TheStreet's Jim Cramer loves his dogs. He's not alone.
The love pet owners share for their small companions goes beyond just sharing photos on Facebook (FB - Get Report) of the latest trick Fido learned. They tend to spend big, and often. Pet industry spending for 2016 came in at a record high $66.75 billion, up 10.7% from the prior year, according to the American Pet Products Association.
As a result, says Cramer, the humanization of pets is an up and coming investment opportunity.
At TheStreet's Financial Success Strategies teach in on Oct. 28, Cramer said the best stock pick in the growing field of intense pet care is Idexx Laboratories Inc. (IDXX - Get Report) . As men and women start to spend as much on pet health as they would on their own healthcare, Idexx is positioned to push higher with its cutting-edge veterinary product lineup.
"My favorite means Idexx Labs, best veterinary products out there, bar none. It's a laboratory of invention," Cramer said.
Idexx has recently struck what Cramer called "liquid gold" in its newest lineup of pet urinalysis kits. The amount of information about pet health that can be garnered from urinalysis is second to none. And these days, people are willing to spend major bucks ensuring their pets' well being. That means investing in expensive urinalysis kits for some owners.
"You bring the device in, and then everything else, all the other service stuff is where the revenue is. That's why you get a 50 multiple [on the stock], not a 15 multiple," Cramer noted.
Cramer said Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. (BUFF) isn't the right pick on pet humanization, despite a third quarter earnings blowout. "It's at 29 dollars, not my favorite, I think you're doing it on a secondary if you'd give them a chance," Cramer added.
Idexx really is, as Cramer said, a laboratory of invention. It's currently got pregnancy tests for cattle that use just milk to determine if a cow is carrying, early diagnostic tests for feline kidney disease, and low-dose small animal radiography that's unparalleled in the market.
Beyond just its innovative product line, Idexx has the right leader at the helm in CEO Jonathan Ayers, Cramer added.
"I love a guy who starts our interviews by saying, 'Before we get started, how are Bug and Everest?' My two rescue dogs," Cramer said. "There's a guy who's focused, right? He's veterinary focused."