Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

PetSmart’s push to address looming veterinarian shortage, diversify industry

PetSmart Veterinary Services
National pet supply chain embarks on mission to remove major hurdles and get more veterinary offices open across the country.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (STN) – A few years ago, PetSmart examined data about the animal healthcare industry and discovered a troubling trend: In the not-too-distant future, demand for veterinary services will far outpace the supply of available providers.

“We know that in the next 10 years, veterinary health is supposed to grow by over 33%,” said John Bork, PetSmart’s Senior Vice President of Vet Health Services. “Based on what we know today, there looks to be a shortfall of around 15,000 veterinarians in the next 15 years.”

So, in 2021, PetSmart set out on a mission to figure out how to get more veterinarians in a position to operate clinics.

“We put a lot of time and energy into understanding what we can do,” Bork said.

The following year, PetSmart launched its PetSmart Veterinary Services program, which provides clinic space within PetSmart stores across the country.

“The model is an opportunity for a veterinarian to own her practice,” explained Bork. “If she wanted to build one herself, she’d have to put a lot of time and energy into finding the location and building it all out.”

See John Bork explain the PetSmart Veterinary Services program:

Not only does the program provide operational space for a veterinarian to open a clinic, buying power and additional support, but the in-store location of the clinics also offers a huge base of potential customers.

As the PetSmart Veterinary Services program was being developed, leadership at PetSmart became aware that there was a significant racial disparity in the veterinary industry.

“Twenty years ago, only 2% of the veterinary profession was Black; today, it’s still 2%,” Bork said. “Finding a veterinarian inside a community of color is tough.”

As part of the program, PetSmart focused on diversifying the industry, and Bork said that of the over 750 in-store clinics that have been opened as part of the PetSmart Veterinary Services program, more than half have been opened with a person of color.

“We’re excited about the work we’re doing in DEI; we’re making a significant impact in diversity today,” Bork said. “This is more than just PetSmart. It’s bigger than just selling retail items. It’s about making an impact in the communities that we serve.”

To learn more about the PetSmart Veterinary Services program, click here.

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