Pets are our passion. We are revolutionizing pet health & wellness across our industry, and each year, we strive to advance the standard of care for pets, taking into account their whole health. We are committed to continuously leading the field on pet nutrition standards and have recently extended our focus on healthy ingredients to grooming as well. We’re increasing access to veterinary care, adding new diagnostic tools, and promoting preventive care to help pets have the best outcomes possible. We’re also giving back to pets in our communities with life-saving care through our independent foundation, Petco Love.
The humane and responsible treatment of animals is of paramount importance to us, and we do not tolerate pet abuse or neglect of any kind. Our responsibility to animal wellbeing starts before animals arrive in our care through our vendor protocols and extends throughout all situations during their time with us, including supporting pet parents with animal welfare and providing them with the resources they need to meet the wellbeing needs of their pets.
We also invited American Humane to conduct on-site audits of our Pet Care Centers and animal supplier facilities. Their audits included observing animal behavior, veterinary care, habitats, nutrition, and safety processes. In March 2022, we were proud to become the first and only pet retailer in the world to be awarded the American Humane Certified™ Seal of Approval for our industry-leading standards.
Our companion animal and aquatic life vendors are required to uphold the same high standards of animal care and welfare as we do by participating in our Petco Vendor Certification and Standards of Excellence Program. New vendors are subject to an audit as part of their onboarding process and must pass a rigorous certification process before we begin working with them. They also undergo another unannounced audit within the first year of doing business with us. For most of our existing vendors, we conduct unannounced on-site audits at least once a year and ask others to complete self-audits, which are reviewed by our Animal Care and Education and Vendor Operations teams. In 2022, 88% of audits were conducted in person. Vendors who fail to meet Petco’s standards during the audit are provided with a corrective action plan. If the corrective action plan is not completed to our satisfaction, Petco will discontinue the relationship with the vendor.
Pet Care Center employees must successfully complete a Beginner Animal Care curriculum as part of their onboarding process and, depending on their position, an Intermediate Animal Care and Advanced Aquatics curriculum is assigned. While in our care, every animal is required to receive an hourly health check to maintain their continued safety and wellbeing. If any issues are identified, they must be addressed immediately. Ill or injured animals—as well as overstock, adoption, and maternity animals—are cared for in our Wellness Rooms, which are kept to our highest health and cleanliness standards.
Our Veterinary Advisory Council (VAC) represents our network of more than 200 vet hospitals operating at Petco Pet Care Centers. The VAC helps us provide consistent veterinary services across locations that offer them. The group meets periodically during the year to discuss medical quality standards and pet welfare during veterinary services. Additionally, Petco Pet Care Centers that house companion animals but do not offer in-store veterinary services have relationships with local veterinarians to provide care as needed.
To further our mission to continuously serve in the best interests of pets today and tomorrow, we formed the Petco Pet Wellness Council (PPWC) in 2019. The PPWC includes veterinarians and other doctoral-level professionals with expertise in nutrition, zoonotic diseases, preventive medicine, oncology, pet behavior, education, clinical veterinary medicine, and telehealth.
Dogs, cats, and rabbits are the three most popular pets in the United States, as well as the three most common animals relinquished to animal shelters. Petco has never sold dogs or cats. We stopped selling rabbits in 2008. We follow and promote a Think Adoption First philosophy, which strongly encourages prospective pet parents to consider adopting a homeless animal rather than purchasing one. Through our partnership with Petco Love, we offer dogs, cats, rabbits, and other companion animals for adoption in our stores.
We strongly believe in the use of positive reinforcement training methods, which have been shown to be more effective than aversive methods and punishments.
In October 2020, we became the first major pet retailer to stop selling any human or bark-activated shock collars in our Petco Pet Care Centers or online. We also called on the rest of the pet industry and consumers to join our movement to #stoptheshock by launching an online petition aimed at creating responsible regulation for the retail sale of shock collars to general consumers.
We wanted to remove the difficulty and confusion around ingredients in pet food, so in 2019, we became the only national pet retailer to remove all food and treats with artificial ingredients from our shelves.
The safety of our products is paramount. Our Six Steps to Total Quality assurance process is designed to ensure the safety, quality, and reliable performance of our owned brand products. It encompasses each stage of the product lifecycle from vendor selection and product conception through design, development, production, testing, consumer monitoring and improvement.
In addition to the ingredients wefeed them, the ingredients we put on pets’ skins can also enter their bodies and impact their health. Over the past three years, we have been gradually removing unnecessary ingredients from the grooming products we sell and use, including:
• Chemical dyes
In April 2023, we launched our Clean Grooming campaign, which extends this effort to our grooming services. Petco’s Self-Serve Dog Wash stations also offer Clean Grooming products only.
As one of the world’s largest buyers of marine aquatic life, we strive to lead the way in conserving ocean life. Wherever possible, our marine life is aquacultured (born, bred, and raised in an aquarium environment); if this is not possible, then our marine life is sustainably collected following strict standards.
In 2022, 92% of the total aquatic life we sold was bred via aquaculture. Our Vendor Certification Program allows us to track the collection or breeding site of all our aquatic life, which is audited annually, and ensures vendors meet our requirements. Our commitment to aquaculture has encouraged the breeding of marine species that were not previously available through aquaculture, helping us make progress that impacts the entire industry.
Pet cancer is one of the biggest threats to a pet’s life, and unfortunately, many pet families can’t afford treatment. The Yummy Memorial Pet Cancer Fund, launched in February 2023 in partnership with Blue Buffalo, provides financial support to Petco employees whose pets have been diagnosed with cancer and who might otherwise not be able to afford treatment, and is part of our support for the fight against pet cancer and ensuring everyone can access care for their pets.
Pets in the Classroom is a program under the Pet Care Trust, a nonprofit foundation that aims to enhance students’ educational and personal development through interaction with pets in their classroom. Teachers have reported that a classroom pet enhances student compassion, responsibility, engagement, attendance, social skills, self-esteem, and even academic performance. For more than a decade, Petco has been partnering with Pets in the Classroom, funding grants for pets in thousands of classrooms nationwide.
Petco Love, formally named The Petco Foundation, is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is proudly leading the way in pet lifesaving programs. Together, Petco and our generous customers have donated $330M to date, enabling Petco Love to save 400,000 pets from euthanasia. These funds have also allowed Petco Love to serve families and create communities that are closer, healthier, and stronger.