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Pet health care is following in the footsteps of human health care. Pet telehealth is on the rise, with some services noticing a 10-fold increase in virtual care patients in 2020. Our team reviewed six of the most popular online vet services, so you can find the right one for your dog or cat. 

The best online veterinarians

  1. Fuzzy — 24/7 advice and vet-curated products
  2. Pawp Best for emergencies
  3. whiskerDocs Great for frequent visits
  4. PetCoach Most affordable option
  5. AskVet Offers at-home lab testing
  6. Vetster Best option for a prescription

Our favorite online vet services, reviewed

What we love: The Fuzzy team is built with knowledgeable verified vets who are there for pet owners 24/7 to offer support and expert advice via live chat or video call. What sets the company apart, though,  is the collection of health care products for pets, from flea and tick treatment to anxiety supplements to dental and joint health. Pet parents can conveniently have their pet’s meds delivered to their home every month. They’ll also have peace of mind thanks to Fuzzy’s veterinarians, who are just a phone call away at any time.

What customers say: Pet parents have been loving Fuzzy and the vets behind the company. Owners say Fuzzy has very affordable and worthwhile subscriptions with a large range of products to choose from. Reviews say Fuzzy’s vets assist with not only getting you what you need — but are also very knowledgeable about the products. Their team even lets you know about better subscription opportunities to help you save.

Attributes:
Do they offer prescriptions? Yes. Fuzzy fills existing prescriptions from a pet’s primary care vet.
Do they offer 24/7 advice? Yes.
Do they offer an emergency fund? No.
Do they recommend vets in your area? Yes. If Fuzzy virtually sees your pet and recommends you take them to a clinic, they can recommend nearby vets for you to visit.

What we love: Pawp offers unlimited telehealth with 24/7 access to licensed vets and a $3,000 fund for emergencies, all for just $24/month. One plan covers up to six pets (cats and dogs) in the same household, even those with pre-existing conditions. You pay $0 out of pocket at the time of the emergency visit and you can use your fund on any of the animals covered, once a year. This is incredibly helpful for those expensive emergency vet bills that no pet parent wants to experience.

What customers say: Pawp customers noted that it was “the best $24 I ever spent,” and “saved my senior girl’s life!” With over 1,200+ website reviews, most reviewers found Pawp’s staff of veterinarians knowledgeable, patient, and helpful — and gave them peace of mind. One customer said, “Dr. Christy was very caring. She listened and gave good advice. I feel comfortable knowing that my dog has been seen by a Vet today.”

Attributes:
Do they offer prescriptions? No.
Do they offer 24/7 advice? Yes.
Do they offer an emergency fund? Yes.
Do they recommend vets in your area? Yes.

What we love: whiskerDocs offers a convenient monthly subscription service that’s helpful if you frequently seek vet care. You also have options for single visits without a subscription. Subscription plans run as little as $16.99 per month (plans are based on a single pet, but you can add additional pets for a fee) and a one-time phone call costs $39.99. Pet parents have 24/7 access to a qualified vet and can easily get answers or advice about any general pet health questions.

What customers say: Many whiskerDocs website reviewers left the name of their vet, “Sharon, Barbara, and Dr. Dawn all helped me through the last days of my dear Dylan’s life.” One customer noted that whiskerDocs helped give advice during an emergency, “the Dr. and I were in agreement to take my dog to the emergency vet. This was a 100% good move. He was treated with IV and other meds and has made a full recovery.”

Attributes:
Do they offer prescriptions? No.
Do they offer 24/7 advice? Yes.
Do they offer an emergency fund? No.
Do they recommend vets in your area? No.

What we love: PetCoach is a more affordable option than other telehealth services — submitting a single question costs only $5 and private consultations are $20 (pet parents can expect answers to their submissions typically in two hours or less). PetCoach is conveniently available to use through an app for quick access no matter where you’re at (Apple Store and Google Play). They also publish a vast amount of content around a variety of veterinary care topics that pet parents can read, including many of the questions and responses submitted by the app’s users.

What customers say: With their app ranking 4.6 out of 5 stars in the Apple Store, customer reviews said that PetCoach is efficient and responsive. Customers said that it’s, “the best app for anxious pet owners” and “I have used it three times so far and every time I get a very fast and well written answer.”

Attributes:
Do they offer prescriptions? No.
Do they offer 24/7 advice? Yes.
Do they offer an emergency fund? No.
Do they recommend vets in your area? No.

What we love: Unlike other service providers that also use vet techs, all of AskVet’s experts are US-licensed veterinarians with an average practice experience of 12 years. They offer 24/7 access to these vets through a mobile app for any questions or concerns, starting at just $29.99 per month. If your AskVet veterinarian believes your pet should be seen in person immediately, they’ll provide you with your three closest emergency vets and even offer a “rainy day emergency fund” that can cover up to $1,000 on an emergency vet bill. It’s also good to know that AskVet is the company behind Banfield Pet Hospital’s Vet Chat app (which is included as a benefit to their Optimum Wellness Plan members).

What customers say: Customers featured on AskVet’s site said that vets provided helpful suggestions in a variety of situations, from a dog’s broken nail to constant biting due to boredom. One customer said, “I never knew Maltese had a high chance of dental disease and my Care Coach, Robin, walked me through the steps to help Buddy and his toofers. Then I got a surprise in the mail…Robin sent me dental chews that were perfect for Buddy!”

Attributes:
Do they offer prescriptions? No.
Do they offer 24/7 advice? Yes.
Do they offer an emergency fund? Yes.
Do they recommend vets in your area? Yes.

What we love: Vetster is unique by giving you the option to choose between veterinarians and veterinary technicians for your e-visits, giving you more control over pricing depending on the urgency or need for the appointment. They are also one of the few services that will write and send prescriptions for your pet. The Vetster team really emphasizes finding online appointments with veterinary professionals near you so you’re able to establish a vet-client-patient relationship should you ever need an in-person vet visit.

What customers say: Happy customers highlighted on Vetster’s website said, “addressed all the questions I had and helped me feel confident in how I treat my kitty,” and “professional and informative, but most important she was very kind.” One customer couldn’t get an appointment with their vet for two weeks and said Vetster was, “very helpful and would recommend this service to anyone!”

Attributes:
Do they offer prescriptions? Yes.
Do they offer 24/7 advice? Yes.
Do they offer an emergency fund? No.
Do they recommend vets in your area? Yes.

What to know about online vets and virtual pet care 💻

Here are some important terms to understand in the world of online pet care:

  • Telehealth. Using technology to deliver health information, education, or care to pets remotely.
  • Telemedicine. Uses tools such as technology to exchange medical information from one site to another. Telemedicine may only be conducted using an existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) established through in-person visits.
  • Teleadvice. Teleadvice is providing any health information, opinion, or guidance on future actions that aren’t specific to one pet’s health.
  • Teletriage. This is the safe and timely assessment of pet patients online with their owners. This helps pet parents know whether or not their pet needs emergency services.

Most online vet services can only offer teleadvice and teletriage for pet parents. For pet owners and their pets, this may be virtual appointments with an online vet on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. This can include online consultations via video call, emailing a vet with general questions, or hopping on a call to talk.

It’s a great option for asking any general questions or when looking for guidance about your cat or dog’s nutritional needs, allergies, general health, etc. Online vets are also convenient if you’re worried your pet is having an emergency — if the online vet feels your pet needs emergency help, they’ll direct you to your nearest vet clinic for an in-person appointment.

It’s important to note that telemedicine laws are evolving and vary state-by-state. Depending on where you live, online veterinarians may have certain restrictions on what services they can provide online.

👉 In most states, veterinarians are prohibited from providing prescriptions unless they have seen the pet in person.

How to choose safe and reputable online vets

Here are some tips from our veterinarian to help you choose the best online vet:

Look for licensed vets — Make sure the pet telehealth company you choose uses licensed veterinarians, preferably in the same country you’re from. There are some companies that use vet techs that may or may not be able to suit your needs. Others may use veterinarians that are not licensed in the country that you’re from, therefore limiting what advice they can offer.

Read the reviews — These websites often offer reviews of the online veterinarian you will be consulting with. Make sure you read these reviews to ensure the veterinarian is the right fit for your pet.

“Make sure the veterinarian is an expert in the field you’re seeking advice in. For example, if you’re looking for information about your pet hamster, make sure the veterinarian has experience with those types of animals.”

Dwight Alleyne

Veterinary of Medicine

Different types of scenarios that online vet care is best for

While telehealth can’t replace in-person exams, most general health questions can be answered via an online vet. Some of these include:

  • Dietary concerns. Weight loss, diet, general nutrition
  • Tummy problems. Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Minor cuts/wounds. Bug bite/stings, superficial cuts
  • Skin conditions. Rashes, itchiness, redness
  • Behavior questions. Changes in behavior, general behavior 

Scenarios where using online vet care isn’t recommended

Emergencies. That being said, a virtual vet can serve as a triage service to help you determine whether your pet is truly having an emergency in the first place, possibly saving you time and money at an emergency clinic if it’s something that can be resolved online. 

Yearly check-ups. It’s still best for a vet professional to see your pet once a year in-person for a hands-on wellness exam. It’s also important to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) and a vet must physically see you and your pet in person to help build one. Online vet care is still great, however, for questions and concerns in-between your annual visits. 

👉 Virtual services should never be used for emergencies and you should always contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic in an emergency situation.

🚨 Examples of emergencies that need immediate in-person care: Difficulty breathing/rapid breathing, pale or bluish gums, seizures, unconsciousness, collapsing or can’t walk/stand, uncontrolled bleeding, persistent (longer than 24 hours) or bloody vomiting or diarrhea, etc.

How to decide between seeing a vet in-person or online

For emergency situations, it’s always recommended to see a vet in-person. There are, however, some televet services that offer emergency funding that can be extremely helpful in times of need. In most cases, these services will pay anywhere from 25% to 100% of the emergency vet bill, depending on the company.

⚠️ If a pet has ingested something harmful, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 for 24/7 emergency assistance.

How our recommendations are made

It can be difficult to determine what sets one online veterinarian service apart from another or if they’re as legitimate as they sound on their website (we all know those sites that seem more interested in pushing products or other extras). We chose online vets based on convenience and affordability — those who make it easy to chat with a certified professional whenever you need them, without costing you an arm and a leg.

The cost of a vet bill can get steep, so we were particularly drawn to services that offer emergency funds for your pets — emergencies can happen at any moment, and every pet parent wants to be financially ready to care for their four-legged friends. 

All of our recommendations are reviewed by our pet experts to give you peace of mind when making your choice.

Frequently asked questions

Are online vets worth using?

Online vet appointments can be a great resource for non-emergency situations and general health questions. Some of the pros include more convenient hours and easier access to a veterinarian from your phone or computer, and free or low-cost advice from a licensed vet.

Is there an online vet that can prescribe medication?

While it would be convenient for a lot of pet parents, most online veterinarians legally can’t write prescriptions because there isn’t a VCPR (vet-client-patient relationship) in place.

How much is an online vet visit?

Prices for online vet visits range based on the service(s) provided, but typically range between $30 and $60 for a visit.

What are the best websites for veterinary and pet care?

There are a variety of reputable online vets depending on the type of services you’re looking for. Our list above is a great starting place to look for the best online vet for what you need.

How safe is using an online vet to diagnose your pet?

Choosing an online vet can be intimidating without getting the in-person impression of a vet or clinic. A few ways to ensure you have a safe online vet experience include:

  • Make sure the site gives you access to licensed veterinarians and/or experts
  • Has one or more ways to connect with a vet, whether with an app on your phone or using a computer (see if they offer 24/7 services)
  • Has monthly or yearly subscriptions
  • Offers emergency funding
  • Make sure they’re located in your country

👉 Always check for reviews from pet owners who’ve used the service or platform before.

What are the benefits of an online vet consultation?

Working with online vets has lots of benefits, like not having to set appointments during busy schedules and being able to avoid office anxiety if your pet isn’t a fan of going to the vet. There aren’t location barriers if you don’t have easy access to an in-person vet near you, and you can quickly chat with a vet, even if it’s the middle of the night.

Where can you ask a vet questions online for free?

We don’t recommend using free services if your pet is injured or sick. We recommend finding a paid service online or using a local vet in your area.