Pet Food and Pet Supplies

Exploration into Vet Services Acquisition by a Leading National Pet Supplier 

The Challenge

Aiming to expand its brand wellness portfolio, a leading national pet supplier sought to investigate the relevancy of future acquisitions in the vet services space. This initiative aimed to understand pet owners’ current attitudes and use of veterinary services, spanning traditional office visits to alternative channels like in-store clinics, online consultations, and pop-ups. The qualitative research aimed to add dimension to these attitudes and obtain consumer language to craft a questionnaire for a subsequent quantitative Attitude and Usage Study.

The challenge was to gain a deep understanding of pet owners’ attitudes towards veterinary care, determining if their usage was based on attitudinal factors rather than the frequency of vet visits. The aim was to uncover the underlying motivations and barriers affecting their decisions regarding vet care. 

The Research is Aimed To:

To explore pet owners’ attitudes and usage of veterinary services. 

To identify drivers and barriers to using vet care. 

To inform the development of a questionnaire for a quantitative study. 

Online Focused Discussions

The methodology involved conducting eight webcam focus groups with dog and cat owners across the United States on July 26th and 27th, 2021. Participants were segmented into highly involved, medium involved, and low involved groups based on their frequency of vet visits and attitudes towards pet care. This qualitative approach was chosen to capture the nuances of pet owners’ experiences, beliefs, and preferences in veterinary care. 

Key Insights

Key insights revealed that attitudes towards veterinary care, rather than the number of vet visits, drive usage. Pet owners value the vet/pet relationship and the care provided, regardless of their frequency of visits. Those more involved in their pets’ care showed a strong belief in the necessity of vet care and made the most of their experiences for their pets’ well-being. Conversely, less involved owners viewed vet care as too expensive, seeing it as a “necessary evil.” 

Attributes such as compassion and open communication were paramount in defining a good vet care experience. Cost was identified as the most significant barrier to accessing vet care, highlighting the need for transparent pricing and open discussions about treatment options. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

This study underscores the importance of addressing pet owners’ diverse needs and attitudes towards veterinary care in planning future acquisitions in the vet services space. For the leading national pet supplier, these findings suggest a strategic opportunity to focus on: 

  • Enhancing communication and transparency in vet services. 
  • Addressing cost concerns through flexible pricing models or care plans. 
  • Offering integrated care solutions that align with pet owners’ desires for comprehensive brand wellness services. 

The leading national pet supplier can leverage these insights to tailor its acquisition strategy in the vet services space, ensuring its offerings resonate with pet owners’ evolving expectations and contribute to the broader goal of expanding the brand wellness portfolio. 

Team members who worked on this project