More and more of us using the Internet for our online shopping needs. So, it is no surprise that many pet parents shop for pet medication online. Recent reports on fraudulent individuals selling fake or out of date meds online have highlighted the dangers of buying pet medication online.

For some pet owners, it can be tempting to purchase online drugs and medication for their pet because of the perceived cheaper cost. It can also be confusing because unscrupulous companies can sell through well-known online stores. Or, they can even set up websites that look like legitimate online veterinary clinics.

Why buying pet medication online can be risky

Recently, there have been a number of reports of fake pet medication being sold on Amazon. For example, in August 2018, Nutramax reported that some online companies were selling counterfeit products under their brand name. Nutramax found that many of the resellers were based in China and trade under names like “Pets Care Center” and “Pet Health Shop.” [1]

What are the dangers of these medications to pets? News reports indicate that the chewable tablets did not contain any active ingredients that are in their products. Instead, the pet meds only contained starchy fillers. Nutramax has offered to pet owners to return counterfeit pet health supplements to them and replace them with an authentic product.

This is not the first time that there are dangers associated with buying prescription medicine, flea control products, or health supplements on the internet. There have been reports of counterfeit antibiotics from Asia that are even packaged as “Made in the U.S.A.”

Some hazards associated with buying pet meds online are:

  • counterfeit pet products that look like legitimate items
  • selling prescription medication for pets without requiring a prescription
  • selling non-approved pet drugs
  • listing meds for online sale that are past their expiry date

How to buy pet medication safely

Of course, this is not to say that all online veterinarian stores are selling risky products. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has set strict standards for legitimate sellers.

You can eliminate some of the dangers of buy pet drugs online if you look for 2 things:

  • The website contains the NABP’s seal of approval called the Vet-VIPPS seal (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites).
  • The website internet address ends in “.pharmacy” (dot pharmacy).

Before thinking about buying meds for your pet online, you should speak to your local vet. A qualified veterinarian should always administer and monitor drugs for preventing heartworm and reducing inflammation (NSAIDs). These are some of the most common pet meds people purchase online.

If you speak with your vet before purchasing pet medication online, your vet can also discuss with you any potential side effects.

[1] “Nutramax Laboratories Urges Consumers to Return Counterfeit Pet Dietary Supplements Sold by Unauthorized Resellers on Amazon”