PetSmart Charities commits $100 million to support better access to veterinary care


Throughout the next 5 years, the nonprofit will provide this funding to help break down barriers to veterinary services

Cristina Conti /

Cristina Conti /

PetSmart Charities has committed $100 million throughout the next 5 years to help eliminate the geographic, cultural, language, and financial barriers that prevent pets from receiving essential veterinary care.

According to the 2021-2022 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, more than 70% of US homes have pets,1 however, 50 million pets in the US lack even basic veterinary care, including spay/neuter surgeries, annual exams, and vaccinations.2 When pets do not receive regular veterinary care, minor pet health develop into bigger, costlier concerns. Plus, preventable diseases can be transferred to people and other animals. This also may cause pet owners to relinquish their pet to already overcrowded animal shelters or watch them suffer as they can’t access treatment.

In an organizational release,3 PetSmart Charities estimated that it would cost over $20 billion each year to bridge the gap for pets in need of veterinary care at standard veterinary prices. To spearhead the initiative, the organization is teaming up with partners and stakeholders to create and execute solutions to solving the gap. Some necessary steps to be taken include expanding availability of lower-cost services, ensuring access for remote and bilingual communities, and ensuring there are a sufficient amount of veterinarians that can perform various services through clinics and urgent care centers.

"The challenges facing the veterinary care system are vast and varied and no single organization can solve them alone," stated Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities, in the release.3 "Through PetSmart Charities' commitment, we plan to invest further in our partners and build new alliances to innovate solutions across the entire system — while also funding long-term solutions already in place such as low-cost vet clinics and veterinary student scholarships. We're confident this approach will produce sustainable change within the veterinary care industry. Our best friends deserve access to adequate health care like any family members."

Affordability is the primary barrier to veterinary care, though some others include the veterinary shortage, veterinary deserts and cultural inclusion, economic challenges, and regulatory challenges.

To find solutions to address this crisis, PetSmart Charities’ $100 million commitment in funding over the next 5 years will take a multifaceted approach, including:3

  • Funding solutions across the system of veterinary care—from investing in new and more affordable types of clinics to working directly with providers to help them overcome challenges in care delivery.
  • Supporting innovative solutions such as new telehealth care and delayed payment models that reduce and help manage the cost of care for pet parents.
  • Partnering with universities and thought leaders to research the evolving needs of pets while developing innovative, cost-effective ways to deliver care.
  • Awarding scholarships to veterinary students pursuing community-based practices and establishing a training program for Master's-level veterinary practitioners to offer basic care at affordable prices.
  • Expanding access to lower-cost veterinary care through sustainable nonprofit clinics.
  • Developing community-based models led by local changemakers to improve access to veterinary care to underserved communities through an emphasis on their unique challenges.


  1. 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. American Pet Products Association. Accessed January 12, 2023.
  2. Fifty million pets don’t have access to veterinary care. PetSmart Charities. Accessed January 12, 2023.
  3. PetSmart Charities® commits $100 million to improve access to veterinary care. News release. PetSmart Charities. January 12, 2023. Accessed January 12, 2023.

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