Competition is Highly Desirable

There’s big news in the pet care business. I had to take my dog to the veterinarian the other day to update her shots, do some tests, and get her usual flea and heartworm medication for the season.

Can you say EXPENSIVE Batman??!!??!!

Now a vet is a vet and there isn’t much you can do about their fees. But, this medication for dogs and cats is outrageously overpriced. The amount of profit in the medication (liquid droplets) that my dog needs to keep fleas from getting into her fur has got to be huge.

It’s no wonder that companies like PetMed Express (NASDAQ/PETS) are so successful. You have to admire this company. It is taking on the virtual monopoly that veterinarians had on small (and large) animal medicine.

Naturally, the veterinarians are outraged. They just can’t handle the fact that they’ve got a little competition in the marketplace. In case you are a veterinarian reading this column, try going to to do a little price comparison. Perhaps you’ll buy some products for your pets from this company, rather than from your own animal hospital.

The whole business reminds me of the eye care business, where consumers used to have to go to their eye doctors to get the solutions necessary to clean and store contact lenses. One neat little company called Coastal Contacts is helping to provide competition is this area.

Now, more and more eye doctors are selling eyeglass and sunglass frames (with all related accessories) to bolster their traditional prescription granting practices.

It is one of the blessings that entrepreneurs bring to the world is that they chose to challenge existing industries by coming up with better ways for consumers to do business.

More competition means better prices for us, and hopefully more good investment opportunities in the stock market. Certainly when it comes to the business of pet care, I can personally attest that more competition is highly desirable.