New PetSmart program is all about helping vets help pets

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Photo: Getty Images/eclipse_images
Jun 10, 2022

PetSmart has launched PetSmart Veterinary Services (PVS) to help veterinarians open their own practices within the walls of the chain’s stores.

The pet products retailer paints a picture of difficult times for individually owned veterinary medical practices that have been declining in numbers as a result of industry consolidation that has made it difficult to compete against larger concerns.

The PVS model, according to PetSmart, provides vets with the means to open their open practices with access to customers built in. The chain operates more than 1,600 stores. The cost of opening and operating a practice is said to be at a fraction of what it would be in a standalone location.

“PetSmart already has one of the largest veterinary offerings with more than 700 partnering veterinary hospitals inside our stores providing convenient access to quality pet care,” J.K. Symancyk, president and CEO of PetSmart, said in a statement. “With the PVS independent ownership model, we can bring our size, capabilities and expertise as the leading pet retailer to support veterinarians seeking the independence and rewards of owning a practice.”

The demand for pet care services has increased in recent years as Americans adopted furry family members in record numbers. PetSmart says that the PVS model means that vets have access to modern equipment and a variety of resources, including construction, information technology, marketing, training and ongoing consultation to help them operate their businesses successfully.

“We’re on a mission to empower veterinarians and ensure greater access to care for pets,” said John Bork, senior vice president of vet health services at PetSmart. “We know these doctors will do anything for pets — they are the ones engaging with pet parents and providing expertise and care to pets of all kinds. With PetSmart Veterinary Services, we are able to support them in achieving their dreams and help them thrive as practice owners.”

The PVS program provides PetSmart with an answer to rival Petco’s rollout of veterinary services in a growing number of its stores. The two retailers have joined other brick and mortar and pure play e-tail operators in the category to expand beyond food and supplies to services such as grooming, insurance, pharmacy, training and more.

PetSmart said that every PVS practice will be required to maintain American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the franchise model help PetSmart scale its veterinary services more quickly than if it did it when done completely in-house? What do you see as the pros and cons of this approach versus building the program run entirely in-house?

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8 Comments on "New PetSmart program is all about helping vets help pets"


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Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

This program is the epitome of a win-win strategy. PetSmart wins by scaling their veterinary offerings faster, veterinarians win by having greater access to patients, and shoppers win by having convenient access to pet care (and supplies, of course, while they wait for their pets). What’s not to like?

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

This is a great idea. If you can get an eye exam at Sam’s Club, why can’t you (and your pet) visit the vet at a PetSmart? This makes total sense. And it’s convenient!

Shelley E. Kohan
BrainTrust

The PVS is a triple win for PetSmart, the franchisee and the customer. PetSmart is able to provide veterinary services for its customers without having to build out the business internally allowing the trained, certified experts to run the business. The franchisee has a better chance at success given the resources, tools and customer base to build their business in a cost-effective manner. Customers are able to receive services and help small business owners become successful. The only major downside is when the service delivered does not meet the expectations of PetSmart or the customers.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The plan is brilliant.

Is it a benefit for PetSmart to add veterinary services to their locations? A resounding yes! Should PetSmart implement its own services by employing vets and all that is necessary for the vets’ operations? A resounding no!

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

This is so needed for pet owners as vet appointments have been extremely hard to come by. I would give extra points to PetSmart if they allowed the vet to be open extended hours during especially busy times to really help pet parents.

EricaRetailNCR
Guest

So what happens with Banfield? PetSmart owned 30 percent of them at one point and they are in a ton of stores.

David Slavick
BrainTrust

Good point!

David Slavick
BrainTrust

This is a brilliant move by both Petco and Petsmart. It costs a fortune to open up a vet clinic, risk is huge, and it takes a long time to get to breakeven. Supporting new vet graduates and giving them the opportunity to build their own practice with a ready to serve clientele is just what the doctor ordered (HA!).

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