There are almost as many ways of buying vital medications for your pet as there are for your own prescription needs. It’s often possible to buy them directly from your veterinarian on your way out of an appointment, or you can have them called into a regular, human-oriented pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens.
But did you know you can also order your pet’s prescription medicine online, from the comfort of your couch? Many sites now allow pet owners to upload a copy of a prescription, while others will call your vet’s office directly once you place an order. It’s one of the most convenient (and often affordable) ways of getting the medication your best friend needs—and we’ve rounded up some of the most popular sites here.
Chewy is known for its incredible range of pet foods and beyond, and its online pharmacy is equally stellar. In addition to dogs and cats, the site also services owners of birds, reptiles, and even horses, and has a spectrum of medications treating everything from arthritis to allergies to thyroid conditions. You can filter by product form in addition to brand, which is helpful if your pet is more inclined to accept a soft chew or liquid suspension than a standard capsule. The site also allows owners to search by health condition (like asthma or bladder stones), which is often easier than trying to remember the name of a specific medication offhand. Once you’re on a product page, you can quickly select the correct strength and quantity to match what’s on your pet’s prescription.
Chewy will collect your pet’s prescription information before shipping, and offers generic options for many medications—often with substantial savings. An option to autoship deliveries simplifies the refill process, and it’s often possible to get free shipping for orders over $49. For new Chewy buyers, the site also offers a 30 percent discount on your first autoship order.
Petco is already a trusted brand for pet owners looking to purchase food, toys, and equipment. But it’s also a great resource for ordering prescription medicine online. Just navigate over to the pharmacy tab at the top of the screen and choose whether you’re buying for a dog or cat (they don’t currently provide medication for birds, fish, or other animals). From there, you can navigate different categories of medication, such as allergy relief, anxiety, and ear and eye care. The site also gives you the option of filtering by the brand of medication, price range, and whether it’s available for repeat delivery.
Petco’s price match guarantee makes it a particularly affordable place to purchase pet meds, and often runs deals providing a discount on orders above a certain threshold. Its one-click refill system also makes replenishing your supply a breeze. But for all orders, just make sure you have an active prescription from within the last 12 months.
1-800-PetMeds is one of the best-known online pet pharmacies, and their reputation is well deserved. The site offers prescription medication for dogs, cats, and horses, is easy to navigate, and has one of the widest-ranging selections around. At a glance, you can navigate through pain medications, diabetes care, and more, with most categories including dozens of medication options. When available, the site automatically compares the cost of the generic version with the name-brand, so you won’t miss an opportunity to save. While the site’s interface isn’t quite as user-friendly as its competitors (with some repetition between categories), features like this set it apart. Additionally, the site offers free shipping for orders over $49 and will price-match any of its products.
Like all pharmacies, 1-800-PetMeds requires an active prescription and will ask you to provide your vet’s contact information. Alternately, you can send a copy of your prescription to a mailing address. The site also offers a 100 percent product guarantee, and will provide a full refund if your pet doesn't like it, the medication doesn't work, or you simply changed your mind.
Walmart Pet Rx
Walmart may be one of the country’s leading retailers, but did you know they’re also a great place to order your pet’s prescription meds online? Walmart Pet RX, the brand’s online pet pharmacy, is an easy, convenient, and affordable resource for owners of dogs, cats, horses, and more—even livestock and farm animals. The site makes it simple to filter by brand, category, and condition. You can also specify the form of the medication, such as capsule, liquid, or injectable, and even check a box if your dog is on a special diet at the same time medication is being administered. There’s an option for rapid reordering, making refills a breeze, and both generics and name-brands are available.
Helpfully, many of the medications have extensive descriptions with proper usage, special precautions, and active ingredients listed right on the product page. Walmart Pet RX also offers free two-day shipping for orders over $35 and has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Its autoship feature offers further savings, with an additional 5 percent off the regular price. For all orders, Walmart Pet RX will contact your vet’s office for prescription confirmation.
Another online animal pharmacy, PetCareRx is a great source of prescription medications for dogs and cats. A convenient “pharmacy” button makes it simple to separate prescription medications from over-the-counter products, so you can spend less time scanning the page, and the site separates all medicines into categories like antibiotics, bladder control, and so on. Both name brands and generics are available for purchase, and the site’s PetPlus membership program provides wholesale prices on prescription medicine at a cost of $65 per year. PetCareRx also offers a variety of vet-prescribed foods, which are also discounted for PetPlus members.
Like other online pharmacies, PetCareRx will confirm your prescription by contacting your vet after an order is placed (you can also mail in a copy). We’re particular fans of the site’s well-researched advice section, which provides detailed guides for how to best use a variety of dog and cat medications. The site also regularly runs sales and offers free shipping on orders over $48.
Another great resource for dog and cat owners, VetRxDirect offers a wide supply of prescription medications, as well as vet-prescribed foods and flea, tick, and heartworm treatments. The site’s medication pages separate by sub-category, and you can quickly see the number of options available for each family of medicines. While the layout could be a bit more user-friendly, there’s a substantial selection for most types of medication, and it’s easy to find your prescribed medicine with a quick search. You can also quickly toggle between different dosages, so it’s simple to match exactly what’s on your vet’s prescription. We also like the Q&A feature on product pages, which answers user-provided questions pertaining to many prescription medications. They’re highly thorough—if you’re wondering if a particular pill is scored so it can be easily split in half, you’ll likely find your answer before ordering.
VetRxDirect offers free shipping on orders over $49 and runs seasonal sales offering additional discounts. The site will fax a prescription request form to your vet’s office after an order has been placed, but no additional action is needed for refills if a valid prescription has already been received.
What to Look for When Buying Pet Medication Online
Only buy from reputable online pet pharmacies that follow all FDA rules and regulations for dispending pet medications. Legitimate pharmacies will always require a prescription from your veterinarian before dispending any medications that require a prescription.
Most online pet pharmacies offer similar competitive prices, but compare prices to see if the specific medications you buy for your pet cost less with one online pet pharmacy versus another. Many pet pharmacies offer free shipping if you reach a certain price threshold or slightly lower prices if you elect to sign up for auto ship. Both of these services factor into your final out of pocket cost.
Other Pet Products
Some online pet pharmacies only sell medications; larger online pet pharmacies sell many different pet products, including food, treats, toys, grooming supplies and more. If you prefer to shop for your pet essentials online, it may be convenient to choose an online pet pharmacy that offers all the pet products you need.
Can you buy pet medication with a Health Savings Account (HSA)?
In general, you cannot use your health savings account (HSA) funds to purchase medication for your pet. If you, however, have a medically necessarily service animal, you may be able to use HAS funds to pay for the costs associated with the health of that service animal.
Where can I buy pet medication without a prescription?
Some pet medications require a prescription and others can be purchased over the counter (OTC). OTC pet medications can be purchased through online pet pharmacies, pet-supply stores and big-box retail stores. It is not safe to attempt to purchase prescription pet medications without a valid prescription from a veterinarian who has seen your pet. Companies that offer prescription medications without a prescription are breaking the law. Often, products sold this way are counterfeit or expired. Additionally, it is not safe to give your pet medications that were not prescribed by your veterinarian.