Animal Care Standards
Petco is making health and wellness accessible for pets through our commitments, products and services. Not only do we set the industry standard for responsible pet care; we exist to create a world where pets live their best lives.
Petco’s top priority is always the health and wellness of animals. We pride ourselves on having the industry’s strongest standards for companion animal care and welfare, developed under the supervision of our own veterinary staff, along with counsel from an independent panel of experts in animal care, behavior, ethics and welfare. We maintain stringent animal care policies, procedures and veterinary-approved guidelines to ensure animals feel secure, comfortable, happy and loved at all times. These standards were developed – and are continually reviewed and updated – under the supervision of Petco’s Chief Veterinarian, with expert independent counsel.
Our Petco family is made up of pet lovers who are passionate about animals. We’ve demonstrated our commitment to helping pets live long, healthy and happy lives through a long history of decision making as well as changes to our policies and practices in order to do what's best for them.
All Petco partners are required to complete training and examinations before they work with animals. Pets that come in for grooming receive our 7-Point Pet Care Check before their sessions where Petco partners look for signs of anything abnormal that could impact the pet’s total health. If anything is noticed during the check, pet parents are encouraged to take their pet to a veterinarian for a professional evaluation. Additionally, each Petco grooming salon works with a designated veterinarian partner from the local community to ensure pets in our care receive the highest standards of care.
To ensure we continue serving in the best interest of pets today and into the future, we launched the Petco Pet Wellness Council in 2019. This coalition of independent, leading experts in veterinary science and animal care, is charged with serving as an external source of unbiased advice and counsel to Petco’s leadership team on a range of topics across the pet care industry, as well as guiding the development and aggregation of credible pet care science to help educate pet care professionals and, ultimately, all who care for pets.
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Vendor certification and Standards of Excellence Program
Our high standards extend to our suppliers. We require all live animal vendors to participate in the Petco Vendor Certification and Standards of Excellence Program. As part of this program, all vendors are inspected and must pass a rigorous certification process. For existing vendors, we complete onsite audits of their facilities at least annually. Audits are unannounced so that we can get an accurate representation of their care standards and ensure they are meeting our requirements. New vendors will be subject to an audit as part of their on-boarding process, and will also be subject to another unannounced audit within the first year of doing business with us.
Product safety and quality assurance
The safety of our products is paramount. All Petco quality test protocols are developed by quality assurance professionals and tailored to each of the individual animals’ needs. Our process usually begins with a human-level quality assurance protocol that is quickly adapted to meet the appropriate safety standards for the pet the product is intended for.
Shock collar removal
In 2020, we eliminated shock collars from our shelves and website, strengthening Petco’s commitment to positive reinforcement training methods. Recognizing the opportunity to create real change, we’re also calling on the industry and consumers to join our movement via an online petition aimed at creating responsible regulation for the retail sale of shock collars to general consumers.
Positive reinforcement training
Petco offers Positive Dog Training classes focused on promoting a relationship of mutual respect and trust between pets and pet parents. Our classes use positive, voluntary and reward- based training methods to teach pet parents how our dogs think, learn and communicate, and how to encourage appropriate behavior for the real world.
Think adoption first®
Petco has never sold cats or dogs and, in 2008, we stopped selling rabbits as well. Dogs, cats and rabbits are the three most popular pets in the U.S.; they are also the three most often relinquished to animal shelters. 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. We work with thousands of local animal welfare organizations to offer dogs, cats, rabbits and other companion animals for adoption in our stores.