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Past Canine Meals: Walmart is including pet insurance coverage as animal adoptions enhance throughout a pandemic

In addition to purchasing bags of dog and cat food, pet owners can now contact Walmart to get insurance and find a babysitter for their beloved pets.

Starting Thursday, the retailer will be selling Petplan pet insurance, connecting customers to dog walking and more via Rover. The company is launching Walmart Pet Care, a new landing page on its website, as a one-stop shop where customers can find their full range of animal products and services.

Melody Richard, vice president of Walmart Pets, declined to share the terms of the contract with Petplan and Rover. She said Walmart customers get unique discounts and perks. Customers can save up to 10% on insurance policies by contacting the big box dealer. They get gift cards to Walmart when they book pet care or a dog walking through Rover.

"We are focused on bringing our customers and the loved ones in their life to trust, convenient, and affordable programs in one place," she said. "And we will continue to focus on that."

Walmart is expanding its range of pets at a time when more Americans are adopting new dogs, cats, and other living things. The pandemic boom in pets has also made chew toys, seasonal costumes, and pet supplies popular gifts categories this holiday season.

Animal care was a growing market even before the pandemic. According to Jefferies Research, the US pet care industry is expected to grow from a $ 53 billion market to about $ 64 billion over the next four years.

This has increased competition between companies wanting a bigger slice of the pie, including superstores like PetSmart and Petco, big box retailers like Walmart and Target, and e-commerce providers like Chewy.

In late October, Chewy launched a telemedicine offering that allows customers who subscribe to the AutoShip service to consult a veterinarian about general concerns. Walmart and Chewy also have the potential to gain market share as some pet pet retailers are struggling. Pet Valu announced plans this month to close its 358 stores in the US.

Walmart estimates 90 million pet owners shop in its stores and on its website. Last year, WalmartPetRX launched an online pet pharmacy selling prescriptions and hundreds of brands for dogs, cats, horses, and cattle.

By offering multiple services, the retailer hopes pet owners will spend more on their stores. For example, customers who purchase pet insurance through Walmart can later have pet medication filled up at the pharmacy.

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