Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Be Careful Ordering Pet Medicine Online

Learn the risks of using online pharmacies for pet medications.

Over the past ten years or so, many internet pharmacies that sell prescription pet medications directly to the consumer have popped up. Often, these medications are cheaper than you can get directly from a veterinarian, so it makes sense—especially for more expensive meds or those that your pet takes routinely—for people to wish to use the online pharmacies.

However, there can be some dangers to using online pharmacies, and you should be aware of them before you buy your pet's medication from one.

Drugs Bought from the Internet Aren't Always Safe

There have been well-documented cases of medications from some online pharmacies not actually being the right drug. The medicine is packaged to look just like the real thing, but what's inside isn't. Not only could that mean that your pet would not experience proper treatment, but it could also mean side effects from whatever is actually in the pills.

Additionally, some online pharmacies make fraudulent claims about the medications, sell prescription drugs without the proper prescription, or sell expired drugs.

Medications must be packaged and handled correctly as they're being shipped, and if they aren't, they can be rendered ineffective. For example, if some medications get too hot or cold during transport, they are ruined.

Pet medications sold by illegitimate online pharmacies aren't procured from the manufacturers, and the manufacturer usually won't stand behind their efficacy because it's impossible for them to know how they were handled and whether what's in the package is even their product.

Why Is a Prescription So Important?

Medications that are prescription-only are classified that way for a reason. There are times when that drug could be harmful to a pet, and it's crucial that a veterinarian who has reviewed the record and examined the pet in person be involved in prescribing it.

Sometimes, online pharmacies say their staff veterinarian will evaluate your pet and write the prescription, but that is not a safe way to go. Nothing can replace the invaluable information your vet gets from placing hands on the pet and talking directly with you. In fact, prescribing medication without a valid patient-client relationship is considered unethical and is illegal in some places.

Some Online Pharmacies Are Legitimate

There are some places for you to get safe pet medications online. Legitimate pharmacies require prescriptions from your veterinarian and are licensed by the state. Ask your veterinarian for help determining whether an online pharmacy is trustworthy.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Essential Oil Tips for Dog Owners

How to Make Your Car a Safe Place for Your Dog

Heatstroke in Dogs

Is Giving Ice or Ice Water to Dogs Dangerous?

Is It Safe to Sedate Your Dog for Travel?

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with

Notice: Ask-a-Vet is an affiliated service for those who wish to speak with a veterinary professional about their pet's specific condition. Initially, a bot will ask questions to determine the general nature of your concern. Then, you will be transferred to a human. There is a charge for the service if you choose to connect to a veterinarian. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian.