Is online shopping for preventives really worth it?

If you’re like my dad, you’ll spend an extra five minutes circling or waiting for that closer parking spot outside of a store. During those five minutes, someone else has parked in a spot that is farther away and is already in the store.

Buying heartworm, flea, and tick preventives online can be just that like. Sometimes going that extra mile to get what may be just a bit of a savings ends up setting you back more than you know.

Online Is Often Not Cheaper

When you look at the prices of a single dose of most preventives, online pharmacies like Chewy.com and 1800petmeds.com are less expensive. But when purchasing product to cover 6 or 12 months, we are actually less expensive.

Right now, for Nexgard, when you buy 6 doses from us, you get an additional 2 free. This is about a $50 savings. And you get 3 free doses—a $75 value—when you buy 9. For Sentinel, when you apply the rebates offered here, we are less expensive when you buy 6 or 12 doses. (These are according to prices as of November 2020.)

Sentinel Spectrum Comparison Shopping
Our prices
w/rebate
Our prices
w/rebate
Chewy.comChewy.com
Weight class6 doses12 doses6 doses12 doses
2-8 lbs$40.76$59.84$51.36$102.72
8.1-25 lbs$42.98$65.24$53.01$106.02
25.1-50 lbs$52.40$83.12$64.61$129.22
50.1-100 lbs$64.88$108.44$77.86$155.72
Nexgard Comparison Shopping
 Our  pricesOur prices Chewy.comChewy.com 
Weight class6+2 doses9+3 doses6 doses12 doses
4-10 lbs$134.70$202.05$111.49$222.98
10.1-24 lbs$136.80$205.20$114.49$228.98
24.1-60 lbs$140.88$211.32$116.49$232.98
60.1-121 lbs$142.80$214.20$118.99$237.98

Preventives Guarantees

Most preventatives have guarantees on their products. For example, if your dog is on Nexgard consistently and does end up getting fleas or Lyme, Merial will cover testing and treatment, including a home inspection of your home in case of fleas, and up to $5000 in diagnostics and treatment for Lyme disease. But this guarantee is often only honored if the products are purchased from a veterinarian. Purchasing from an online source can void the guarantee.

A Final Word

This post is not meant to discourage anyone from keeping their pets protected. We recommend year-round preventives for heartworms, fleas, and ticks for dogs. Cats that go outdoors or live with a dog in the house should also be protected.

So, if you prefer to find these products online, then we will happily approve any online request for all of your up-to-date pets. But remember: if the pricing looks too good to be true online, it often is.

Alyssa Kritzman, DVM