Amazon is reportedly considering an expansion into veterinary telehealth as it seeks to compete with Walmart, which began offering such services to its Walmart+ subscribers earlier this year. While Amazon is a dominant player in pet food and supplies, it has not yet significantly invested in pet health. The e-commerce giant is exploring veterinary telehealth, which enables virtual appointments with veterinarians and veterinary technicians, similar to human telemedicine.
This move aligns with the broader trend in the market, where companies like Chewy, Walmart, and Petco are expanding into pet health to stay competitive and tap into the growing $137 billion pet market. Amazon’s potential entry into veterinary telehealth could be facilitated through a partnership with a provider like Pawp, with which Walmart has already collaborated. Veterinary telehealth has gained traction during the pandemic, providing a convenient alternative to in-person visits.
The pet market is becoming increasingly competitive, with players racing to expand their offerings to include not just pet staples like food and toys but also health services. If Amazon proceeds with a pet telehealth program, it could integrate it into its Amazon Prime subscription service, similar to Walmart+ and its collaboration with Pawp.
However, the veterinary telehealth industry faces challenges, including a maze of state and federal laws and concerns about misdiagnosis or delayed treatment. The industry has been lobbying for regulatory changes, with contributions from corporate giants like Chewy and Mars Veterinary Health.
Amazon’s potential entry into veterinary telehealth reflects its broader interest in the pet market, as seen in its significant advertising spend earlier this year on a Super Bowl ad featuring a rescue dog. The U.S. pet market is expected to reach $200 billion by the end of the decade, driven by growth in pet health care.