Walmart is significantly expanding its pet health care network, aiming to have 100 veterinary clinics open in its stores within the next 12 months — a big jump from the 21 it operates today — according to a company blog post. The retail giant also is launching an online pet pharmacy: customers can now purchase prescription pet medications at WalmartPetRx.com.
Walmart Pet Rx offers low cost pet prescriptions for dogs, cats, horses and livestock from more than 300 brands, to treat conditions like flea and tick, heartworm, allergy, arthritis and more. The changes are designed to save customers as much as 40% to 60% on vaccines and minor illness packages and exams, according to Kieran Shanahan, SVP Retail – Food, Consumables, Health and Wellness, at Walmart U.S. eCommerce.
Later this month, Walmart’s 4,500 store pharmacies will begin stocking the top 30 most-requested pet medications.
Walmart will start the expansion by opening nine new Essentials PetCare clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in May and June.Essentials PetCare opened the first clinic in a Walmart store in Port Richey, Fla. in 2016.The clinics offer vaccinations and treatment for minor illnesses such as ear infections, skin conditions and urinary issues.
Walmart has seen a roughly 60% increase in the number of dog- and cat-related health care items sold on its web site over the past year, according to a company spokesperson. The pet products vertical as a whole has continued to see significant growth, even beyond that of top players PetSmart and Petco.
U.S. shoppers will spend a record $75.3 billion on pets in 2019, compared with $60 billion spent on pets just four years ago, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).In 2019, APPA estimates food spending will climb to $31.7 billion, with spending on vet care reaching nearly $19 billion; and spending on supplies and medicines amounting to $16.4 billion;
PetSmart-owned e-Commerce site Chewy filed for an IPO after generating $3.5 billion in sales in 2018. Target has partnered with popular dog-toy maker BarkBox to sell its treats and chew toys in Target stores and online. Amazon even has its own pet food brand called Wag, named after Wag.com, which it acquired when it bought Quidsi in 2011.
Additionally, Petco has partnered with JustFoodForDogs to open a kitchen at its Union Square New York flagship location, where it says it will produce more than 2,000 pounds of fresh pet food every day.