After spending $56 billion on their pets last year, Americans are predicted to increase that to $60 billion this year. About half of that spending was divided between veterinary care and pet medications (prescription and over-the-counter) reported MarketWatch.
Similar to our current shopping patterns for everything from household items to human medications, more of us are purchasing our pet meds online and searching for the greatest discounts. Be careful. Your desire to save a few bucks may cost you your beloved pet’s health. There are a multitude of online scams in the pet pharmaceutical industry.
1. Revolving charges for recurring shipments that you never authorized
If you set up auto-shipments, make sure there is a way to turn that monthly charge off when you desire. Some online companies make it nearly impossible to cancel auto-payments.
What you can do to protect your pocketbook:
Call your credit card company to cancel authorization as soon as you have contacted the online company to discontinue your monthly refills.
2. Shipments that never arrive or are greatly delayed
Particularly watch out for delays in companies who are based abroad. If Fido is waiting for needed medication that his health depends on,† you may not want to take this risk.
What you can do to protect your pet’s health:
Have a backup plan with your local vet or well-stocked pharmacy. MarketWatch also reported,
“To try to get your money back if they donít deliver when promised, request it both in writing and verbally; that may not work though, in which case, you may have to go through your credit card company.”
3. Fake pharmacies, fake medications
This is the worst of all scams, in my opinion, as it could mean life or death for your beloved pet. Fake pills include “sugar pills, diluted versions of the medication, medication with additives that may be bad for your pet, and more. Of the 420 online pet pharmacies reviewed on SiteJabber (a website where customers can review online businesses), more than one in three were identified as non-legitimate pharmacies, meaning that they likely violated laws or regulations around the sale of drugs,” reported MarketWatch.
What you can do to make sure you are getting the pet meds you ordered:
Verify that the site you ordered from is Vet-VIPPS, Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. Enter the online pharmacy’s website at LegitScript.com. They monitor approved internet pharmacies on an ongoing basis and review compliance with their standards at least quarterly.
Personally, I’ve been ordering from 1800PetMeds.com and have received all of Sanchez and Gina‘s medication promptly. Customer service has also been stellar. I checked with LegitScript and was relieved to learn that they are approved as a legitimate online pharmacy. While I wouldn’t give the included milk-bone treat in each package to my dogs, I do think it’s a nice extra touch.
How about you? Do you order your pet’s medications online? What sites would you recommend? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.
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