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From Belly Rubs to the Best Training in the Business, We Do Anything for Pets

At PetSmart, we come from diverse backgrounds and bring many different skills to the table, but there’s one important thing we all have in common: we love pets! That’s what’s brought us together, and that’s what drives us forward.

We do anything for pets — the pets in our care, the pets available for adoption, and the pets in our communities. Here’s how we put that commitment to work, every day.

We Set Sky High Standards …

Nothing’s too good for our furry (and scaley … and feathery … and finned) friends, right? That’s why we strive to set the highest standards for pet care within the industry.

It starts with smarts. Our panel of veterinarians and our newly formed Vet Health Services team ensure our pet care practices, policies, and procedures are evidence-based and built on clinical best practices. We also have a cross-functional subcommittee that meets regularly to assess and refine our processes for ensuring pet health and safety. We have rigorous protocols, care guides, habitat policies, and cleaning standards for every type of animal we carry in PetSmart stores. These standards apply to our vendors as well, and we continually work to positively influence the upstream animal supply in the industry.

For nearly five years, we have leveraged the expertise of our Healthy Pet Advisory Council, which includes leading experts across pet food, nutrition, and veterinary medicine. The council provides nutritional education and guidance to the PetSmart team and provides guidance to help pet parents make informed product selections for their pet’s individual needs.

… And We Live Up to Those Standards

High standards only work if you uphold them! That’s why we have rigorous procedures for checking and rechecking that we’re doing everything right.

Our store leadership teams perform daily walks to check on associates and animals, logging data on the cleanliness of habitats and welfare of the pets in our care. Store and district leadership teams conduct more extensive logs every week and every quarter. If they identify room for improvement, they put audit accountability plans in place.

We also invest in improving our stores and distribution centers, including maintenance, upgrades, and new information technology infrastructure.

The results speak for themselves. Thanks to our associates’ hard work, our safety rate for controllable incidents is above 99.9%!

We Invest in Training

Love for pets may come naturally, but mastering proper pet care takes time, concentration, and education. That’s why we make thorough training a top priority. We put extensive effort into providing care guides and training that help store associates succeed.

All associates that work with pets must complete a “Pet Care Certification” program before working in a store. Each year, we train 3,500 salon associates through our Grooming Academy — the most in our industry with more than 800 hours of training provided to each person who completes the program.

Animal training associates complete 96 hours of training and hands-on practice, earning training accreditation and an annual safety certification. Hotel associates complete 21 hours of training through a safety-certification program, covering pet behavior, pet health, and welfare practices. We train all associates how to identify the critical signs of stress in animals.

Additionally, the seven National Certified Master Groomers on our field salon education team regularly engage with salon associates and we provide quarterly live trainings and continuing education courses.

We’re proud to say we train more pet specialists than any other retailer, and these associates receive more training than specialists working anywhere else.

We Ensure Responsible Pet Sales

We want to help customers welcome new pets into their family, but only when we can do so responsibly. Instead of selling dogs, cats, or rabbits in our stores, we work with rescue groups to facilitate adoptions. And we don’t sell any small animals that wouldn’t thrive in our habitats, such as iguanas and ferrets.

For our live pets business — which includes certain species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and other small animals — we only work with responsible vendors. We conduct reputational screening, facility visits, and comprehensive audits of all our vendors to ensure responsible care and handling of animals. We require any prospective vendor to agree to PetSmart’s Vet Assured Program, which details specific animal health and welfare standards, including facility requirements, biosecurity, nutrition, sanitation, veterinary care, and disease testing.

When selecting animals for sale in our stores, we also review and consider the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species, as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

We’re proud to lead the industry in providing top-quality pet care. Our comprehensive, veterinarian-supervised care program, Vet Assured, is the cornerstone of our commitment. Vet Assured includes rigorous care standards for how our suppliers care for animals, how we care for pets in our stores, and how we teach customers proper care before purchasing a pet. We’re always moving forward, continually conducting research, working with experts, and listening to customer feedback to ensure we’re doing all we can for pets.

Greg Costanzo, DVM

PetSmart Specialty Pet Health Veterinarian

We Support Rescue Groups and Pets in the Community

Our commitment to pets extends beyond our store walls into the communities we serve. Through PetSmart Charities, we’ve helped save the lives of nearly 10,000,000 pets in the last year alone — as well as donating 2.3 million units of pet food and 2.3 million plush toys to children.

In fact, PetSmart Charities is the leading funder of animal welfare in communities across North America. We've granted more than $500 million to change-making organizations that help transform the lives of pets and those who love them.

PetSmart Charities focuses on two key areas:

  • Connecting people & pets: We work with more than 2,500 shelters and rescues to help connect pets with loving homes. Adoption Centers in more than 1,600 PetSmart stores provide a clean, quiet, and convenient place to meet adoptable pets. Thanks to our rescue partners and store associates, a pet is adopted in a PetSmart store every 38 seconds!

  • Supporting People & Pets: We provide critical funding to programs that make veterinary care more accessible, help reduce food insecurity and provide support during times of disaster. We support pet needs through partnerships with leading organizations supporting the communities we serve including Feeding America, Meals On Wheels of America, the United Way Worldwide and the American Red Cross.

We also have a seat at the table in industry forums advancing best-in-class pet care — such as our participation in the Pet Advocacy Network (PAN) to promote animal well-being and to foster environmental stewardship, including through subcommittees focused on zoonotic diseases, small animal care and aquatics, among others.


The health and well-being of our teams, customers and pets has always been our top priority, and PetSmart’s pet care standards have never been higher. If you have questions about how we support pets or ideas you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please email us to let us know your thoughts.


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