Best Online Pet Prescription Services

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 27, 2021

Keeping your pets healthy is a priority, but keeping up with their medications can be a challenge. Online pet prescription services can help ensure your loved one has the medications they need when they need them. Learn more about how these companies work so that you can select the best online pet pharmacy. 

How Do I Get a Prescription for Pet Medication?

To get a prescription for a pet medication, you’ll need to take your pet to see a licensed veterinarian. Most states require veterinarians to have an established relationship with you and your pet before dispensing medication. 

There are a lot of good reasons for this: 

  • The veterinarian needs to confirm your pet needs the medication. 
  • The vet needs to confirm the right dosage.
  • They need to confirm that your pet’s responding to the medication if they’ve been taking it for a while .
  • They may need to perform tests to confirm your pet’s diagnosis.

Once your veterinarian sees your pet (or if they’ve seen your pet recently), they will write a prescription as appropriate. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association requires vets to provide you with a prescription on request instead of filling the prescription at their office. Most states also have laws requiring vets to provide a prescription. So if your vet doesn’t offer it automatically, just ask for the prescription.

What Are the Most Common Pet Medications?

Here are common pet medications. These are the generic names or active ingredients, and they may be prescribed under a brand name. The online pet pharmacy you choose should offer the exact medications you require because you are medicating your pets, and they cannot report minor side effects or issues with their medications.

With that said, your pet pharmacy will traditional carry meds like:


Antibiotics are used to treat infections. They include:

  • Amoxicillin/Clavulanate
  • Gentamicin
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • Tetracycline
  • Penicillin
  • Trimethoprim-sulfa
  • Cephalexin
  • Enrofloxacin
  • Metronidazole


These help to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain. These medications include:

  • Carprofen
  • Deracoxib
  • Firocoxib
  • Grapiprant
  • Meloxicam
  • Robenacoxib

Opioid Pain Relievers

Pets in significant pain may need more potent medications for relief. Veterinarians may prescribe opioid medications if there’s severe surgical pain, severe arthritis or to relieve pain from advanced cancer. These include:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Buprenorphine
  • Hydromorphone


Steroids can be used as anti-inflammatories, to treat allergic reactions and to suppress the immune system. Common steroids include:

  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Dexamethasone


These help protect your pet from parasites like intestinal worms, heartworms, fleas and ticks. Prescription options include:

  • Bravecto
  • Trifexis
  • ProHeart
  • Revolution
  • Revolution Plus
  • Sentinel

Behavior Modification and Sedation

Pets may be anxious or have other behavioral issues that require treatment with prescriptions. They may also need to be sedated before anesthesia or to reduce movement while they’re being treated or recovering from an injury. Common prescriptions for behavior modification and sedation include:

  • Diazepam
  • Oxazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Xylazine
  • Acepromazine
  • Midazolam
  • Buspirone
  • Propanolol
  • Clonidine


Like humans, pets with diabetes may need insulin. Insulin can only be given by injection, but the needles are small. Your vet can teach you how to give insulin to your pet. 

Thyroid Issues

If your pet develops a thyroid issue, your veterinarian may prescribe:

  • Methimazole
  • Levothyroxine

Heart Conditions

Medications vary depending on the heart condition, but they may include:

  • Enalapril
  • Benazepril
  • Lisinopril
  • Furosemide
  • Digoxin
  • Diltiazem
  • Atenolol
  • Propranolol
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Isosorbide dinitrate
  • Spironolactone
  • Chlorothiazide
  • Hydrochlorothiazide

Be Careful When Medicating Your Pets

Many pet medications are also used to treat humans. That doesn’t mean you should use your leftover medications to treat your pet. Pets need specific dosages which may be higher or lower than what humans need. It’s best to get prescriptions from your vet, as your vet knows what dosage to prescribe based on the type of pet you have and their size. 

While no human medications should be given to pets, here are some that are particularly harmful:

  • Acetaminophen/Tylenol: This medication can be fatal to cats and is dangerous for dogs. 
  • Pseudoephedrine: This medication is found in over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin-D and Allegra-D. 
  • Ibuprofen: This medication can cause severe gastric ulcers and acute kidney failure in pets. 
  • Phenobarbital: This is prescribed to dogs as well as humans, but dogs typically need a higher dose. 
  • Thyroid hormones: Like phenobarbital, dogs typically need a higher dose than humans. With both, veterinarians should prescribe the appropriate dose. 
  • Xylitol: This is a sweetener that’s sometimes found in liquid medications, as well as candy and chewing gum. It’s toxic to dogs. 

If you have any questions about medications for your pets, the best resource is a veterinarian. 

What to Look for in Online Prescription Services

One of the most important things to look for in a pet prescription service is a stellar reputation. You can ask your veterinarian if they’re familiar with the service you’re considering. You can also check with your state pharmacy board to ensure they’re licensed to dispense medications in your state. 

Another certification to look for is the Veterinary-Verified Internet Practice Sites (Vet-VIPPS). This means the service has been certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.  

Online services typically have reviews, so you should check those as well. You would leave a review for anything that treated your pet well or poorly, and the same is true for a pet pharmacy. You are likely to see an unvarnished version of the truth if you spend a few extra minutes reading reviews.

Once you’ve found legitimate online pet prescription services, check the prices and compare shipping fees and times. Some sites may offer free shipping if your order meets a minimum amount, or you may need to pay shipping if you need your item quickly. 

Regulations on Online Prescription Services for Pets

States and the federal government regulate online prescription services that are operating lawfully. Online pet pharmacies should only sell prescription medications to customers who have a prescription from a veterinarian. If you see an online pharmacy offering to sell prescription medications without a prescription, you should steer clear. 

You can check to see if a pharmacy you’re considering is legitimate by checking the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy website. A licensed pharmacy will have passed licensing and inspection requirements. 

Best Online Pet Prescription Services

Which online pet prescription services are the best? Here are Benzinga’s recommendations. 

  1. Chewy
  2. Petco
  3. 1-800-PetMeds
  4. Pet Care Supplies
  5. VetRxDirect
  6. PetCareRx

Best Pet Insurance for Online Services

Unexpected vet bills can put a serious dent in your wallet. Pet insurance can help.

At a minimum, pet insurance covers accidents and illnesses. Some policies also cover wellness care, like preventive vet visits. Policies typically work on a reimbursement basis, which means you pay the vet, then you send the receipt to your insurance company. Your insurance company reviews the receipt and reimburses you based on the terms of your policy.

At times, the best online pet pharmacy and your insurance provider may be partnered or interconnected.  

Here are a few recommendations for the best pet insurance companies for online services. 

Is an Online Pet Pharmacy Right for You?

An online pet pharmacy may be best if you have routine medications that you fill monthly or quarterly. An online pharmacy may not be the right choice for urgent prescriptions. If you need something right away, you may want to fill the prescription at your vet’s office or a local pharmacy. 

Look for a licensed online pet pharmacy and if you see any red flags or prices that seem too good to be true, consider steering clear. Look for reviews, and don’t hesitate to ask your vet for recommendations. The best online pet pharmacy should, above all else, meet your pet’s needs and offer competitive prices.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need a prescription to buy pet meds online?


It depends on the medication. Some medications are available over-the-counter, but others require a prescription. In general, stronger and more complex medications require a prescription so veterinarians can ensure they’re suitable for your pet and offer instructions on how to give the medicine. 

About Melinda Sineriz

Melinda specializes in writing about mortgages. student loans, personal loans, insurance, managing credit and debt, and credit cards.