People who own pets might be tempted to look for cheaper products online right now because money is tight and they want to cut some corners. But, as News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports, it's buyer beware. Veterinarians say it's a problem that came with the internet and shows no signs of going away.
Ordering popular meds like Frontline or Advantage online is cheap and easy. But, Green Country vets say it can also be deadly.
Eighty-three million households own a dog or cat. The Pet Manufacturer's Association says owners will spend more than $20 billion this year on pet meds. Veterinarian Dr. Paul Welch says it's easy to cut a corner by buying cheaper products online.
"You think you're protecting your pet, and you're not," said Dr. Paul Welch, veterinarian.
The EPA is saying more and more, orders are being shipped in illegally from overseas.
"If you give the medicines and do have a problem, then it's a danger to the dog. It becomes life-threatening," said Welch.
Often times they're expired medicines that are repackaged. Or, there's no medicine at all.
"Let's say you're on heart worm preventative. And you get heart worm preventative and all of a sudden, you find out it's not legitimate. Well, you think you're protecting your dog all year long from heart worms, then you find out you're giving a sugar pill," said Welch.
The best way to make sure your pet meds are legitimate is to open the package up and make sure that each individual applicator has a label with the active ingredients. And, most importantly, the EPA registration number
The EPA says with today's economy, counterfeiting is a growing problem.
"The frustration is that it just keeps happening. You get caught, and you pay your fine. You keep going," said Welch.
Welch says your safest bet is to buy directly from your vet.
Several websites have been temporarily shut down over the years for selling fake meds. But, Dr. Welch says importing unsafe meds is a booming business. The reason vets say it's better to get your medicines from them is because they order directly from the company.