6 Ways to Find the Cheapest Pet Medications

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • Some pet owners are seeing dramatically higher prices on their pet's medicines.
  • Pet insurance can help defray some of the costs of pet ownership, including prescription medication or even supplements, in some cases.
  • You can also save money by asking for a generic or other alternative, or by buying in bulk when possible.

The love of an animal is priceless -- but pet ownership sure isn't cheap.

I love my three cats dearly but I frequently look at them, sigh, and say, "You guys are expensive." I'm pretty fortunate they're fairly healthy and with a few exceptions (such as planned care), my usual annual health expenses for the cats only consists of an annual vet visit and accompanying vaccines. For those whose pets require medication, it's a different story.

On Twitter, Katie Gatti Tassin (host of the podcast Money With Katie) recently discussed price hikes she's seen on her dog's medication (which she purchases from Chewy). It jumped in price from $172 to $275 between October and the end of December 2022. This kind of price hike is unsustainable for many pet owners, especially in the face of the still-high inflation we've all been coping with.

If your pet is on medication, you might be wondering how to save money buying it. The good news is that you have several options to try. These might help you keep more money in your bank account.

1. Purchase pet insurance

The first option to save money on pet prescription costs is to get a pet insurance policy. Insurers vary in what kind of coverage they offer, but some cover medications, and will even cover recommended supplements in addition to prescriptions. Pet insurance works by reimbursing pet owners for their costs, so you'll still have to pay upfront for the medication, then some or all of the cost will be returned to you by the insurer.

2. Don't buy from your vet's office

While it is certainly convenient to buy medication directly from the prescribing veterinarian's office, it doesn't offer you the opportunity to save money. As Forbes pointed out, many people may not know they have the option to purchase elsewhere, and if your pet is sick and you're stressed out, you may not have the ability or time to shop around. If you're looking at paying for regular medication for a pet, however, you can likely save by buying elsewhere.

3. Ask for a less-costly alternative

Speaking of your vet, you can ask them to prescribe a cheaper medication if one is available. This could be the generic version of a big brand-name medicine, or even the human version of it, if one exists. Sometimes a medicine marketed to humans is exactly the same as the pet version, but could end up costing you less. Ensure you get the correct dosage, however -- sometimes pills come in different strength formulations, and it's likely that your dog or cat weighs less than a human!

4. Sign up for a pharmacy prescription plan

Some big-name pharmacies offer prescription drug savings programs, and this is a good way to save money on human medications, but some also work for pet medicines. Walgreens and Costco are two of the bigger names offering this service. Note that Walgreens only offers medications that have a human equivalent (like antibiotics or insulin).

5. Buy in bulk, if possible

You may not be able to buy some medications in bulk (due to it being a controlled substance, or due to quick expiration), but it's worth looking into, especially if it's something your pet takes every day. You can often find a cheaper price on a 90-day supply than if you were to buy a 30-day supply three times.

6. Use online pet pharmacies (but be careful)

You'll certainly get lots of Google results if you search "cheap pet medications," but it's important to do your due diligence before ordering online. Verify that the great prices you're being quoted are being offered by a Vet-VIPPS certified pharmacy. This stands for Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, and the program is run by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, ensuring these pharmacies are legitimate and that you'll receive the drugs you order, rather than a potentially dangerous counterfeit.

As you can see, basically, it all comes down to shopping around to get better prices on pet medications. This may not always be so easy, especially in the event of an emergency, but if your pet has just been diagnosed with a long-term condition that will require frequent medication, it's a good idea to spend some time searching for deals. Consider asking fellow pet owners in your circle as well -- they may have a reputable pet pharmacy to recommend. You're not alone in your concern for both your pet's medical needs and your budget, but there are ways to save money on pet care if you look.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow