Every year, despite our efforts to remain as affordable as possible, costs for providing outstanding veterinary care increase.
Pharmaceutical companies, pet food companies, and reference laboratories annually mark up their prices 8% or more (even during the last recession). Veterinary practices’ overhead costs for insurance, utilities, taxes, and the like increase.
And to keep the same familiar, educated, and experienced smiling faces caring for your pets, staff wage costs rise as well, including the Seattle new minimum wage increase and rising health insurance costs.
Mars, Inc. Owns 15-20% of America’s Veterinary Hospitals
It’s a rapidly changing world out there. Small, family-owned veterinary clinics compete with huge corporations for purchasing power.
One corporation now owns 15 to 20 percent of America’s 26,000 pet hospitals — candy maker Mars, Inc. A $35 billion global business who makes the likes of M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Way, Skittles, Twix, and Wrigley’s, Mars now wants to provide your pet’s health care.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Mars has been buying up veterinary practices at break-neck pace over the past two years, and its pet-related holdings now include:
- Blue Pearl
- Seattle Veterinary Services
- VCA veterinary hospitals
Plus, they own pet food brands Pedigree, Whiskas, and Royal Canin; one of the two largest veterinary diagnostic reference laboratories (we use the other one); and Seattle-based Sound Technologies, a digital medical equipment company.
Three Ways To Support Neighborhood Pet Clinics
What can you do to help provide excellent care for your pet without breaking the bank or handing your pet’s care over to a multibillion-dollar corporation?
First, take measures to keep your pet healthy in the first place (See our article, 7 Ways to Care for Your Pet Without Breaking the Bank).
Third, carefully consider your online and big box store pet purchases – and choose to buy local instead.
Supporting your neighborhood, family-owned businesses with your purchases helps keep the focus on your pet, keeps the overall cost of pet care down, and keeps your money in Seattle, instead of the accounts of corporate stockholders.