Are Your Stocks Going to the Dogs? Maybe They Should Be: PetSmart, Inc. (PETM), IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (IDXX)

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If you’re like me and millions of other Americans, you spend a significant amount of time and money on your pets. In my case, it’s three dogs, but all kinds of pets are popular in the United States and many people dote on their pets as one of the family. The ASPCA estimates that 62% of American households have a pet. That translates to about 78.2 million dogs and 86.4 million cats. That’s a lot of kibble, and it doesn’t even account for guinea pigs, snakes, birds and other creatures. So where should animal lovers be investing their cash these days? I like the looks of these three companies: Petsmart, Inc (NASDAQ:PETM), IDEXX  Laboratories, Inc.,(NASDAQ:IDXX) and MWI Veterinary Supply, Inc.  (NASDAQ:MWIV).

Founded in 1986, PetSmart, Inc. (PETM) opened its first two stores in Arizona in 1987 as Petfood Warehouse. Since then it’s expanded from the United States to Canada and Puerto Rico with 1,160 stores. To expand their appeal to consumers, many Petsmarts include PetsHotels and Doggie Day Camps, as well as a Banfield Pet Hospital. Why does Petsmart work as a brick and mortar store in the era of online shopping? Because along with the services listed above, they offer community adoption events, partnering with local animal shelters and rescue groups. Leashed dogs are welcome at their stores and weekends at Petsmart are a popular destination for dog lovers across the nation. With a market cap of $6.78 billion and steadily rising stock prices for the last decade, Petsmart is a better bet than its 9.20% operating margin might imply.

Founded in 1985, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (IDXX) offers diagnostics tools and technologies for small animal health, equine health, and livestock diagnostics, along with dairy and water testing. This is a company with over 25 years of experience and a steady overall rise in stock prices since 2001. Many people like to invest in companies that they deal with every day, but local veterinarians aren't likely to be publicly traded. Investing in companies like IDEXX allows investors to put money in a company that is supplying veterinarians. With solid business experience, a market cap of $5 billion, and a strong operating margin of 20.3%, IDEXX is a good choice for animal lovers looking to invest.

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