Walmart Expands Animal Health Plans With First Pet Services Center

Walmart Expands Health Plans With First Pet Services Center

Walmart’s latest venture into the healthcare space involves four-legged patients.

The retailer announced in a Thursday (Sept. 20) press release the launch of its first pet services center, based in Dallas, Georgia.

“We know that pet services are essential for pet parents, but for many, the experience can be costly and disjointed,” Walmart Vice President of Merchandising of Pets Kaitlyn Shadiow wrote in the release. “At Walmart, we have an opportunity to help our customers save precious money, time and effort by offering a destination for pet services at the same place they purchase their pet food and supplies.”

The new operation will offer pet services within a dedicated storefront, such as routine veterinary care — which includes vaccines, wellness exams and minor medical services — grooming and a self-serve dog wash, according to the release.

The center will act as a pilot, and the model could expand to other communities, the release said. The company already offers in-store vet clinics at more than 65 stores across the country, owned and operated by PetIQ. It also stocks pet medications at its pharmacies.

“And for an even more seamless experience, a new online Pet Pharmacy experience is coming soon to and the Walmart app,” the release noted.

Earlier this year, Walmart joined the up-and-coming pet telehealth sector by offering Walmart+ members a free year’s subscription to the veterinary telehealth platform Pawp.

Walmart is tapping into a pet healthcare market worth at least $43 billion, as Mita Malhotra, vice president and general manager of Chewy Pharmacy and Healthcare, told PYMNTS earlier this year. However, there is still room for growth, with just a handful of states permitting complete virtual veterinary services.

Meanwhile, other players are looking to get into the pet health market, such as Mars. CEO Poul Weichrauch projected earlier this year that the growth rate of the company’s pet care business will eventually surpass that of its candy sales due to the changing role of pets in our lives.

“Forty years ago, a pet was living out in the garden,” Weichrach said in March. Now, “80% of millennials in the United States sleep in the same bed as their dog.”

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