Dispose Your Pet’s Expired and Unused Medications

Have you ever wondered how to get rid of your pet’s expired or unused medications? If you have unused medications accumulating around your home, it may be time to round them up. Besides gaining back your cabinet space, disposing of unwanted and expired medications helps reduce the risk of accidental poisoning. While prescription and over-the-counter medications help people and animals when used appropriately, the same medicines can be dangerous when disposed of improperly. Fortunately, there are many options available to help, check them out below.

Ask Your Pharmacy

Most pharmacies will offer to dispose of medications originally purchased from them. Some pharmacies offer mail-back programs or offer disposal kiosks for unused medications. For example, VetRxDirect will properly dispose of any medications purchased from our pharmacy. Please contact our pharmacy for proper shipping instructions.

Consider Donation

Contact your local animal shelter or humane society to donate unexpired, unused, or leftover medications to help homeless pets. Some organizations are able to provide medications for pet owners with low incomes.

Ask Your Veterinarian

Contact your veterinary clinic. Some veterinary clinics will offer to safely dispose of your pet’s expired or unused medications. 

Find a Drug Collection Site

Some facilities and businesses are registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to collect old, unused, unneeded, or expired medicines. These authorized drug collection locations safely and securely gather and dispose of pharmaceuticals containing controlled substances and other medicines.

In your community, the authorized collection locations may be in retail pharmacies, hospitals or clinic pharmacies, and law enforcement agencies/ facilities. Some authorized collectors may also offer mail-back programs or collection receptacles like drop off boxes to assist you in safely disposing of your unused medicines. To find a local drug collection site:

  • Go to the DEA website and search your area by zip code or city & state
  • Use Google Maps and type in “drug disposal near me” or “medication disposal near me”.

Go to a Drug Takeback Event

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take-Back events. During Drug Take Back Days, temporary drug collection sites are set up in communities nationwide for safe disposal of prescription drugs. Also, local law enforcement agencies may sponsor drug take-back events in your community.Expired Medication Takeback

All medicines dropped off at drug collection sites or events will be destroyed and discarded. If you are interested in donating your medication, use this online resource to determine whether pharmaceutical donation and reuse programs exist in your state.

Safe Disposal of Medicines at Home

When none of these options are readily available, the FDA provides step-by-step guidelines for safe disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medicines in your home. 

Can I Get a Refund for My Pet’s Unused Medications?

For your pet’s protection, state and federal laws do not permit pharmacies to resell, restock, or redistribute prescription products if they have been returned after the sale, even if they are unopened. Once a prescription medication leaves the pharmacy, the efficacy, safety, and integrity of the medication cannot be guaranteed once returned. For this reason, pharmacies generally do not provide refunds for prescription medications.


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  • “Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA, 2019. Web.17 Nov. 2019.
  • “Drug Disposal Information.” US Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA Diversion Control Division, 2019. Web. 17 Nov. 2019.
  • “Disposal of Unwanted Medications.” American Veterinary Medical Association. AVMA, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2019.