Top 8 US Pet Industry Stocks to Invest Into

The U.S. pet industry is constantly showing a healthy growth trajectory. Sales of pet related products have risen almost 5% in 2017, reaching $69.51 billion in sales. The steady growth in veterinary services and pet food market has been the major contributor to the advancement of the pet industry, which is now estimated to reach $86 billion by the end of 2018 as per recent data.

Animal lovers who believe in the U.S. economy's and pet industry's future growth, and are interested in investing into some stocks within this market have a few great options to choose from. Here are eight best U.S. stocks for animal lovers to start with.

Zoetis (ZTS)

Zoetis (ZTS)Some analysts argue that the company is one of the safest bets on the market for animal lovers. Zoetis currently ranks as the No. 1 animal-health company in the world. Parasiticides, vaccines, medicated food additives and other pharmaceuticals are some of the most popular products made by the company. Zoetis is focused on improving the health of both livestock and pets.

The company was a subsidiary of the largest drug-making company, Pfizer, until 2013, when it spun off from it and went its own way. Since then, their stock price almost doubled in value. What’s more important, this stock seems the most stable out of any other animal related companies you find and was barely affected by recent dips.

Central Garden & Pet Company (CENT)

Central Garden & Pet Company (CENT) StockCentral Garden & Pet Company with its subsidiaries makes products for the lawn and garden market, but also a range of pet supplies, adding to the market's massive growth in recent years. In fact, the Pet segment of the company is the more profitable one since it accounts for over 60% of their revenue.

This segment of the company produces edible bones and chews, dog and cat treats, food, toys, grooming supplies and more. The company sells its products to many independent pet distributors, as well as retail chains, mass merchants and grocery stores and rapidly growing online suppliers like Amazon and Chewy.

Freshpet (FRPT)

Freshpet (FRPT) StockFreshpet is one of the biggest manufacturers and distributors of natural foods and treats for dogs and cats in the United States. They produce both fresh products and refrigerated meals for pets. This company sells its pet supplies through many retail classes, including mass, grocery, club, pet specialty and online.

Even though Freshpet stock suffered a huge blow in 2015, falling down to a single digit price, it has managed to recover and has been growing steadily to where it is today. Analysis say that it's worth taking a shot at this company if you are an animal lover interested in the pet industry's growth since their stock is still relatively low compared to the previous entries on our list.

Trupanion (TRUP)

Trupanion (TRUP) StockTrupanion, along with its subsidiaries, is one of the leading providers of pet insurance for dogs and cats with their monthly subscriptions in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The company serves veterinarians and pet owners using third-party referrals, as well as online member acquisition channels. The company was previously known as Vetinsurance International.

Although this company also had a bit of a bumpy ride in the past, with stock prices falling as low as $6, the price of the stock has been consistently rising in the last year, reaching the current price of around $39. With pet insurance growing as fast as it has been, it's likely that Trupanion has a safe road ahead.

Merck & Co. (MRK)

Merck & Co. (MRK)Merck & Co. is a company that offers healthcare solutions all across the globe. It is divided into four major segments and one of them is Animal Health. They produce ointments, diabetes medicine, fleas and ticks medicine and repellents for dogs and cats, among other things. They sell their products to drug retailers and wholesalers, veterinarians, animal producers and other distributors.

Although they are more focused on other parts of their business, since Animal Health segment only rakes in around 10% of their sales, for the company of that size that is still enough to make them one of the largest animal health conglomerates in the world.

Aratana Therapeutics (PETX)

Aratana Therapeutics (PETX)Aratana Therapeutics is another pharmaceuticals company that has their hand dipped into the animal health industry. They are focused on the licensing, development and distribution of drugs and other pharmaceutical products for cats and dogs. Some of their main products include those for treating cancer, viral diseases, pain, allergies, etc.

Although this company has been dealing with some difficult losses in the past and their stock price is currently in single digits, many market analysts believe that this is a good time to buy their stock at a relatively low-risk and see it rise through 2018.

Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY)

Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY)Eli Lilly and Company is a giant that deals with both human and animal pharmaceutical products. They discover, develop, manufacture and sell their products worldwide. Like Zoetis and Merck, they make health products for both livestock and companion animals like dogs, cats and horses, as well as feed additives for cattle.

This company diversified its animal product lineup in 2016 when they acquired canine, feline and rabies vaccines portfolio for the U.S. market from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. Although the stock price for this company is relatively high, it is one of the safest investments when it comes to animal health related stocks.

IDEXX Laboratories (IDXX)

IDEXX Laboratories (IDXX) StockIDEXX, along with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and distributes animal health-related products and services, primarily for the companion animals, but also for livestock and poultry. They also provide dairy and water testing instruments and kits, among many other things.

This company has grown substantially over the past decade and is now one of the leaders of the global animal health market. Their stock price is extremely steep, but that is only because they have been steadily growing for many years.

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Craig has been a business owner and a writer on the subject of a man's best friend for over 5 years now. Being a dog parent since he was a young kid, Craig grew up around many mixed breed and purebred dogs. He learned a lot from participating in dog rescue programs, volunteering and helping his friend run a dog business.