With the advancement of technology aimed at making our lives more connected (as well as a giant shove from the most recent global pandemic), you don’t always need to head over to your vet’s brick-and-mortar location anymore!
That’s right: Pet owners can now speak with a vet from the comfort of home.
Virtual vet visits aren’t just convenient; they’re also less stressful for dogs than heading to a physical office.
Below, we’ll explain what to expect from a remote vet appointment and share the best places to get a virtual vet visit for your pooch.
- #1 Pawp [Best Overall Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit]: With unlimited chat and video vet consultations for up to six pets per membership and a nifty annual emergency reimbursement perk, this service is a mutt must-have.
- #2 AirVet [Runner Up for Best Overall Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit]: With on-demand and subscription-based options, AirVet is an exceptionally flexible model with perks like emergency financing and 24/7 video calls (for subscribing members).
- #3 Vetster [Best Subscription-Free Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit]: Skip monthly commitments and opt for on-demand care with this remote provider of vet care offering 24/7 care with vets in your state.
- #4 Hello Ralphie [Most Affordable Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit]: Save your doggy dollars with this wallet-friendly option, offering on-demand appointments with no subscription starting at just $35.
What Kinds of Services Can You Get from a Virtual Vet Visit?
In many ways, a virtual vet visit is a lot like a traditional appointment, covering common canine concerns like:
- Allergies (non-life-threatening)
- Ear infections
- Mild vomiting or diarrhea
- Nutrition advice
- Flea and tick prevention
- Motion sickness
- Itchy skin
- Eye discharge
What exactly can be addressed via virtual vet appointment varies by your location and the provider, however, as laws surrounding the vet-client-pet relationship (VCPR) differ in every state.
Some bar vets from writing prescriptions for virtual patients, for instance.
Virtual visits for everyday issues are great if your dog has mobility issues, anxiety, or experiences car sickness. They can also take the burden off you if transportation isn’t readily available or you’re dealing with health concerns.
Skip a virtual vet visit and opt for an in-person or emergency appointment for more serious mutt maladies, including:
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Breathing difficulties
- Suspected poisoning
- Suspected digestive obstruction
- Vomiting or diarrhea in medically-sensitive dogs
The Best Places to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
Virtual vet services are popping up left and right, but we’ve sniffed through them and retrieved our favorites. Check out these awesome options.
Best Overall Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
A subscription-based service offering unlimited consultations, including text chats and video calls, for one low monthly fee.
About: Pawp is a subscription service offering 24/7 vet advice for up to six dogs or cats in one household for only $24 a month. Fill your pets’ existing prescriptions through Pawp’s pharmacy, where many medications are offered at a discount rate.
- Unlimited video and text consultations provided with membership
- $3000 coverage for one veterinary emergency annually
- Covers dogs of any age, breed, or size (including those with preexisting conditions!)
- Can be canceled at any time
- Super affordable
- Excellent choice for multi-pet families
- Unlimited consultations earn a tail wag
- Emergency fee coverage is a major perk
- Subscription-based services aren’t ideal for everyone
- These vets can’t prescribe medication
Best Overall Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit [Runner Up]
A virtual vet app offering on-demand appointments and subscription-based care, all at affordable rates.
About: AirVet lets you choose between an on-demand $30-per-call design or an ongoing membership for $30 a month. Allowing up to six pets per membership and unlimited video calls 24/7, it’s a unique hybrid model of on-demand and subscription coverage.
- Covers the U.S. and Canada
- Provides coverage for dogs of any age, including those with pre-existing conditions
- Annual $3000 fund for treating life-threatening emergencies (members only)
- You may be able to see your current vet (though the fees may differ from AirVet’s fees)
- On-demand and subscription options
- We love the $3000 annual fund
- Great choice for multi-pet families
- Doesn’t accept pet insurance
- They’re still building up a veterinary roster
Best Subscription-Free Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
An on-demand service offering round-the-clock video chat appointments with licensed vets in your state.
About: Nab a virtual appointment without a subscription using Vetster, an easy-to-use service offering 24/7 online vet coverage. Use their user-friendly app, available for Android and Apple users.
- Browse from vets located in your state
- Customer reviews provided for each vet
- Appointment fees and times listed upfront
- Prescriptions available to pets in applicable locations
- No ongoing subscription fees
- 24/7 video chats offer fantastic flexibility
- You can choose between vets; you’re not simply assigned one
- Pricing varies significantly between vets
- Vet options limited in some locations
4. Chewy Connect With a Vet
Best Subscription-Free Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit [Runner Up]
Chewy Connect With a Vet
A convenient service offering one-click chats or scheduled video calls with a real vet without a subscription.
About: Chewy’s Connect With a Vet service provides instant access to chat with a licensed pup provider or video calls that are scheduled at your convenience. Available as an on-demand service with no subscription, it’s a win for filling in the blanks when your regular vet isn’t available.
- Free for autoship customers
- $14.99 per chat session or $19.99 per 20-minute video call for non-autoship customers
- Access a vet 365 days a year between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET, including holidays
- Can be instantly directed to suggested solutions on Chewy
- Nutritional and behavioral advice also offered
- Extensive service hours available
- Free if you’re a autoship customer
- No subscription needed
- Not available outside the lower 48
- Cannot prescribe medications
5. Fuzzy Health
Best Subscription-Based Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
A subscription-based veterinary service providing 24/7 access to pet health advice via chat or video.
About: Fuzzy Health offers 24/7 virtual vet coverage, including chat and video sessions. Choose between an annual membership for a fee of $79 or a monthly fee of $24.99, and enjoy a host of benefits, including free shipping on vet-approved products.
- Vet-selected pet products offered at a discounted rate
- At-home stool and urine tests available
- All household pets are covered by one membership
- Free 7-day trial available
- Choose between annual and monthly plans
- Free trial allows you to try the service before committing
- Can refill existing prescriptions
- Only covers dogs weighing between 5 and 132 pounds
- Cannot diagnose illness or prescribe medication
Best Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit with Your Own Vet
A handy app linking you to your current veterinarian for virtual visits, follow-up care, and questions.
About: TeleVet is a service that brings your vet home with a client-friendly app featuring scheduling, consultations, and more. Your vet needs to subscribe to Televet for the service to work, however, so not every clinic uses it.
- Schedule virtual follow-ups and request consultations
- Work with your current veterinarian for remote care
- Chat, call, and video formats available
- Share photos and videos of your pup for your vet to review
- Provides virtual access to your current vet
- Easy-to-use app interface
- No subscription fees (just your vet’s appointment fee)
- Doesn’t offer 24/7 access like other virtual providers
- Not every vet is on the platform
Best Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit With Your Own Vet [Runner Up]
An app-based service offering virtual veterinary care with participating pet healthcare providers.
About: Virtuwoof lets you connect with your vet from the comfort of your living room using its on-demand app. If your vet isn’t available, you can still connect with an Ask Virtuwoof Vet for trusted advice.
- Fees listed upfront for every vet
- Pay-as-you-go design with no subscription necessary
- Chat and live-video formats available
- Virtuwoof donates a portion of profits to animal shelters and vet education programs
- Lets your work with your vet on-the-go
- The app is simple and easy-to-navigate
- No ongoing subscription required
- Not every vet participates in the network
- Ask Virtuwoof Vet can only offer advice; they can’t provide a diagnosis
Best Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit for Multi-Dog Families
A telemedicine and tele-triage provider offering subscription-based care for up to five pets per membership.
About: Dutch has your pack’s back with unlimited vet chats and follow-ups, including video calls, for a monthly fee. Covering up to five pets per membership, it offers epic savings for everyday canine concerns.
- Covers dogs and cats (perfect for multi-species households!)
- Pup plans start at $25 monthly, with annual plans also available for cost savings
- Offers online pet prescription services to permitted states with free shipping
- No restrictions on pets with pre-existing conditions
- Significant savings for multi-pet families
- Unlimited vet chats offer peace of mind
- Free shipping on medications
- Does not accept pet insurance
- Not 24/7 like some other providers
- Subscription services aren’t everyone’s cup of tea
9. Hello Ralphie
Most Affordable Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
An on-demand provider of remote veterinary care (and sometimes prescriptions) beginning at just $35 per appointment.
About: Hello Ralphie offers on-demand virtual vet appointments ranging from $35 to $55 per visit with no subscription necessary. Just log on, pick the appointment time that works for you, and get ready to chat.
- Choose between single appointments and cost-saving bundles
- Advice-only and advice-plus-prescription appointments available (where permitted)
- Some pet insurance companies provide reimbursement for appointments
- Schedule on the site or via Hello Ralphie’s app
- Excellent pricing and cost-saving bundles
- Great choice for multi-pet families
- Pet parents love the easy-to-use nature
- Bundles expire after a year unless more are purchased
- An account is needed to view pricing
Best Comprehensive Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
An app connecting you to your vet at home and empowering you to make appointments, request preventatives, and more.
About: PetDesk provides a virtual vet connection and stores all your dog’s information in one place, saving time and confusion. Opt for a video visit with your vet, or simply manage his care schedule on the user-pleasing app.
- Schedule virtual and in-person appointments with your vet
- Set medication reminders
- Can order parasite preventatives in-app
- App is free for pet parents (just pay your vet’s designated virtual appointment fee)
- Stores all your pup’s info in one place
- Owners praise the app’s intuitive design
- Lets you keep your own vet for care
- No subscription or signup fees
- Your vet may not use PetDesk
- Some clinics don’t run as smoothly as others
Most Option-Friendly Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
A virtual vet provider offering pay-per services and budget-friendly subscriptions with chat, email, and phone support.
About: If you’re looking for care format choices, check out whiskerDocs, a service offering virtual veterinary support 24/7 via on-demand phone, chat, and email. Its single-use chat, email, and phone options are ideal if you’re not looking for a virtual canine care commitment.
- Pay-per email ($4.99), chat ($39.99), or call ($39.99)
- Monthly ($16.99) and annual membership ($129.99) options also availabl
- Responds to calls within 45 seconds, live chat within 30 seconds, and email within 2 hours
- Owners always speak to a licensed vet or vet tech for pet care advice
- Several service options to choose from
- Subscriptions are pretty affordable
- Response times are impressive
- No medications or diagnostics offered
- Only allow one pet per subscription
- À la carte options are pretty pricey
Best Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit for New Dog Owners
A virtual vet provider dishing out the best four-footer advice for pet parents at lightning-fast speeds.
About: AskVet has your back 24/7 with one-on-one pupper guidance, covering everything from behavior to preventative care. Using chat, you can navigate a multitude of pupper concerns and make the best choices for your fur kid with a licensed vet for only $29.99 a month.
- App-based program available for Android and iOS devices
- Accruable $1000 coverage for eligible emergencies
- Free smartphone-scannable pet ID tag with every membership
- Comprehensive intake questions help narrow down your doggo’s needs
- Excellent choice for newbie dog owners
- Affordably priced
- Pet ID is a great (and free!) extra
- While they offer an emergency fund, it’s capped at $1,000
- No telemedicine offered
13. Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan
Best Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit Nationwide
Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan
A virtual arm of Banfield’s brick-and-mortar offices found in most U.S. states offering a hybrid model of care.
About: Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan covers two virtual visits a year in addition to unlimited in-person exams at any of its nationwide facilities with a monthly fee. Pricing varies by doggo, with a medium-sized dog clocking in between $40 and $70 a month.
- Setup virtual visits with your local Banfield vet
- Vet Chat™ lets you upload a video of your pet for vet review and feedback 24/7
- Comes with phone coaching for canine nutrition
- Wellness plans offer coverage for everyday dog needs, including vaccinations
- Banfield locations are found in most U.S. states
- Hybrid nature appeals to many owners
- Packages allow for unlimited vet visits and chats
- Limited to 2 virtual appointments a year
- Requires the purchase of Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan
Best International Place to Get a Virtual Vet Visit
An app-based service offering two subscription plans with unlimited virtual visits in multiple countries.
About: FirstVet is a subscription service linking pet parents in several countries to unlimited video vet advice. Best of all, it’s offered at an affordable price, starting at $65.
- 6-month and yearly memberships available
- Prescription service available in NJ and NY
- Simple app-based format
- Virtual visits available 24/7, 365 days a year
- Offers unlimited virtual visits in multiple countries
- Very affordably priced
- User-friendly setup a win with dog parents
- Subscriptions aren’t a favorite for everyone
- Prescription service limited to 2 states
Telemedicing vs Tele-Triage: What’s the Difference?
There are a lot of tele- terms floating around virtual vetting, with the two most commonly used being telemedicine and tele-triage.
So, what’s what?
Telemedicine involves remotely treating and offering advice for animal patients, while tele-triage services help owners decide if seeking in-person vet care at a local facility is warranted.
Telemedicine is great for addressing run-of-the-mill pup problems during travel or when your vet is closed. This means things like minor tummy upsets or itchy skin.
On the other hand, tele-triage services are invaluable for determining if your dog’s symptoms warrant an emergency vet visit, potentially saving heaps of money and even your dog’s life. This would be useful in cases such as dietary indiscretions, which may or may not be dangerous.
Need more clarity? Here are two hypothetical scenarios:
- Telemedicine Scenario: You’re on vacation, and your four-footer experiences diarrhea during your evening walk. It’s nothing severe, but you’re away from your regular vet and need advice about settling his tummy. A telemedicine call with a vet can help.
- Tele-triage Scenario: Your dog is vomiting and hunched in pain. You don’t know whether this is another case of sour stomach or a life-threatening bloat incident. Using tele-triage, a licensed vet can evaluate your pup’s symptoms and advise if emergency care is necessary.
Virtual Vet Visit FAQ
Virtual vet visits have grown in popularity in recent years, but you might still have some questions about them. Check out these most commonly asked questions and get the scoop.
Can online vets write prescriptions?
Maybe. Laws surrounding the vet-client-patient relationship (VCPR) vary state to state, with some requiring an in-person appointment before prescribing medication while others deem a virtual visit adequate for meeting VCPR requirements. Always read a service’s fine print before signing up to ensure you get the level of care you seek. See our full list of places where you can get a vet perscription online here for more details!
Are online vets real?
Yes, online vets must be licensed just like traditional vets in brick-and-mortar establishments. As long as you’re using a reputable service with listed credentials, you can trust that you’re talking to a real vet. Some services can even connect you with your own vet as long as they’re in the network.
Note that some online veterinary sites delegate triage services to vet techs. While techs are still trusted pet professionals, some pet parents prefer a vet. Other providers use vague “pet professional” labels on those giving behavioral and nutrition advice, so always sniff around to ensure they’re legit.
What is AskVet?
AskVet is a one-stop solution for canine care, offering the answers to everyday problems surrounding diet, exercise, behavior, and more. There’s also triaging, where a vet tech and vet work together to determine if your dog’s symptoms warrant an in-person exam at your vet or local emergency clinic. It’s a nice helping hand for those less experienced with dogs.
Who is the best virtual vet?
The best virtual vet is one that works for you and your dog’s needs. Are you seeking advice on whether to head to an in-person exam or emergency clinic? A tele-triage service would be a good fit. Looking for a remote video visit with possible diagnostics and prescribed medication? Opt for telemedicine, provided you are in a location where medication can be prescribed via virtual VCPR.
Once you’ve established the type of provider, you can move on to things like membership requirements, hours of service, and more. A 24/7 provider is great for any owner, as medical issues almost sense your vet’s closing hour. We’d also recommend those offering cost-saving solutions, such as unlimited video calls and multiple pets per membership. Save those pupper pennies for something fun.
How much does a virtual vet cost?
Appointment fees for a virtual vet visit are often less expensive than in-person exams, ranging from $50 to $100. There may be additional fees, including medication costs, as with traditional care. That said, always read the fine print before using any service, as hidden costs can slip in and lead to a pricey surprise.
How do online vet visits work?
Online vet visits mirror traditional vet visits in many ways but also differ. Some offer self-scheduling services where you select the best time for you rather than calling in and scheduling with someone. The provider will likely call you via video call at the time of your visit, as most virtual vet visits are video in nature, allowing the vet to examine your dog’s behavior and appearance.
How do I know if my pet needs to see a vet?
Anytime there is a change in your dog’s behavior or his eating, drinking, or bathroom habits, it’s time to head to the vet for a sick visit. A mild case of vomiting or diarrhea can possibly be treated via virtual exam with a licensed veterinarian. By contrast, severe symptoms or any problems in medically sensitive dogs such as puppies, seniors, and those with preexisting conditions should be tended to by an in-person vet. Your dog should also see an in-person vet for injuries, seizures, and breathing issues.
Have you tried any of the virtual vets on our list? Did another wow you and your woofer? Share with us in the comments. We’d love to hear!