Many medicines are available over-the-counter, from flea and tick preventives, vitamins, and eyewashes to CBD oil, probiotics, and joint supplements. In this article, we will talk about pet meds without vet prescription.
OTC medications for pets do not require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian and can be conveniently ordered from a reputable online pet pharmacy. Plus, they are often budget-friendly.
However, not every over-the-counter medication is safe and efficient for pets. From counterfeit products to illegal online pharmacies, the world of OTC pet meds can be tricky. Keep reading to learn what meds are safe to buy and from where.
Do All Pet Meds Require a Prescription?
No, not all pet meds require a veterinary prescription. Basically, all pet medications can be classified into two groups:
- Over-the-counter medications – pet medications that do not require prescriptions are often not as potent as most prescription drugs. This usually includes pet care products, dewormers and parasite preventives, supplements, and meds with low potency.
- Prescription pet medications – stronger medications like antibiotics, potent analgesics, and sedatives that can have adverse side effects (like sedation, tachycardia, and respiratory depression) and should not be used in conjunction with other drugs.
Types of Over-the-Counter Pet Meds
For example, Tylenol (Acetaminophen) is an OTC drug that must never be used in pets, while Pepto Bismol is safe for dogs but not for cats. To ensure your pet’s safety, we will briefly go through the safe over-the-counter pet meds.
Heartworm Medications. Among the most commonly bought pet products are the heartworm preventives like Heartgard and Revolution. Some of these preventives protect strictly from heartworms, while others feature various active ingredients and have broader efficiency (they also kill certain intestinal worms).
Flea and Tick Treatments. Another popular OTC product is flea and tick preventives. There are dozens of brands offering products for protection against external parasites. While many are available over-the-counter (Frontline and Advantix), others like Trifexis and Comfortis are FDA regulated, meaning they require vet prescription.
Vitamins and Minerals. Pet foods are made to be nutritionally balanced and rich in vitamins and minerals. However, certain dogs and medical conditions require higher levels of these nutrients. Usually found in the form of supplements, vitamins, and minerals for dogs are sold over-the-counter and available in online stores and veterinary clinics.
Ear and Eye Wash. Pets are prone to ear and eye problems and could benefit from regular cleaning and maintaining superior ear and eye hygiene. Eye and ear wash solutions are OTC pet care products every pet owner must use. Vets Preferred offers a great line of ear and eye washes.
Only a licensed vet is allowed to prescribe certain classes of pet medications. These include antibiotics, pain medications, anti-seizure drugs, heart and blood pressure meds, antidepressants, sedatives, blood thinning, or clotting agents.
In such cases, in addition to providing pet prescriptions, the veterinarian will give instructions on how to use the medications and carefully monitor your pet’s response to the new drugs.
Keep in mind that you can purchase your pet’s prescription medicines online – you just need a valid prescription and a reputable online pet pharmacy.
How to Safely Buy Your Pet’s Medications Online
So, is it possible to enjoy the straightforwardness of online shopping without risking your pet’s health and wellbeing (and your personal information)? Luckily, it is – just follow the tips below.
Choose a Pharmacy Approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Since 1999 there is a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites accreditation program working under the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The program ensures the prescription meds are responsibly sourced and dispensed. For online pet pharmacies, the accreditation program is called Vet-VIPPS (Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites).
Ensure that the Online Pharmacy is Located Within the United States. Always check whether the online pharmacy is located in the US (has a street address somewhere within the United States) and licensed by your state board of pharmacy. The state licensing is essential as it guarantees the pharmacy obeys federal laws (and sometimes even international laws) of safety and quality.
Choose a Pharmacy that Requires Authorization From Your Veterinarian for Medications. Under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, online pet pharmacies cannot sell veterinary prescription medications without a valid prescription from a licensed vet. Therefore, when an online pet pharmacy sells non-over-the-counter products without a prescription, the too-good-to-be-true offer could be a scam. Never purchase from such sites.
If your pet experiences issues with an online purchased medication, contact the manufacturer. Alternatively, if you encounter irregularities while online shopping for pet meds, please report the problem to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).
The Best Online Pet Meds Stores
Ready to visit an online pet med store? Well, there are lots of internet sites you can check out for convenience and lower prices. Let’s take a closer look at the best online pet pharmacies.
PetCareRx. PetCareRx is all about happier and healthier pets. This trustworthy online pet pharmacy is convenient and for easy navigation separates pet meds into two main categories – prescription medications and over-the-counter products The site also offers a well-researched section with pet advice and detailed pet medication guides.
Walmart Pet Rx. Walmart is more than a leading retailer, it is also one of the best places for online pet meds shopping. Described as an “easy, convenient, and affordable resource”, this online pharmacy is easily navigated and offers thorough descriptions and usage instructions for every medication. Walmart Pet Rx offers generic and name brands.
1-800-PetMeds. This is a reputable and respected online pet pharmacy offering prescription medications for dogs, cats, and horses. The site contacts your vet’s office to confirm the prescription or you can have its copy shipped. Conveniently, 1-800-PetMeds offers a 100 percent product guarantee, price match, and free shipping for orders over $49.
Petco. Petco’s online pharmacy allows fast and convenient filtering based on pet (dog or cat), type of medication, brand, and price range. Plus, it offers a price match guarantee and practices discounts and budget-friendly deals.
Chewy. In addition to offering a wide range of pet products, Chewy has a pet pharmacy that is easy to use and navigate. The Chewy online pharmacy is also budget friendly as it has generic options for many medications. However, you still need your vet’s prescription. Chewy offers online services but it cannot issue prescriptions.
Holistic Alternatives and Natural Supplement Options
Holistic and natural supplements (also known as nutraceuticals) are available over-the-counter as they are generally considered safe and rarely cause any side effects. Here is a short review of the most popular and health-boosting holistic alternatives and natural supplement options for pets.
Hip and Joint Supplements. Arthritis products for dogs are one of the most frequently bought supplements for pets. They can be used both for preventing and managing hip and joint issues. We advise trying the Honest Paws Mobility Powder. The supplement contains several joint-friendly ingredients such as Green Lipped Mussels, fish oil, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine HCL, Boswellia serrata, MSM, manganese gluconate, and vitamin C.
CBD Oil. Full-spectrum cannabidiol products are used by pet owners worldwide to manage an array of issues – from supporting general health and preventing arthritis pain to combating allergies and providing relief for cancer patients. Today, there are pet CBD oils, CBD treats, and CBD edibles. We recommend the Honest Paws CBD products – they are human-grade, organic, hemp-sourced, and conditions-specific.
Probiotics. Available over-the-counter and with various health benefits, probiotics are increasingly popular among pet owners. Pet probiotics support gut health, boost the immune system, help with allergies, and improve mood. Plus, they come in different forms (pills, powders, liquids) and pet-friendly flavors (chicken, beef, fish). We suggest using the Honest Paws Pre + Probiotic Supplement, which contains several probiotic strains and prebiotics.
Turkey Tail Mushroom. Antioxidants strengthen the immune system and support efficient and natural detoxification. Turkey Tail Mushrooms are an amazing source of antioxidants and come with additional health benefits. We consider the Honest Paws Turkey Tail Mushroom Blend to be of superior quality as it contains four different healthy and organic mushrooms – Turkey Tails, Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake.
Our Final Thoughts on Pet Meds Without Vet Prescription
We understand that vet bills are high, and most pet meds come with hefty price tags. Luckily, there are a few pet medications you can purchase without a veterinary prescription and at lower prices.
While we do not suggest you should always take OTC drugs over prescription medications, it is comforting to know that there are suitable alternatives for certain situations. Since this article is purely informative, please consult with your veterinarian before using an OTC product for your pet.