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this thing's pretty great

The essentials

  • Telehealth is on the rise — Some services have noticed a 10-fold increase in use since the pandemic started.
  • It’s fast and convenient — Services like Fuzzy offer 24/7 access to a team of certified vets, so pet parents can get reliable information without having to wait for an appointment.
  • It doesn’t replace in-person/in-pet care — You’ll still need to bring your pet to the vet for routine check-ups, vaccinations, and emergency care.

When the pandemic hit, much of our world became virtual from work (made more bearable by kitty cameos during Zoom meetings) to vet care. Though telemedicine and telehealth had been on the rise even pre-pandemic, some telehealth services noticed a 10-fold increase in virtual care patients in 2020.

It’s not surprising. People wanted to stay safe but pet care is essential, too.

Safety concerns may not be the only reason for the spike. A surge in pet adoptions may have helped get homeless pets out of shelters, but it also may have led to a shortage of vet appointments. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) research shows practices have been busier in 2021 than before the pandemic. Appointment requests were 6.5% higher from January through June 2021 than during the same period in 2020. So, it could take pet parents longer to get an appointment for their pet.

“The surge in people getting pets caused emergency room waits to grow up to 10 hours,” said Zubin Bhettay, Fuzzy’s founder.

And other vets say factors such as staff shortages and vet burnout are also causing an uptick in vet ER visits. People are also home more, so they’re noticing red flags and illnesses more often and sooner.

Pet owners are seeking the best care for their pets. They want reliable info, great service, and convenience. But is a pet telehealth service like Fuzzy right for your pet?

Fuzzy is filling the gap in pet care

Telehealth services like Fuzzy are changing veterinary care by making it easier for pet parents to communicate with a veterinarian. Here’s the 4-1-1 on Fuzzy:

  • On-demand care for your pet. Fuzzy gives pet parents access to 24/7 veterinary care from their phones. Their service only applies to dogs or cats, so other small animals or exotic pets need to see their normal veterinarian.
  • Reliable information from the veterinary staff. No question about your pet’s health and well-being is too insignificant. Get your concerns addressed quickly without the long waiting times you may experience with your pet’s normal vet.
  • Experience. To date, Fuzzy has performed over 1,000,000 consultations.

👉 Telemedicine and telehealth are different. Telemedicine is vet care using technology and may only be conducted using an existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) established through in-person visits. Telehealth refers to the use of technology to virtually give health information, education, and care.

Ask anything, anytime with their 24/7 Live Vet Chat

Sometimes, it can take days or weeks to see your pet’s primary vet. Fuzzy fills that time gap. Fuzzy’s 24/7 Live Vet Chat gives pet parents access to veterinary professionals, anytime and anywhere. Since Fuzzy vets staff it, you can get information and advice you can trust — even in the middle of the night. This service is designed to give pet parents peace of mind.

The knowledgeable Fuzzy vet team can answer everything from what probiotic is right for your dog to how often you should bathe your pet. They’ll also let you know if your pet’s symptoms warrant a visit to a brick-and-mortar office for an emergency visit.

Fuzzy offers both live chat and video consult options. Pet parents can use this service on Fuzzy’s app or website.

Here’s what else Fuzzy offers pet parents

Fuzzy has positioned itself as a convenient alternative to in-person — er, in-pet — veterinary services, especially during the current times. But let’s dig a bit deeper into the perks of Fuzzy, aside from shorter wait times.

  • Vet-approved products for your dog or cat. Does your dog have an itch they can’t seem to scratch enough? Looking for the perfect dental chew or treats? Fuzzy can steer you in the right direction towards products that can enhance your pet’s life.
  • Pet insurance. Veterinary care is essential, but those out-of-pocket costs can get expensive. Fuzzy’s pet insurance option can help pet parents save up to $500 per year and is known for paying claims fast.
  • Educational content. Pet parents constantly think about ways they can help their furbabies lead healthier and happier lives. But they may not know where to turn. Fuzzy acts as a trusted friend, giving parents guidance on everything from pet obesity to anxiety in-app and on-site.

How much does it cost?

Fuzzy isn’t free, but the service is currently offering a 7-day free trial for 24/7 access. They offer monthly subscriptions for $24.99 and annual subscriptions for $99.99.

Should you use a telehealth service for your pet?

There are several reasons why pet telehealth is on the rise. But is it right for your pet? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

The pros

Telehealth does have its share of perks. Here are a few to consider.

  • Get trusted advice from a vet quickly. It’s easy to get nervous if something seems off with our pet. “Was that a one-off cough, or is my dog sick?” Telehealth services like Fuzzy can help pet parents know when something is really an emergency.
  • Avoid expensive emergency vet bills. Though it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to emergency care, frequent false alarms will cost you. With reliable advice at their fingertips, telehealth services can help pet parents avoid unnecessary expenses. (Fuzzy has helped pet parents prevent 58% of unnecessary emergency vet visits.)
  • Comfort for your pet. Going to the vet can make pets anxious. Some aren’t fans of car rides, and others may get stressed. Telehealth nixes the need for an office visit — and the stress that comes with it — by giving care from the comfort of your home.
  • Convenience for pet parents. Working pet parents have to balance caring for their furbaby and their jobs. Trips to the vet also may require long commutes. Telehealth services allow pet parents to get answers when it’s convenient for them, such as between meetings, without leaving their homes.

The cons

Telehealth isn’t right for every pet or each situation. Here are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.

  • Most don’t offer care for exotic pets. If you have an exotic pet, you’ll probably need to find a specialist in your area. Some telehealth services may be able to steer you in the right direction, but they won’t be able to give much advice. 
  • Sometimes, they can’t provide prescriptions for medications. Depending on the state you live in, they may not be able to prescribe meds for your pet without a VCPR (veterinarian-client-patient relationship). You’ll want to check the regulations in your area.
  • Not a replacement for vet service. Telehealth services cannot offer life-saving care in an emergency. They also can’t vaccinate your pets against preventable diseases. Consider it a supplement for emergency and wellness visits with your regular vet.
  • Misdiagnosis possibilities. Digital consultations via text or video can be useful. But without checking your pet’s vital information and observing them in person, there’s a chance a vet may miss something during a virtual appointment.
  • Fraud. Not all services are the same. You’ll want to do your research and read reviews to ensure you’re using a trusted pet health app or service.

👉 Learn more about the benefits of online veterinarian care in our guide. 

What makes Fuzzy unique

Besides offering on-demand vet care, Fuzzy is also a convenient shop for pet parents. They offer a curated selection of vet-approved products. Of course, before you try a new product on your pet, you should use their 24/7 live chat service to make sure it’s a good fit for your dog or cat.

Cat on a laptop

📷 by Wikimedia Commons

Here's what reviewers are saying

Checking reviews is an important step in vetting a telehealth service. We’ve rounded up a few on Fuzzy.

In Trustpilot

Fuzzy has been a lifesaver and a great place for all my pets' needs. [It’s] very affordable and [has] worthwhile subscriptions with a large range of products to choose from that [are] good for my cat and my dog.

Kyron L. Parsons

In the Apple Store

This group is incredible. When I signed up, I sent profiles of all my cats with [their] history. The vets or vet assistants are available 24/7...When I call, I have a very short wait while the vets review my cat’s history and any previous chats we have had about the cat.

Cat Butler

In Google Play

This service has been extremely helpful. I adopted a senior dog with some health issues...Fuzzy has helped me know when it’s time to rush to the vet or when I'm safe to keep observing an issue before becoming a nervous wreck.

Adam Bennett

Why we’d use telehealth services like Fuzzy

Sometimes, you don’t want to bug your vet with every small question about your pet. And some pets truly have more needs than others. We like that Fuzzy gives pet parents access to 24/7 care to answer anything going on with their pet.

Telehealth services like Fuzzy shouldn’t replace your normal in-person vet visits, and it’s OK to contact your vet with any questions you have. (Sometimes, particularly in emergencies, you should.) But they’re a great in-between to provide you with quality home vet care when you notice a new behavior but don’t have time to schedule a vet visit. Plus — if it’s not an emergency, your vet may not be able to see your pet right away.

Fuzzy is currently offering a 7-day free trial so you can give it a try with your dog or cat before you commit to a monthly or annual subscription.