Veterinary services are one of the many that have gone online in recent years, so it’s only natural that many pet owners are now looking for the best online vets on the web. The highest-quality businesses offer comprehensive care for your pet, and we’ve made sure to find top-of-the-class services. So keep reading to find the most useful one for your pet.

Our Top Choices at a Glance

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Pawp

Editor's Pick

  • $3,000 emergency fund
  • 24/7 access to vets
  • 7-day free trial
  • One plan covers up to six pets

Chewy — Connect With a Vet

Best Free Option

  • Free for auto-ship customers
  • Immediate help via live chat
  • Access to licensed vets
  • Recommended meds on the site

Vetster

Most Veterinarians Available

  • Simple flat-fee appointment system
  • Full US coverage
  • Vets has detailed info and grade
  • 24/7 availability

Hello Ralphie

Best for Prescriptions

  • All vets can write prescriptions
  • Saves data for continuity
  • Appointment bundles at lower cost
  • Several pet insurances accepted

Fuzzy

Best Subscription-Based Vet Service

  • 24/7 access to licensed vets
  • Services included in the app
  • Free 7-day trial
  • No need to make appointments

The Best Online Vets in Detail

Now that you’ve seen the services we’ve picked out for you, it’s time to learn more about each one. That’s why we’ve prepared detailed assessments for every business, including the main features, pros and cons, and explanations of what makes them the most promising.

Pawp

star 10

Editor's Pick

  • Founded: 2018
  • Platforms: Desktop and App
  • Type of consultation: Chat and video call
  • Prescribe medication: Yes
  • Availability: 24/7
  • Coverage: Nationwide
  • Pricing model: Subscription-based

Two primary reasons make Pawp one of the best online vets specifically for emergencies:

  • The $3,000 emergency fund – covers pre-existing conditions
  • 24/7 access to licensed vets through video calls and texts

The $3,000 fund is sort of a safety net that’s offered to all subscribed customers. It is there to help you with any unexpected vet bill, but it does have a small caveat you need to know about — you can only use it once a year. They pay the veterinarian directly, and there are no wait times, deductibles, co-pays, or credit checks. 

So, it doesn’t matter if that one emergency bill is only $100, as you won’t get to use up the rest of the fund for the year. This is one of the few things some users have complained about. However, it’s rarely a deal-breaker as the coverage is still nationwide and works for all emergencies. 

In addition, people rarely need to use the fund more than once a year, but they all use the 24/7 access to licensed vets and other pet professionals. Plus, an appointment isn’t required, and there are no wait times. You can cover six pets under one membership at no extra cost, regardless of their age, breed, pre-existing conditions, or location.

It’s where this online vet care service certainly excels, as customer feedback constantly mentions fast response times and professional and constructive advice. You don’t even have to make appointments to get this help — you only need to pay the monthly $24 subscription fee, and you’re set. In addition, this subscription can cover up to six different pets, which is not something these services often give.

In the end, remember that this is not an online vet prescription platform but a telehealth one. It’s there to help you decide if you need to visit a vet in person and get a prescription. And thanks to the emergency fund, you can still feel safe knowing that even if you need a visit, it will be covered by Pawp.


Pros

  • + $3,000 emergency fund
  • + 24/7 access to vets
  • + 7-day free trial
  • + One plan covers up to six pets

Cons

  • The emergency fund can be used only once a year

Chewy — Connect With a Vet

star 9.8

Best Free Option

  • Founded: 2018 (officially launched in 2020)
  • Platforms: Desktop, mobile, and Android/iOS
  • Type of consultation: Video call and chat
  • Prescribe medication: No
  • Availability: Every day from 8 am to 11 pm ET
  • Coverage: Nationwide (except Idaho, Hawaii, and Alaska)
  • Pricing model: Free with Auto-Ship or Price per appointment

First, we need to get the main point across — Chewy’s online service is not free for everyone. It’s only free for the company’s auto-ship customers throughout the US. So, suppose you’re buying the Chewy Goody Box or some other Chewy product. In that case, you already have access to the Connect With a Vet service. Everyone else has to pay for each appointment. 

However, it’s still ideal for auto-ship customers as Chewy has no minimum spending requirement for this service. It’s the best free service of this type, and the platform is helpful for everyone who needs quick consultation. 

Chewy’s Connect With a Vet is incredibly seamless, unlike some other online vet chat services. You can connect with a vet instantly via live chat. At the same time, video call consultations can be scheduled as late as 30 minutes in advance. All of Chewy’s vets are professionals, and they can give you guidance and advice for most of your pet-related problems. However, they cannot prescribe medications. 

The vet can still fill prescriptions made by your primary veterinarian and contact your vet on your behalf, so you don’t have to get written permission. The vet system is also integrated with Chewy’s online store, so you can easily buy products a Chewy vet recommends. Unfortunately for some, the Chewy online vet service currently only covers cats and dogs, so those with more exotic pets won’t be able to use it.  


Pros

  • + Free for auto-ship customers
  • + Immediate help via live chat
  • + Access to licensed vets
  • + Recommended meds on the site

Cons

  • Only for dogs and cats
  • Vets cannot give prescriptions

Vetster

star 10

Most Veterinarians Available

  • Founded: 2020
  • Platforms: Desktop, mobile, and Android/iOS
  • Type of consultation: Email, chat, call, and video call
  • Prescribe medication: Not all
  • Availability: 24/7
  • Coverage: All 50 states and the District of Columbia
  • Pricing model: None, price per appointment (From $30 for Health/$50 for Medical)

Vetster is an online vet appointment platform that gives you access to professional and licensed veterinarians all day, every day of the week, for a flat fee. We believe it’s one of the best businesses due to its unique and affordable approach. 

Vetster operates like a marketplace, letting you connect with licensed vets in your area. More than 1,800 vets have signed on with the service at the start, and there are likely many more now. This is undoubtedly a considerable number, as the entire US had about 89,200 veterinarians in 2019.  

This explains why the company has complete US coverage. It even works in 13 provinces and territories of Canada, including both Ontario and Quebec. 

With the help of Vetster, when you search for a vet, you’re given detailed information, including their price, overall rating, and the number of ratings. This was recognized when Vetster attained a pet innovation award for the overall best health company in 2022.

Vetster offers two types of services:

  • Vetster Health — for general health and wellness advice and guidance
  • Vetster Medical — for detailed medical appointments, online vet diagnosis, and medication prescriptions if necessary

The Vetster Medical option is especially great because it includes prescriptions. Still, we’ve seen some complaints from customers that not all vets are licensed to do that. Thankfully, most of them are. Many other companies offer similar services, but Vetster stands out due to being available 24/7 and letting you choose between vet techs and veterinary doctors.

Once you choose your vet, you will always get a full VCPR or veterinarian-client-patient relationship, the foundation of Vetster’s business model and essential prescription service.


Pros

  • + Simple flat-fee appointment system
  • + Full US coverage
  • + Vets has detailed info and grade
  • + 24/7 availability

Cons

  • Some vets not licensed for prescriptions

Hello Ralphie

star 9.8

Best for Prescriptions

  • Founded: 2019
  • Platforms: Desktop, mobile, and iOS
  • Type of consultation: Chat, call, and video call
  • Prescribe medication: Yes
  • Availability: 24/7
  • Coverage: Nationwide
  • Pricing model: Price per appointment

Hello Ralphie has one feature that makes it one of the best online veterinarian services. It’s a telehealth and telemedicine service, meaning it can offer advice and prescribe medication. Many similar businesses offer prescription services, but they usually come with stipulations, while Hello Ralphie doesn’t. All of its vets are licensed and can make prescriptions if the state you’re in allows it.

What’s more, Hello Ralphie has combined the telemedicine service with an online pharmacy. This is precisely what makes Hello Ralphie the top prescription service in this niche. However, you still have to remember that this can’t work in some states due to different laws. 

Now, as this is all very well defined by the law, you always have to choose the exact service type, just as you get to do with Vetster:

  • Telehealth appointment — for general advice
  • Telemedicine appointment — for prescriptions

But other than that, Hello Ralphie is incredibly easy to use. You can use it directly through the website or download the iOS app. Plus, they work with dogs, cats, exotic pets, and larger animals. What’s more, all information you share, including medical records and even chat discussions, is saved to get full personalized assistance. If you want to schedule a vet appointment online in the future, you can also save money using bundles. 

This option lets you buy appointment credits that can later be used to schedule consultations, and the more you get, the cheaper they are. For example, if you get a bundle with four credits, you pay $111 instead of $140, as the regular appointment is $35. Hello Ralphie also accepts pet insurance. The supported ones are PetPlan, Embrace Pet Insurance, HealthPaws, PetFirst, and PetsBest. Some of these are considered among the top insurance companies on the market. 


Pros

  • + All vets can write prescriptions
  • + Saves data for continuity
  • + Appointment bundles at lower cost
  • + Several pet insurances accepted

Cons

  • Prescriptions are based on state laws

Fuzzy

star 10

Best Subscription-Based Vet Service

  • Founded: 2015
  • Platforms: Desktop, mobile, and Android/iOS app
  • Type of consultation: Chat and video call
  • Prescribe medication: N/A
  • Availability: 24/7
  • Coverage: Nationwide
  • Pricing model: Subscription-based ($24.99 per mo/$99.99 per yr)

We believe Fuzzy offers the best subscription-based online vet diagnosis platform due to the sheer number of quality services included. Naturally, the emphasis is placed on the 24/7 availability of consultations via live chat and video calls. However, you also get other services in that subscription, including:

  • Treatment plans for various issues
  • Health library with advice on health, wellness, lifestyle, anxiety, and stress
  • Discounts on various Fuzzy pet products and medications

And the best part? You can get all that for free for seven days, as Fuzzy offers a 7-day trial plan without any commitments. Fuzzy focuses on providing all of that for cats and dogs. However, the company’s veterinarians can still give general advice on other more exotic pets. 

This doesn’t seem to be a problem since Fuzzy has already provided its members with more than a million consultations. In addition, most online vet reviews on the company are very positive. Almost all of the issues customers have had were about the products, and these have mostly been settled. 

The subscription-based model might not appeal to all pet owners since they can’t get one-time consultations if they haven’t subscribed. However, with the plethora of services the company offers, plus many discounts on its pet medications, supplements, toys, and other products, it’s not a problem. All of that makes the monthly or annual fee entirely worth it. And of course, with membership, you can get immediate consultations as many times as you need them.


Pros

  • + 24/7 access to licensed vets
  • + Services included in the app
  • + Free 7-day trial
  • + No need to make appointments

Cons

  • No option for a one-time consultation

Buyer’s Guide — How to Select the Best Vet Service for You

Finding the best online vet is not easy, and we know that very well. So we’ve prepared this detailed guide that will help you do just that. But first, let’s take a quick look at how these platforms work, as that will help you understand what you need to look for.

What Do These Services Offer?

First and foremost, you need to understand that most of these services are not a substitution for your primary veterinarian. They only offer advice on health and wellness in most cases, but sometimes they can do more. However, no matter what kind of service you choose to use, you will still have to visit a vet if your pet has health issues that require a physical checkup. 

In general, online services offer the following types of pet care:

  • Telehealth — Almost every veterinarian online can provide telehealth services, as long they are licensed.
  • Teleadvice — This is similar to telehealth services. Still, it focuses on simple advice that’s rarely as detailed and personalized as telehealth. 
  • Telemedicine — This type of assistance is reserved for vets with whom you already have VCPR (veterinarian-client-patient relationship) established. It’s more complex and uses available technology to assist pet owners, including offering a so-called online vet visit for a prescription

It’s also important to mention that not all states allow telemedicine. 

What Are the Benefits?

Web-based veterinarian platforms can be very beneficial depending on which services are provided. They offer you an easy way to ask questions when you need guidance and when you want to improve your pet’s health and wellness. You can ask about pet allergies, nutritional needs, and more. 

They can help you whenever you have medical problems that don’t require an in-person visit, like stomach issues, minor cuts and wounds, and skin problems. You can usually make a vet appointment online with relative ease and use modern technologies like live chats and video calls to talk to the veterinarian. 

It’s pretty clear that all of this is quite beneficial, and the research supports these claims. For instance, this 2020 study shows that veterinary telemedicine can be effective in many areas, including respiratory problems. Of course, it has a few downsides, but it’s still valuable for regions where in-person care is limited. 

As time passes, we will only get more studies on the subject. Still, we are optimistic that they will conclude that veterinary telehealth is beneficial in various areas. 

Experience and Qualifications of the Vets

The most important part of a web-based vet service has to be the experience and qualifications of the veterinarians it employs. Every veterinarian online needs to be qualified and licensed, especially if telemedicine services are offered. There will also be vet technicians, but you must have access to licensed veterinarians who provide more than simple advice.

Their number is also essential — the more vets, the better, allowing the company to cover more states and major cities.

The Response Speed

One of the best aspects of this type of platform is the speed, or how fast the veterinarians can answer your problems. In most cases, you’ll have to make a vet appointment online, but you’ll still want to be able to do that on short notice. If a company works with monthly subscriptions, you want it to have a 24/7 service where you preferably don’t have to make any appointments.

Coverage

All the platforms we recommend have either nationwide coverage or near-complete nationwide coverage. That’s precisely what you need from this type of service. 

You don’t want to find a great online vet just to discover that it doesn’t cover your state, so you lose the chance to use telemedicine. It also comes in handy if you ever need to move from one state to another, as it allows you to keep using your favorite service.

Platforms and Type of Consultations Offered

All good web-based veterinary services are accessible on both desktop and mobile devices. But more importantly, you need them to cover as many mediums for consultations as possible. You should be looking for chat and video call coverage, and if you prefer phone calls, you should also look for that. 

Pets the Platform Covers

Many of the online vet services we recommend cover dogs, cats, and other exotic animals. However, some only cover cats and dogs. If you have a different pet, check that the company you’re interested in offers assistance for the type of pet you have.

Prescriptions

Some pet owners want to establish VCPR with a vet who works both offline and online to get them to prescribe medicine remotely. Naturally, this is not always a possibility. Still, if it is available in your country, check that the platform offers telemedicine services, not only telehealth ones.

FAQ

Is there a virtual vet?

Yes, and all the companies you’ll find in this guide are just that. Each one offers virtual appointments with veterinarians, and some even prescribe medication if necessary. The most important thing, though, is that you can get advice on many health and wellness-related issues whenever you need it.

Do online vets work?

They do, as these veterinarians are the same as the ones you meet in brick-and-mortar offices. In addition, they are typically licensed professionals, so the advice and assistance provided are valid and good. 

Naturally, whenever your pet has problems that require immediate medical assistance, you’ll still have to visit a veterinarian’s office. What online vets can also do, though, is tell you whether an issue is severe enough to require the visit. 

What are the things web-based vets can’t do?

Online vet help does have its limitations. Most of all, it can never be an adequate substitute for actual face-to-face appointments. In addition, many health problems, including broken bones, blood draws, and others can only be checked through direct physical examination. 

Furthermore, no online specialist can prescribe medications unless you have an established VCPR. So you will still have to take your pet to get a direct physical exam to get that. After that, your vet can prescribe medication online. Moreover, if your pet has some serious issues that require immediate medical attention, online services won’t be useful to you. 

Can online veterinarians prescribe medication or antibiotics?

In most cases, no. That’s because the US federal and state law requires veterinarians to complete a physical examination of a pet before starting prescribing medication. 

Some online services state that they include both online vet consultation and prescription services. However, you still have to have established VCPR with that specific vet before you can start using the prescription part of the service. Of course, many vets can still discuss and advise you on medication, something many pet owners find very useful. 

How to get a vet prescription online?

In most cases, your best bet is to first visit a veterinarian in their office so they can do a medical exam and then prescribe necessary medication. Then you can get an online service like Chewy to fill in and deliver that prescription to you. 

Furthermore, if you have established VCPR with a vet the service employs, you can still get them to prescribe medications for you. However, some states don’t allow this, so you’ll first have to check if your state does. 

When should I seek emergency care in-office for my pet?

You should stop looking for a pet vet online and get to an emergency animal hospital, or seek help from your primary veterinarian if your pet has some of these symptoms:

  • Severe bleeding or normal bleeding that lasts for more than a couple of minutes
  • Difficulty breathing and choking
  • Heat stress or sunstroke
  • Seizure
  • Eye injury
  • Refusal to eat or drink for more than a day
  • Pain during defecation and urination, or inability to urinate or pass feces
  • Severe diarrhea or vomiting
  • You believe your pet has eaten something poisonous
  • Severe problems with leg movement or fractured bones
  • Collapse or unconsciousness

Naturally, these are some of the more common signs that point toward the need for emergency care, and there are others you should also know about

Can I speak to a vet online for free?

Yes, you can, but it depends on the company you choose. Pawp offers a 7-day free trial that gives you access to all of their licensed veterinarians. Furthermore,  Chewy’s online service is entirely free as long as you are the company’s auto-ship customer. All other online specialists we’ve recommended charge you for making appointments through a subscription model or with each consultation you receive. 

Conclusion

Web-based veterinary services are certainly a great thing that relies heavily on the internet in the modern world. We hope the best online vets we’ve chosen, together with the buyer’s guide that should help you pick one, will help you get the web-based care your pet needs.

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