Generation Z: The Future of Pet Health

by Tracey Cooper

The 21st century pet health space has seen a lot of progress, and Gen Z is making their mark. They are the leading innovators in pet care health.

Gen Z are those individuals born between 1995 and 2007—they’re also called iGen or Centennials. They currently make up 27% of the U.S. population.1

Gen Z looks at the world through the lens of their core values, which include: openness, resilience and realism.1 They have the potential to impact the pet industry due to their interest in nontraditional views on how and where to provide pet healthcare.

According to a 2016 report by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, about 3,000 veterinary students graduate from colleges of veterinary medicine every year. At the end of 2016 there were approximately 80,000 veterinary jobs in the U.S. The Occupational Outlook Handbook for Veterinarians by the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 19% from 2016 to 2026.2 The job outlook is looking good for future veterinarians.

In 2018, Ogilvy Health North America surveyed 55 veterinary students between the ages of 18 and 24 around the country to find out: who are these Gen Z veterinary students, what are their values, and how do they intersect with the veterinary industry. We asked them 20 questions on their thoughts about the future of the pet care health industry. These are our top-line findings:

  • Companies like One Health are the future 
    • Businesses that are looking to bring the latest advances in human healthcare (technology, precision medicine) to pet care will win.
  • Change misconceptions about veterinary medicine 
    • 53% say that the biggest misconception is that veterinary medicine is not as respectable or challenging as human health. 40% say people think they are only in this field for the money.
  • DIY/ holistic healthcare will affect the future of veterinary medicine
    • 80% believe that DIY/preventive care for pets mixed with holistic and traditional medicine is the way to go as more of their generation become pet owners.
  • Technology/innovation are important to be competitive
    • Not only technology but also where and how to offer vet services.

Overall, the Gen Z veterinary student is looking to influence and change how we look at the pet healthcare industry. Looking ahead, as future veterinarians they will take a more proactive approach to bridging traditional methods with new, innovative methods and technology.