Trone Research and Consulting
Category: Pet

Is “Dr. Google” Replacing the Veterinarian?

Many veterinarians have expressed concern about pet owners using the internet to seek advice about pet healthcare rather than visiting a veterinarian for an examination of their pet by a professional.

Veterinarians fear that pet owners may even reduce their visits to the clinic due to the abundance of information readily available online.

These concerns are understandable. But need veterinarians fret?

A study conducted by Trone Research + Consulting discovered that pet owners trust their veterinarians’ information on caring for their pets’ health more than any other channel and by a wide margin at that. 81% of pet owners highly trust their veterinarians compared to 47% who highly trust their family and friends (which was the second most trusted source of information). How did online information sources fare? Veterinarians will be relieved to see that only 31% of pet owners highly trust online information sources. In other words, pet owners were 2.6 times more likely to trust their veterinarians for information on caring for their pets’ health than “Dr. Google!”

Additionally, pet owners indicated that they consult their veterinarians or veterinary staff nearly twice as often as online sources when seeking information about caring for their pets’ health. 45% of pet owners very frequently consult their veterinarians or veterinary staff compared to 25% who most often turn to online sources.

81%
Pet owners trust their veterinarians
45%
Pet owners very frequently consult their veterinarians

Another study conducted by Trone Research + Consulting found a surprising related trend.

Pet owners who rank in the top 25% in frequency of consulting the internet on an array of seven different pet topics also visit their veterinarians more often. 57% of them visit their veterinarians at least twice per year compared to 46% of other pet owners.

The good news is this: veterinarians need not fear “Dr. Google.” Not only do pet owners trust and utilize their veterinarians more than “Dr. Google,” the pet owners who most often consult the internet are actually the most engaged with their real-life veterinarians!

Rather than resist their clientele’s use of “Dr. Google,” veterinarians would be well-advised to embrace the information super highway. Other research from Trone Research + Consulting has indicated that pet owners highly value transparency from their veterinarians. This transparency with their clientele develops more loyal and trusted relationships, which can even garner the sales of additional services. Veterinarians who aren’t reticent to discuss, consult about and supplement the information their clients are finding online will reap the benefits of stronger, longer lasting client relationships.

For more pet health insights, contact Kimberly Ness at kness@troneresearch.com or 336-819-6933.

Scott Layne

Scott Layne

President

Scott is a senior research practitioner with more than 25 years of experience with Top 50 market research firms such as Bellomy Research and M/A/R/C Research.

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He is a poised and respected industry leader with a proven track record of solving business problems for Fortune 500 companies. Scott’s extensive research experience spans consumer products and services in B2C and B2B industries, including telecom, utility, CPG, automotive, financial services, travel and leisure, retail, textile/apparel and pharmaceutical.

Our one lab advantage means one team, one call, one lab for all your testing needs, making it convenient for both you and your patients.

Kimberly Ness

SVP, Insights & Marketing

With 25+ years of experience across research, branding and marketing, Kimberly has the unique ability to transform complicated data into a simple strategic plan that achieves results.

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She has led marketing efforts for global and national brands and has a specialty in animal health, working with brands like Zoetis, Boeringer Ingelheim and Mars Petcare. She is known as an industry thought leader and has been a featured speaker at Global Pet Expo, AAHA, CBI, Brakke Consulting and Fetch, a dvm360 conference.

Tom Minsel

Tom Minsel

PhD, Head of Research & Data Science

Tom is our PhD Statistician and master data miner with 25+ years in direct marketing, customer targeting, modeling and research design.

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His areas of expertise include statistics, applied and theoretical measurement, psychological research, survey research, summative and formative evaluation, SAS, sampling, trend analysis and generally all things analytics. Tom oversees more than 65 comprehensive studies each year to help clients better understand their customers.