Fellow millennials, they have found our weakness: pets and good, good deals. This week it was announced that Walmart is launching an expanded pet pharmacy to capitalize on millennials’ spending habits on their pets. The love you have for your pup may be priceless, but their heartworm medication sure is not.
“Millennial dog owners... spend up to $1,285 a year on their furry friends,” Kieran Shanahan, senior vice president of retail for Walmart US ecommerce, wrote in a recent blog post for Walmart. Shanahan noted that vet care, vaccinnations, and food are among the top expenses for pet owners. “We’re about to bring that cost down.”
Starting on Tuesday, May 7, Walmart is now offering discounted prescriptions online for dogs, cats, horses, and livestock. Through WalmartPetRx.com, pet owners can peruse the selection of medications from more than 300 brands. Prescriptions can be shipped right to your door (with free shipping on order over $35) or picked up in store. “[L]ater this month we’ll stock our 4,500+ pharmacies with the top 30 most requested pet meds,” Walmart’s blog post states, which means you’ll be able to have same-day pick up for those more urgent prescriptions.
This online pet offering also includes an expanded selection of organic pet food options. In addition to adding more “wholesome,” grain-free, and “health conscious” brand options, Walmart’s private label is growing to include more pet food with “premium ingredients, like farm-raised chicken.” Plus, these options will be available at three-fourths the price of competing brands.
Pet prescriptions will also come at a slightly discounted price. For example, Trifexis, the popular flea and heartworm preventative medication, is available for $89.99 before tax on Walmart’s pet med site. Undiscounted, Trifexis typically runs about $150. However, you can find the same medication for just under $94 on sites like 1800PetMeds. So, Walmart’s option seems to be the best deal.
Walmart will also be expanding its in-store vet clinics. Currently, has 21 vet clinics in six states, per CBS News. Between the end of this month and June, they will be opening an additional nine stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Walmart’s blog post says the clinics will “save customers as much as 40 to 60 percent on vaccines and minor illness packages and exams.”
Getting pet insurance isn’t uncommon for many pet owners, with many vet clinics offering payment packages for pet owners. Per a survey from Ameritrade, a large majority of millennials (94%) say owning a pet is about as expensive or more expensive than they anticipated with four-in-ten saying it’s “more expensive” than expected.
The cost of owning a pet certainly adds up quickly. The American Kennel Club estimates the average amount of money you’ll spend on a dog is about $23,410. With millennials’ collective student debt crossing the $1 trillion mark and fewer millennials having children and citing cost as one of the reasons, money is certainly on the millennial generations’ minds.
However, that doesn’t seem to be stopping millennials from dropping serious dollars on their dogs and cats. Fashion website Fashionista notes that millennials are driving the petwear industry, citing twenty- and thirtysomethings as their target customer for items like $400 puffer jackets for dogs. “As a generation that puts off having children or opts out of it entirely, they’re putting greater focus on pets instead,” Emily Anatole, insights director at cultural strategy and trend forecasting company Cassandra, told Fashionista. “Many are treating their pets as if they were kids and devoting a growing share of their disposable income to them.”
Perhaps Walmart’s new pet Rx program will help save a little of that disposable income for other things...like more puffer coats for your dog.