Ordering pet medications online can be iffy.

Whether it’s the convenience factor or cost savings, many of us have fully embraced online shopping. Pet owners are no exception, and the increasing availability of more affordable pet medications online has many owners turning to the internet for their pet’s prescription medications. However, while this may be cheaper and easier, there are plenty of concerns associated with purchasing pet medications online.

The Risks of Ordering Pet Medications Online

  • Online pharmacies are able to offer competitive prices mainly because they buy medications in bulk. Because of this, there’s a need to store extra drugs until they’re ordered; however, there’s no way to verify if these medications are stored properly. A variety of factors can affect the shelf-life of a medication, including temperature, humidity, and exposure to light.
  • There’s always the risk of medications being mishandled or exposed to harsh temperatures during shipping and transport.
  • Some companies have been found to ship expired medications, decreasing their effectiveness.
  • If there’s a problem with your pet’s medication from an online pharmacy, your pet may be without any medication as you wait for the pharmacy to send you a replacement.
  • There have been instances where online pharmacies were caught selling and shipping counterfeit drugs, which could be ineffective or dangerous.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions are a serious concern anytime more than one medication is being administered. When you obtain medications through your veterinarian, they’re aware of any other drugs your pet may be taking and the possible interactions that can occur. When buying pet medications online, this important safeguard is absent.

Everyday Medications Aren’t Exempt

A pet owner should always go through their veterinarian even when purchasing common drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Used to treat both pain and inflammation in pets, these drugs are fairly common, but they can also have serious side effects, such as liver damage. Before prescribing NSAIDs, a veterinarian will perform a series of diagnostic tests to ensure a pet is healthy enough for a medication.

Red Flags

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified many illegal online pharmacies, and there are certainly more out there that haven’t been discovered by authorities. Some red flags to be aware of include:

  • Watch out for any company that offers to sell you a prescription medication without a prescription. Even if the company offers to “evaluate” your pet via an online form, understand that nothing can replace a consultation with a live veterinarian.
  • Be wary of any place that offers to refill a prescription without having it renewed by a veterinarian.
  • Avoid foreign companies that claim they can ship products not available in the U.S. to a U.S. address. Not only is this illegal, it can also be very dangerous. Any drug not approved by the FDA is not guaranteed to be safe for your pet.

Please give us a call if you’re considering ordering pet medications online. We can advise you on the proper course of action and ensure your best friend stays healthy and safe.