The Internet and health information: differences in pet owners based on age, gender, and education

J Med Libr Assoc. 2012 Jul;100(3):197-204. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.100.3.010.


Objective: The research assessed the attitudes and behaviors of pet owners pertaining to online search behavior for pet health information.

Methods: A survey was conducted with a random sample of pet owners drawn from two US metropolitan areas and surrounding cities. Participating clinics were chosen randomly, and each participating clinic was asked to distribute 100 surveys to their clients until all surveys were disbursed.

Results: Although some perceptions and behaviors surrounding the use of the Internet for pet health information differ based on gender, age, or education level of pet owners, there are many aspects in which there are no differences based on these demographics.

Conclusions: Results of the study suggest that closer examination of the common perception that gender, age, or education level has an effect on Internet behavior as it relates to veterinary medicine is required. Recommendations are made pertaining to the growing presence of the Internet and its impact on veterinary medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Animal Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Animals
  • Community Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Marketing
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States