2 Pet Medicine Stocks That Make Great Long-Term Investments

Just because some workers are returning to the office doesn’t mean that spending on pets has gone away.

Two out of three US households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Plus, the number of pets is increasing as is the willingness to spend on pet care. In the US, pet spending totaled $123.6 billion in 2021, according to the APPA, up from $103.6 billion in 2020, and marked the second consecutive record year.

Livestock care is also big business with emerging markets (such as China and India) increasing their protein demand. Global meat consumption is expected to hit between 460 million and 570 million metric tons a year by 2050, according to Statista.

Zoetis (ZTS 1.65%) other Chewy (CHWY -0.35%) are two of the bigger names, respectively, in animal medicines and pet products. Let’s see how they could benefit.

Zoetis shows consistent growth

Zoetis operates in more than 100 countries and has over 12,000 employees making vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic products to treat pets and livestock. It sells some 300 products across seven therapeutic areas for eight animal species.

Shares of the company are down more than 46% this year, but to me that just presents a better price point to get in on a solid company with sound fundamentals. The company has increased revenue and earnings per share (EPS) for six consecutive years.

For the just-reported third quarter, Zoetis had revenue of $2 billion, up 1% year over year. Net income totaled $529 million, which was flat sequentially but down 4% over the same period last year. Earnings per share (EPS) were also flat sequentially but down 2.5%.

Through the first nine months, the company had revenue of $6.04 billion, up 4%, year over year. Net income came to $1.653 billion, up 2% over the same period of 2021 and EPS of $3.51 was up 3%.

For all of 2022, the company downgraded earlier revenue predictions, saying it now expects revenue of $8 billion to $8.075 billion and EPS of $4.51 to $4.59. That compares to 2021 revenue of $7.8 billion and EPS of $4.27.

While the dividend yield is relatively low — roughly 0.99% — the company has raised its payout by 225% over the past five years. Zoetis increased its quarterly dividend by 30% this year to $0.325 per share, the fifth consecutive year it has increased its payout.

Chewy has delivered for shareholders

Online retailer Chewy has focused on delivering topnotch e-commerce customer service for pet products, including pet food delivery, and it also sells prescription medicines for animals.

The stock is down some 39% so far in 2022, but over the past three years it has risen more than 55% and its recent results encourage a look.

Over the past year, Chewy has increased the number of active customers to 20.5 million. As it has increased in size, the company said it has found ways to save money on its shipping. It has improved its supply chain with an updated inventory system that cut down the typical delivery distance — saving money on fuel and improving delivery times.

In the second quarter, Chewy reported revenue of $2.43 billion, up 12.8% year over year, with net income of $22.3 million, compared to a loss of $16.6 million in the same period a year ago. The average active Chewy customer spent $462 over the past 12 months, up 14.4% over the same period last year.

Over the past decade, the company has grown revenue 887%. One key for Chewy is its Autoship system, which gives consumers discounts if they set up automatic renewals of pet supplies, including medicines. That reduces customer turnover. The percentage of sales that come from Autoship has grown to 73.1%, from 70.3% in the second quarter of 2021.

The company is also expanding its pet health offerings. On Oct. 20, it announced a partnership with Lemonade to offer pet insurance.

Two recession-resistant companies

Pet healthcare spending, like human healthcare, is somewhat recession resistant. Pets are increasingly viewed as essential members of the family, and when Fido or Kitty needs medical attention, it isn’t seen as optional, even in recessionary periods.

The well-being of livestock is also an essential activity for global food production, regardless of the ups and downs of the macro-economy.

There is plenty of competition in the industry, so neither stock enjoys a moat, but they do have the edge in market share over competitors — and provide widely needed products and services.