search criteria. Any serious condition should always be checked out by a veterinarian.
I might also mention that even though I refer to WebVet regularly, I can’t even remember the last time it was updated. So, although it does contain a lot of good information, WebVet cannot be counted on to be current.
Most of the information on the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) website is directed toward veterinarians, but you’ll also find a fair bit that’s geared toward the general public. And if even you’re anything like me, and you’ve learned a lot over the years and handle a lot issues at home, you’ll still find a wealth of information on this site. From this site I’ve learned a lot about first aid – how to treat fractures, poisoning, seizures, choking, heatstroke, burns and even lack of a heartbeat or breathing, to name just a few things. In that regard, this is an incredibly useful site, but only if you refer to it before an emergency happens. If your dog is in serious distress and you’re scrabbling around online looking for solutions, the reality is that your dog is probably going to die before you find the information you need. Ideally, print the relevant pages off and keep them somewhere safe so that you can always know what to do in an emergency.
This site also offers links to other sources that offer tips on medications ad vaccinations, and pet care in unusual circumstances.
6. The Whole Dog Journal
Although I find that sometimes this site focuses more on holistic care than I’d like (I’m a big believer in conventional veterinary medicine), I still highly recommend it for suggestions on care and feeding. You have to subscribe to get most of the Whole Dog Journal articles, but they still offer a lot on their site that is available without a subscription, and their back issues are on archive, dating all the way back to 2015.
7. Dog Breed Info Center
This site focuses on virtually every breed of dog you could imagine and tells you all about the perils and pitfalls of adopting certain breeds. It is also heavy on information about training and breeding. If you’re curious about a certain breed or considering breeding your dog, then you’ll find all the information you need on this website.
PawedIn is probably the only dog-related site, other than the ASPCA site and my own, where you’ll find new posts practically every day, and you wouldn’t believe the range of topics they cover – breeds, training, how dogs relate to other animals, and just pure fun stories about dog behavior. You’ll be able to spend hours on this site if you want to, and it will be time well spent.
GreatPets is the brainchild of dog trainer Brian Kilcommons, and on this site you’ll find solutions to training issues that you’ve been wrestling with, and some that you may not even have realized you have. Brian has been training dogs for over 40 years, and in addition to maintaining an online presence, has written several books on the topic. He takes a “positive reinforcement” approach to training, and his methods deliver outstanding results.
CesarsWay is the website of “dog whisperer” and media superstar Cesar Millan. I refer to him often in my blogs, and in fact wrote an entire post about Cesar and his methods, titled Is Cesar Millan a Fraud?, which garnered a number of comments. Many were from people who consider some of Cesar Millan’s methods to be borderline, or even outright, abusive. The thing most people seem to object to is his use of the alpha roll, which I have always maintained should not be the first course of action when dealing with behavioral problems. However, I do believe that it is sometimes the necessary course of action.
So, in regards to the alpha roll, I can’t really criticize Cesar Millan all that much. Maybe he over-uses it a bit, but it’s just one tool out of many in his approach to training. What can’t be disputed is that Cesar has an amazing way with dogs. I often go to his website when I’m pondering issues regarding behavior and training, and I find that he and his team of fellow bloggers offer valuable insights into the mindset of our canine friends.
And Now a Bonus – Me!
All of these websites offer a great deal of information for anyone who loves dogs, and I always enjoy visiting them. Of course I have my favorites among my favorites, and those are the ones that I bookmark. And now for a shameless plug – I hope you enjoy visiting my site, https://simplyfordogs.com/, enough to want to add it to your list of favorites.
Dogs are my passion, and I blog every day about topics that run the gamut from training to feeding to different dog breeds to breed specific legislation and more. I love sharing my thoughts on dogs with you, andI also love telling stories about my Boxers, Janice and Leroy, as well as my other human and canine friends. In my blog, I talk a lot about my adventures down at the dog park, my dog-loving friends and my life in general. I like to think that it’s interesting. So I hope you’ll come back to my site, enjoy what’s on offer, and maybe even leave a comment or two. Also, if you have any suggestions on how to improve the site, or you’d like to suggest a topic for future posts, I’d love to hear from you.
The Final Word
The great thing about dog-related websites is that they almost always lead to other useful sites, so it’s easy to get a lot of information about all things dog. Keep in mind, though, that the information you find may not always be accurate, so it’s a good idea to investigate several sites before settling on a training method, diet or course of action that might actually be harmful to your dog. And of course, don’t use information that you find on the Internet as a substitute for proper veterinary care. After all, you love your dog and only want what’s best for him.