Walmart is offering increased services to accommodate new pet owners.
As a side effect of the ongoing pandemic, animal shelters, breeders, and pet stores have been reporting a notable increase in adoptions. Some have theorized that more people are adopting pets in order to make up for loss of regular social interaction. Whatever the cause, this increase, along with an increase of valuation in the pet care industry that has been present since before the pandemic, is attracting investors.
Big-box retail chain Walmart announced today that it is launching its new Walmart Pet Care service. In addition to the chain’s usual sales on pet-adjacent merchandise such as food, toys, and beds, Walmart has partnered up with Petplan to begin offering in-store pet insurance plans, as well as dog walking services through Rover. While Walmart has not divulged the precise terms of its contract with Petplan and Rover, it has said that customers that use the services through them will be eligible to receive discounts and gift cards.
“We’re focused on bringing our customers and the beloved pets in their lives trusted, convenient and affordable programs at one destination,” said Melody Richard, vice president of Walmart Pets. “And we’ll continue to focus on that.”
These new services stand to give Walmart a fighting market presence against other pet-specific big-box retailers such as Petco and PetSmart. One of Walmart’s biggest competitors in this new endeavor is Chewy, who just last month launched a new telehealth service that connects pet owners with vets remotely. Walmart currently runs its own online animal pharmacy service, WalmartPetsRX, that distributes medication for both pets and livestock animals. It is Walmart’s hope that the new Pet Care services will encourage repeat business for all animal-related needs.