This content was reviewed by veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Racine, DVM.
To keep the lights on, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. Our review process.
If you’re looking for expert veterinarian advice without having to spend the time and money visiting your vet’s office, what are your options? Fortunately, several reliable and surprisingly affordable services online connect you with licensed vets who can evaluate your pet’s situation and give treatment advice without the need for in-person visits. Read on to learn which ones are your best options.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks
|Overall||Non-Urgent Advice||Prescriptions||Emergency Fund||Subscription||Free For Auto-Shippers|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
What Services Can Online Veterinarians Provide?
In most cases, virtual veterinarians can give an online vet consultation to help triage patients, offer first aid advice, and general advice about nutrition or behavior issues. However, a Veterinarian-Client-Patient relationship (VCPR) is legally required to provide a diagnosis for medical conditions or prescribe medication for your pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
State regulations can differ in how a VCPR can be established. This means that you may or may not be able to get a diagnosis or prescription medicine depending on where you live and where the online vet you’re consulting with is licensed. Many states require that the VCPR be established in person. Some allow a VCPR to be established virtually with patients they’ve seen in person in the past, while other states have varying restrictions regarding prescribing medication virtually.
It can be confusing for pet parents, but the Veterinary Virtual Care Association has an interactive map to show you the laws in each state. Also, with some of the sites we review here, their veterinarians don’t diagnose or write prescriptions at all. We’ve noted these in our reviews.
Our vet telehealth reviews, and rankings are based on several factors, including quality of advice, accessible hours, response time, communication methods, cost, ability to get a prescription (where legal), and more.
Expert Advice About Emergency Funds: Some of the sites we review here offer an emergency fund that pays for life-saving care for your furry friend. While these sites are a blessing to help you cover emergency treatment fees, you’re required to chat with them beforehand to qualify for access to your fund. However, if your dog is experiencing a life-threatening situation, we urge you to also contact your local vet clinic (emergency or regular) and the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline (if you suspect a toxic reaction).
Airvet launched in 2018 and has quickly become one of the leaders in the veterinary telemedicine industry. Airvet now has a network of thousands of veterinarians across all 50 U.S. states and Canada. They also got huge backing in 2020 — $14 million in Series A funding.
You can connect with a licensed vet immediately for urgent matters for a flat fee of $75 with no time limit. Or, for less urgent cases, you can request a free chat session with your chosen primary veterinarian, who will contact you as soon as they’re available. In this case, each vet sets their fee, but they’re competitively priced and far cheaper than an in-person vet visit. For both types of requests, your session can last up to 72 hours for any follow-up care needed. And you can authorize a payment hold until the case is complete. You can sign up for free, and either member or not, the App service (via mobile device) keeps track of your recent visits and upcoming appointments.
Another option is to become an Airvet member for $30/month, which includes unlimited 24/7 video calls and access to a $3,000 life-saving emergency fund. How does this fund work? If an AirVet licensed vet determines that your pet is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you may access up to $3,000 to help pay for your pet’s emergency care. You can use this fund once per year for one pet (after an initial 14-day waiting period.)
|24/7 on-demand access to licensed veterinarians||No desktop chat available (but they say it’s coming soon)|
|Video call and chat available||A bit pricier than some competitors|
|A top preferred telemedicine provider for veterinary practices||Mobile only (not on desktop)|
|$3,000 emergency fund available for members|
|Airvet vets can write prescriptions where legal|
|User-friendly Android and iOS apps|
Best For Non-Urgent Advice: PetCoach Review: Ask A Vet
PetCoach by Petco Animal Supplies Stores is an excellent resource for people looking for vet advice for their pets. Their PetCoach mobile App has over one million articles and answers to all kinds of questions posed by users and answered by their vet experts over the years. You can easily search these for your specific needs for free.
They have two “Ask A Vet” services via their free App. After you register and create a profile for your pet, for $5, you can submit a single question and receive an answer from a vet tech or licensed veterinarian within 12 hours (many users say it only takes a few hours to hear back). Or, for $20, you can get an in-depth back-and-forth chat consultation with a licensed vet within six hours.
|Affordable in-depth consultation||No on-demand, immediate access to vets|
|User-friendly mobile apps for Android and iOS||No video chat available|
|Most users say responses are very helpful and reliable||Can’t get a prescription|
|You can browse previously asked questions and answers for free||No desktop version|
|Excellent website knowledge base|
Vetster, which launched in November 2020, has a network of 1,800+ licensed veterinary professionals across the U.S. and Canada who are available 24/7 through video, chat, and text sessions. You begin by searching for an available vet in your city or state to make an appointment, whether your need is urgent or for a later time. Depending on where you live, you may have to wait several hours for an appointment time, but in most cases, you can make a same-day appointment. You can see available appointments without signing up, and if you decide to book, you’ll simply register for an account and pay for your visit online.
Unlike Airvet and PetCoach, which require an app, you can use Vetster on your desktop computer or App. Vets set their own rates, ranging from $50 to $75 or more per session. However, each telehealth vet has a profile page with detailed information about their credentials and what they specialize in. So it may be worth it to you to pay extra to choose who you want to use. And if your pup needs a prescription, Vetster vets can prescribe virtually in the states where it’s legal.
Fortunately, each vet’s profile lets you know if they can prescribe to you. Currently, you can get a prescription through Vetster (at the vet’s discretion) if you live in Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington. But keep in mind that these regulations can change.
|24/7 on-demand access to licensed veterinarians that you can choose||Expensive compared to other services we review|
|Chat, text, and video sessions available||May not have immediate access to a vet|
|Vetster vets can write prescriptions where legal|
|You can choose from their available vets|
|Website has detailed profiles for each vet|
|User-friendly apps for Android and iOS|
Our readers can get 10% off their first Vetster appointment with the coupon code IMPACT15. Use this link to take advantage of this offer.
Best For Emergency Fund: Pawp Review
Pawp was the first online vet site to offer a $3,000 emergency fund to help cover unexpected emergency vet bills, and it’s become a popular option for many pet parents. How does it work? Pay $19 per month for unlimited 24/7 telehealth with vets and pet experts and to access the emergency fund. You can use the fund for one life-threatening pet emergency per year (after a 14-day waiting period), and it covers pre-existing conditions.
The caveat is that you must first have a face-to-face virtual call with a Pawp vet to determine whether your pup’s symptoms are a life-threatening emergency. And you must take your pet to a clinic within eight hours of activating your fund. Even if you (hopefully) don’t have to use Pawp’s emergency fund, the monthly subscription fee is reasonable compared to many other services. We’ve seen a lot of positive customer feedback about the quality of vet advice and speedy access to licensed vets.
|24/7 access to licensed veterinarians and pet professionals||No one-time consults available (monthly subscription only)|
|Unlimited video calls and texts||Can’t get a prescription|
|Includes a $3,000 emergency fund||No online version (mobile app only)|
|No appointments or wait times|
|Covers up to 6 pets (but emergency fund is only available one time per year)|
|User-friendly iOS app|
With over three million customers, WhiskerDocs is a well-respected online vet service that gives you access to licensed vets 24/7 with a variety of options. They stand out as one of the most affordable subscription plans available at $16.99 per month or $129.99 per year, giving you unlimited phone, chat, and email support 24/7. WhiskerDocs also offers on-demand single appointments by phone or live chat for $39.99 per session. And if your need isn’t urgent, you can consult with a vet via email for $4.99 per session.
WhiskerDocs also partners with several pet insurance companies. If you have a pet insurance policy with Pets Best, 24PetProtect, or Spot, you get access to WhiskerDocs included in your policy. This can be a great option if you’re looking for pet insurance and also want 24/7 remote access to licensed vets.
|24/7 on-demand access to licensed veterinarians||Single phone and live chat sessions are pricey compared to some other services|
|Phone and live chat available||No video chat available|
|Competitively priced monthly subscription||Can’t get a prescription|
|User-friendly mobile app for iOS||No Android app|
Best Free (For Auto-Shippers): Chewy
Immensely popular pet product website Chewy has a fantastic free telehealth service for auto-shipping customers (and reasonable fees if you don’t want to sign up for auto-shipping). With this “Connect With A Vet” service, you have unlimited access to licensed vets on-demand via live chat or a video call on your smartphone or desktop if you’re a member. It’s available every day of the week from 6am to midnight EST in all states except Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho.
This is an excellent perk if you want to sign up for auto-shipping for your pet’s food, treats, kitty litter, or anything else on Chewy’s site. There’s no extra fee to sign up for auto-shipping, and you get discounts on products. For those who aren’t auto-ship customers, Chewy has low telehealth fees of $14.99 for a live chat session and $19.99 for a video consult.
|On-demand access to licensed veterinarians||Not available 24/7|
|Entirely free unlimited access for autoship customers||Can’t write prescriptions (but they can fill ones from your personal vet)|
|Affordable one-time consult fees for non-autoshippers|
|Live chat or video availability|
|User-friendly apps for Android and iOS or desktop|
Those are the standout online vet companies, but there a few others worth mentioning as well.
AskVet is a well-established vet telehealth web portal that gives pet owners 24/7 access to licensed veterinarians 365 days a year. You can have access to unlimited live chats with their experts by purchasing their membership for $29.99 per month. And there are no time limits for a session.
It also includes a “Rainy Day Fund” to help cover emergency pet care costs. AskVet members get up to $1,000 each in their Rainy Day Funds, which you can use once per year. AskVet adds $45 per month to your fund until it reaches $1,000, so it’s not as lucrative as Pawp, Airvet, or OneVet‘s emergency funds.
|24/7 access to licensed veterinarians||No one-time consults available (monthly subscription only)|
|Up to a $1,000 Rainy Day Fund||Can’t get a prescription|
|User friendly apps for Android and iOS||No video consults|
|Includes a smart ID tag for your pet’s collar|
|Gives you a personalized lifestyle plan for your pup|
Bond Vet is a 2019 quickly growing startup company with several vet clinics in New York that provide in-person wellness and urgent care and live telehealth video calls with their licensed veterinarians. To request a video chat, you simply join their queue, and the next available vet will connect with you. However, they’re only available from 12 pm to 8 pm EST (seven days a week). A video call is pricey at $79 for a 20-minute session.
Still, if you think your pup may need a prescription, Bond Vet could be a good alternative to Vetster. Currently, their telehealth vets can prescribe and ship medication to residents of New York and Virginia. But starting in Fall 2022, they’re expanding this offering to Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oklahoma, Michigan, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. residents.
|On-demand single video consults with licensed vets||Limited hours|
|No subscription or appointment required||Expensive compared to many other services|
|Can prescribe and ship medication to NY and VA residents (more states coming soon)|
|See each vet’s credentials on website|
Fuzzy is a subscription-based service that gives you access to licensed veterinarians, registered vet technicians, and vet assistants. You can chat live with their team 24/7 with unlimited chat sessions for $79 per year. And their mobile app has video chat capability.
Fuzzy Pet Health also carries several pet health products, including flea and tick medications, probiotics, joint supplements, and more. A subscription gives you discounts on these products. Unfortunately, they don’t offer a one-time consult session, so you’re locked into a subscription. But you can try out Fuzzy with their 7-day free trial.
|24/7 access to licensed veterinarians||No one-time consults available (membership subscription only)|
|Video chat available||Can’t get a prescription|
|User friendly apps for Android and iOS||Too much emphasis on selling you products|
|Subscriptions include a personalized wellness plan, in-app health tracking, and discounts on health products|
|Free 7-day trial|
Use this link to get the best possible offer from Fuzzy.
JustAnswer is a popular expert Q&A website that connects visitors with verified experts in a wide variety of categories, including medical, legal, automotive, tech support, and veterinary medicine. Once you submit a question about your pet, they’ll notify you by text or email when your answer is ready. They say their average response time is six to seven minutes.
They offer a seven-day trial for $5 for unlimited chats (via text, phone, or email), so that’s the best way to try them out. But make sure you cancel your trial, or you’ll be charged a monthly membership fee if you don’t want to continue using their services. Monthly membership fees vary depending on the urgency and amount of detail needed to answer your questions.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any concrete idea of how much they charge (even a range of pricing). But based on our research, users say it costs far less than what you’d spend at a vet’s office. And with a monthly membership, you get access to all their experts, not just vets.
|24/7 access to licensed veterinarians||Must cancel the 7-day trial, or you’ll get charged a monthly fee|
|User-friendly mobile apps for Android and iOS (for members only)||No video chat available|
|Generally good user reviews for quality of advice and helpful experts||Can’t get a prescription|
|You can browse previously asked questions and answers for free|
OneVet is a more affordable option than Pawp or AirVet if an emergency fund is high on your checklist for a veterinary telehealth subscription service. With OneVet, 24/7 unlimited access to licensed vets and a $3,000 emergency fund is $19 per month (Pawp is $24, and AirVet is $30). The fund’s terms are similar to others — 1) there’s a 14-day waiting period once you join OneVet, 2) you must consult one of their vets to activate the fund, 3) get emergency clinic care within four hours, and 4) you can only use the fund once per year.
Unfortunately, there’s very little customer feedback online about OneVet, so we can’t get a good picture of the quality and speed of their services or how well-established the company is.
|24/7 on-demand access to licensed veterinarians||No one-time consults available (monthly subscription only)|
|Video and live chat available||Can’t get a prescription|
|Includes $3,000 emergency fund||Very few customer reviews online|
|Vet chat covers up to 6 pets dogs and cats|
|Can cancel subscription anytime|
|Apps for Android and iOS|
Reggie is a relatively new company that specializes in all-natural dog supplements but also offers a vet telehealth subscription. For $19 per month, you can message a vet 24/7 or schedule a video chat at any time. Their website says they can provide “prescription-based treatments” delivered to your door, but there’s no detailed information about how that works.
As with OneVet, we found scant customer feedback about their telehealth services. But we did find many glowing reviews for their dog supplements, so you may want to check those out.
|24/7 on-demand access to licensed veterinarians||No one-time consults available (monthly subscription only)|
|Video and live chat available||No mobile apps|
|May be able to get a prescription where legal||Very few customer reviews online for telehealth service|
|Can cancel subscription anytime|
|Free skin & coat health supplement when you join|
If you’re already a member of Banfield Pet Hospitals’ Optimal Wellness Plan (or want to join), you get 24/7 on-demand access to their licensed vets through their handy Vet Chat app. They can give you general advice for many questions, but this is a pricey option if you’re not a member and just want occasional online advice.
Banfield’s wellness plans offer preventive care, including bi-annual comprehensive wellness exams that can cover vaccinations, parasite control, dental, nutrition, and behavioral consultations. The plan requires a one-time sign-up fee and monthly payments that start at around $30 for dogs and $25 for cats. But keep in mind that monthly payments vary depending on breed, age, location, and other factors.
|24/7 access to licensed veterinarians||Must have a Banfield wellness plan to use Vet Chat™|
|Mobile apps for Android and iOS||No video chat available|
While these online vets are a great alternative for everyday advice and less serious issues, there are definite times you’ll need to visit a vet. Vet costs for severe conditions and accidents can rack up quickly — sometimes into thousands of dollars — so you may want to consider getting pet insurance. It can help protect your wallet from a major blow while ensuring that your pet receives the care he needs. See our reviews of the best pet insurance companies to learn more.Tagged With: Comparison, Reviewed By Dr. Racine, DVM