Online Pet Pharmacies – What Are They?
In today’s day and age, it feels like everything is available online, and that even includes your pet’s prescriptions through both your vet and online pet pharmacies. That means something you used to get from your veterinarian right in their office is now able to be purchased online from a variety of retailers. Some of those retailers specialize in pet prescriptions, while others are big box retailers such as Chewy.com that also offer prescriptions online. But is this a good or bad thing? It can be confusing, so we’re here to help.
Are They Good or Bad?
Traditionally, when you bring your dog, cat, or other pet to the veterinarian, if they need medicine it is prescribed and fulfilled right there in the office. As that’s changed due to the surge in online retailers there are a lot of new companies offering to fill your pet’s prescription online. Prescriptions shipped right to your door without needing to leave the house? What’s not to love?
A lot, actually. And we want to make sure before you choose where and how you fill your pet’s subscription that you have all the information you need to ensure the medicine you get for your pet is correct, in the accurate dosage, and current and safe (not expired or worse – incorrect or fake pills!).
When you order your pet’s medicines from your veterinarian directly, it is someone in that office on staff that is reviewing your order. They have your pet’s full medical history on hand, as well as any issues or allergies from prior medications and anything else that may be critical to your pet’s health. When the prescription is filled – either directly in the office or in the case of pets that are on regular medicine that may need to be refilled, it may be filled through a service that your vet’s office partners with. It can be easy to confuse this service with the other big box retailers and online pet pharmacies such as 1-800-PET-MEDS but you should be aware there are a few big differences.
Again, when it comes to prescriptions from your veterinarian’s office and / or service, all of your pet’s medical history is easily accessible and checked to ensure there are no issues with the prescribed medicine and any known past allergies or concerns with your animal. When ordering from an online pharmacy or retailer, they do not have access to anything other than your prescription and this certainly can prove problematic.
Are Online Pet Pharmacies Safe?
This is another great question. While we can’t speak to other businesses, we can assure you that anything order through our pharmacy whether in person at the office or through our online service, is safe, current (not expired), and will be exactly what your pet was prescribed. If there are any issues or concerns, someone from our office will call you. Of course if you have any questions, you can always call us and since all of the information about your pet, including their current prescription and any past prescriptions, is in our system, we can always help!
With external pharmacies, there are a few risks that simply don’t exist when you go through your vet’s practice. These can include old or expired medicine if the company doesn’t sell enough of what you need – you can’t always be sure if it’s fresh, or has been sitting for a while. This risk is even higher if your pet is on medicine that is less common, and the impact of your pet taking expired medication truly varies by what the medicine is. Other risk include counterfeit medicines (yes, that really has happened!) and being unable to verify from a veterinarian that the medicine in the bottle is, indeed what your pet has been prescribed.
Why take the risk? When you order through your veterinarian, it’s more than just being safe, it’s all about peace of mind. And if you have questions, you can always contact us at the office and we are here to help!