There are plenty of online resources for dog care and health advice, but many of these dog sites are biased by their desire to profit from sales and recommendations. So, what are some of the reputable sites that dog parents can rely on to provide unbiased and insightful advice on dog health, nutrition and care? There are quite a few, but here are the top most recognizable and vet recommended dog sites that every owner will find helpful or at least interesting to read.
10 Most Reputable Dog Sites
Dog Care, Nutrition and Health Advice
1. Merck Veterinary Manual
Why We Like It: Thorough, Informative, Reliable, Reputable
What We Don’t Like: It can sometimes be hard for the average pet owner to understand the information provided on the site.
Probably the top resource for pet parents and veterinarians looking for information pertinent to the veterinary field, Merck’s website offers a wide range of articles for vet professionals as well as for pet owners and is one of the most reputable dog sites out there. With separate sections of the site designated for each audience, the site covers everything from the latest news in the veterinary community to infographics for pet owners to case studies of perplexing veterinary situations.
Written by veterinary professionals, the information found on Merck’s website is accurate, up to date, science-based and informative. Best of all, it’s not colored by public opinion but rather scientific evidence. If you’re looking for reliable information on how to care for your pup, you’ll find just about everything you need to know that relates to their health here.
2. Whole Dog Journal
Why We Like It: Focus on holistic and natural vet care, Reputable, Informative, Interesting
What We Don’t Like: Although not centered on pushing particular products, there is a bias towards natural medicine only and the site does feature some advertising banners.
Whole Dog Journal is something a little different when it comes to dog sites and pet care because it’s written with a holistic and natural medicine slant. Published by Belvoir Media Group, the Whole Dog Journal has exceptionally well-researched articles that cover many less “traditional” approaches to your dog’s health and behavior.
Using professionals in the veterinary field who have experience with holistic and complementary therapies, Whole Dog Journal gives pet owners the option of exploring alternative treatments for their dog’s illness in a safe and informed way.
3. The Bark
Why We Like It: Focus on recent studies and events, Diverse content, Reputable, Informative, Interesting
What We Don’t Like: There is a push to sell their magazine, however, their magazine is equally as informative and no specific products or approaches to care are being pushed on you. Additionally, there are quite a few banners on their website.
One of the more popular dog magazines among dog lovers, Bark also has an online website as well as a printed magazine, which quickly became one of the most popular dog sites in the last few years. Although the magazine-type format differs from the more database-like approach of other pet care websites, Bark still offers a plethora of helpful information to dog owners.
While Bark magazine began as a newsletter printing venture in someone’s garage, it has since become a resource for well-written and informative articles on canine life, health, behavior, and recreation. Regular columnists of the magazine include canine nutritionists, scientific researchers, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians, all of whom tackle recent and trending issues in the dog-owner community.
Not as complete of a resource for encyclopedia-type research, Bark is a great resource for staying on top of current events, recent veterinary breakthroughs, and to learn how to truly bond with your dog. Among all the dog sites, they often have some of the most interestingly written articles that are worth reading in your spare time.
Why We Like It: A broad range of topics covered and plenty of interesting (and sometimes funny) “uh oh, what do I do now?” articles
What We Don’t Like: There is a push to sell their magazine; however, their magazine is equally as informative and no specific products or approaches to care are being pushed on you. Additionally, there are quite a few banners on their website.
Another similar one among dog sites that stems from a published magazine, Dogster is a comprehensive and eclectic collection of news articles and answers to “what do I do if…” questions for pet owners. Among article topics covered on the site are dog breed origins, tips for tackling behavioral problems, understanding proper vet care, and answers to all of those dog-related questions you have asked at some point in your life – why does dog pee kill your grass?
Peppered with lighthearted articles and top ten product lists, Dogster isn’t your more traditional dog health care site like the evidence-based resource Merck Vet Manual, but it does have plenty of hidden gems for the curious dog owner. It's one of the best dog sites for owners looking to generally familiarize themselves with dog related topics.
5. Modern Dog Magazine
Why We Like It: Diverse topics, Many great training tips, Current event headlines
What We Don’t Like: There is a push to sell their magazine, but their magazine is equally as informative and no specific products or approaches to care are being pushed on you. Additionally, there are quite a few banners on their website.
Modern Dog Magazine is another website/magazine combination that’s worth checking out if you’re interested in information pertaining to your dog’s lifestyle. Filled with vet tips and training tips, this site also covers book recommendations, art, travel, events, recipes, and…well, just about everything you could ever be looking for when it comes to caring for your pup.
With a more informal approach, Modern Dog Magazine’s website provides professionally researched content that is easy to read as well as a number of “filler” articles seen on other dog sites that offer less value to the truly serious researcher. That said, we love the sheer volume of information available from Modern Dog Magazine and while it’s not your veterinary journal type of site, it does hold valuable information that dog owners can actually understand.
Why We Like It: Plentiful helpful resources, A large number of useful pet care tips, Some recent statistical data unavailable anywhere else
What We Don’t Like: I can’t say that we dislike the many banners asking for donations, but you should be aware that there are quite a few, but that's about it.
The ASPCA is a site that falls somewhere in the middle of the road when it comes to the amount of information it offers, namely because much of their content refers to other sites. That said, they do have a wealth of resources that are worth bookmarking and following through if you are looking for specific answers to your questions. They also often published data that other dog sites do not have access to.
The ASPCA website focuses more on pet safety and healthcare information with less specific health condition data, but they are a great comprehensive resource for new and inexperienced dog owners as a starting point for their “dog education”.
7. DogWatch Newsletter from Cornell University
Why We Like It: Produced by one of the most prestigious veterinary colleges, Filled with current events, Reputable, Informative, Affordable
What We Don’t Like: This is less of a full site and more of a webzine/newsletter format that you must pay to receive.
The Dog Watch Newsletter is a short publication that is made available on the web directly from Cornell University professionals. Unlike above mentioned dog sites, there are a number of drawbacks to this publication – you have to pay for it, it’s quite short, and you only have access to specific topics that have been chosen by the authors, but it’s still a reputable resource to add to your bookmarks.
Focused on covering the most up to date news in the veterinary field, Dog Watch comes from one of the world’s most prestigious veterinary colleges. It is ideal for dog-parents who feel the need to stay up to date on current research and events in veterinary medicine. Not only does the newsletter cover recent goings on, but it also features a number of contacts and resources that pet parents may find helpful when seeking condition-specific information.
8. WebMD for Pets
Why We Like It: Reputable, Comprehensive, Community chat board feature, Symptom checker feature
What We Don’t Like: The website does have some banners which can be annoying, Some topics are only glossed over, Many articles are published with permission from other resources.
Web MD for Pets isn’t our top choice when it comes to reputable dog sites for information on dog health, but it still makes the list. Why? Because it covers just about everything you can think to look up pertaining to your dog’s health. What we don’t like is that the information that they do provide is usually presented as a summary with important points glossed over. That said, we still recommend Web MD for Pets as a starting point when researching information on pet health and care.
Used as a stepping stone, Web MD for Pets can help you to narrow down your research focus and point you in the direction of more specific resources with targeted information that can be of more use to you.
9. VCA Hospitals
Why We Like It: Veterinarian run and written, Covers information on alternative treatments, Excellent graphics, and tutorials to help pet owners more efficiently.
What We Don’t Like: Website can be hard to navigate, Self-promotion of VCA veterinary hospitals.
Published by a veterinary chain, the VCA Hospital website articles cover just about everything you could want to know about your dog’s health. Not only does it touch on traditional treatments for health concerns, but it also provides information on less traditional treatment options too and the team has a strong focus on evidence-based content.
Whether you’re looking for basic puppy raising tips, for information on specific health conditions, or methods to tackle problem behavior, VCA’s website has hundreds of professionally authored articles for you to reference. Among the dog sites mentioned here, this is one of the best and falls somewhere between Merck's and other sites whereas they provide accurate information that's a little dry but much more readable.
Why We Like It: Comprehensive list of questions and answers as well as topics that most new dog owners need to know, Vet authored and vet approved content.
What We Don’t Like: Topics covered are often covered in shallow articles that lack depth many pet owners look for when trying to understand a health condition. The website also has quite a few banners.
PetMD is the last on our list of reputable dog sites because it’s simply not comprehensive enough in terms of the information it offers to pet owners. Although you will find basic information on caring for your dog from veterinary approaches to behavioral training, the information you find will more than likely not answer all of your questions. Again, this makes PetMD a great stepping stone for new dog parents who are looking for general information, but you’ll have to follow through additional site links if you’re looking for specialized or detailed tips.
We do like that PetMD offers a full range of article topics including current news articles, but we also found that their site is quite often bogged down with advertisement banners and social media type articles. If you’re looking for pure data and evidence driven information, we’d give this one a miss and go with dog sites like Merck Vet Manual instead. If you’re looking for an easy to understand place to begin or a 50/50 mix of time wasting articles and informative pieces, then PetMD might be the right place for you.