Despite questionable and incorrect pet health information found online, over 70% of pet owners use Dr. Google when they have pet health questions or concerns, and veterinary clinics are closed. Given some horror stories that have resulted from pet owners following Dr. Google, one veterinarian understandably said in a 2021 PLOS One study, “Google, it’s ruining our lives.” The good news for veterinary practices offering after-hours telephone triage services like PetNurse as a safer, better alternative for their clients’ after-hours pet health concerns: New 2021 research by PMG Intelligence shows that pet owners are open to using after-hours telephone triage support services based on certain factors that Dr. Google does not inherently provide:



Though pet owners use Dr. Google for its convenience, the 2021 PLOS One study conveyed, “the majority of [veterinary clients] understood that information found on the internet may not always be reputable.” Pet owners in the PMG survey overwhelmingly preferred to speak with veterinarians, veterinary nurses, and veterinary technicians about after-hours pet health concerns.

PMG’s findings reflect a continued trend in veterinary trust:

  • In 2015, a national opinion poll co-commissioned by Vet Futures found that 94% of the general public trusts the veterinary profession.
  • In 2018, a ResearchGate study found that veterinarians were viewed by pet owners as the most trustworthy source of pet health information.

Phone Access


Almost no pet owners in the PMG survey were interested in chatbots, AI-driven online chats, or other forms of robo-conversation about pet health. When facing an urgent or non-urgent pet health situation, pet owners wanted the immediacy and reassurance of speaking with a real live veterinary professional by phone and were open to consultations through video chat.

So, why have pet owners been slow to adopt after-hours telephone triage support like PetNurse when they’re open to such services and indeed want the very features they offer?

Pet Parents Are Largely Unaware of Telephone Teletriage Services


While interest in after-hours telephone triage services was high with pet owners in the U.S. and Canada, awareness of such services was low.

  • In Canada, 75
  • In the U.S., 70% were unaware of the same.

However, pet owners have important and even critical pet health concerns outside of regular practice hours of operation. When practices are closed, there are few options between the unreliability of Dr. Google and the costly inconvenience of visiting an emergency animal hospital.

PetNurse Solves This Problem


Working as an extension of your clinic, PetNurse provides live after-hours telephone triage support for your clients so staff can enjoy better work-life balance and your clients get timely assessments of their pet’s health while remaining bonded to your practice.

  • For urgent calls, patients are referred to your practice’s affiliated emergency hospital or to your on-call emergency veterinarian. Benefit: You stay connected to the pet, and follow-up is done at your clinic.
  • For non-urgent calls, patient appointments are scheduled during normal clinic hours. Benefit: You stay connected to the pet, and pet owners save the cost of an emergency visit.

Calls are handled by Registered Veterinary Nurses (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) with three years minimum of practical experience, and case notes, triage outcomes, and appointment requests are emailed to your clinic after every pet health call.

PetNurse has helped eliminate unnecessary after-hours trips to the ER for our clients, allowing our staff to treat these patients during our regular hours. Our clients have expressed much gratitude in having this service available!

Stephanie Coats, Digital Office Coordinator, Harmony Veterinary Center

In Summary


  • Pet owners understand the risks of Dr. Google and are open to after-hours telephone triage services like PetNurse to stay connected to your clinic, which they know and trust.
  • Veterinary teams equally understand the risks of Dr. Google, just as they understand the importance of patient care and work-life balance.
  • PetNurse delivers after-hours peace of mind for pet owners, improves work-life balance for clinic teams, and consistency of care for patients. There are no setup fees. You use your existing practice phone number, and to ensure your clients know about PetNurse, you receive free marketing communications for launch.

If this all fits your practice, let’s chat.

Request your free PetNurse consultation