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Chewy Launches Virtual Veterinarian Counseling

Chewy is launching and expanding a telehealth service nationwide, offering virtual counseling to pet owners.

Chewy Inc.  (CHWY) - Get Chewy, Inc. Class A Report, an online retailer for pet food, said on Wednesday that it is launching a new telehealth service that offers veterinarian counsel to pet owners.

The “Connect With a Vet” telehealth service allows pet owners to connect directly with a licensed veterinarian and discuss the health concerns of their pets, the company said in a statement.

The vets will not diagnose medical conditions, provide treatment or prescribe medications, but they could offer referrals to their local vets or emergency clinics.

The service is free of charge and can be accessed through subscribing to the company’s Autoship program, which is responsible for nearly 70% of Chewy’s net sales.

“Visiting a local vet continues to be a challenge for many pet parents during this time. Similarly, the vet community has also been impacted via clinic shutdowns or reduced clinic hours. So, we thought, why not come up with a solution that can help both communities,” said Sumit Singh, CEO of Chewy.

The service originally launched in May in Florida and Massachusetts and expanded to over 35 states with plans of spreading nationwide.

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Chewy said that 80% of program users rated the service 10/10 during its pilot phase.

The company launched the service by partnering with vets impacted by the pandemic and those seeking to work through flexible schedules.

Earlier this month, a Jefferies analyst said that Chewy should benefit from increasing pet ownership.

Analyst Stephanie Wissink also nearly doubled her share-price target, to $100 from $59, after taking over coverage of the company.

In September, the company posted better-than-expected second-quarter revenue, as online sales of pet products due to in-shelter restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Revenue grew 47% to $1.7 billion for the just-completed period. It reported a net loss of $32.8 million, including a share-based compensation expense of $37.8 million.