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Buying Your Dog's Drugs Online?
3 tips to get the most for your money

hh photograph of a large black dog using a laptop computer

1. Don't automatically rule out buying from your veterinarian

Manufacturers want veterinarians to recommend their products and sometimes offer promotions and discounts that aren't available anywhere else.

The last time I was at my vet's, they had a special on a major brand of flea and tick medication: buy six months worth and get two months free. That brought the price below what the largest online pet pharmacy was offering. Call your vet's office and ask about current specials before you buy elsewhere.

Also, some products such as heartworm medications should not be given if your dog has heartworm, and only a veterinarian can perform the blood test for this. Giving an infected dog the preventive medication might cause severe, even fatal, reactions.

2. Don't buy medications from foreign pharmacies

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued alerts about companies that make and sell counterfeit dog medications, dispense drugs without a prescription and sell expired drugs.

(I got taken myself by ordering a human drug online. When it arrived, the product box clearly showed that it had expired!)

If a website is advertising that prescription drugs are available without a prescription, that is a major red flag. Even if the drugs are valid, some commonly prescribed ones such as anti-inflammatories can be dangerous if the dose is incorrect. It doesn't take much to upset a six-pound dog's metabolism.

Dogs can't be examined over the Internet (at least not yet). Blood tests should be done before using anti-inflammatory and heartworm medication.

3. Look for online pharmacies with accreditation

The FDA recommends only buying from websites with a Vet-VIPPS (Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) seal. That indicates the pharmacy complies with strict safety and inspection criteria.

This is a voluntary program run by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). Some of the largest U.S. onlinepet pharmacies - 1800PetMeds, PetCareRx, Doctors Foster and Smith - are members. Look for this seal:

graphic of Vet-VIPPS seal


For even more savings, use this Amazon.com link:
At least 70% off dog supplies

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