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If you're an unhappy millennial looking for holiday cheer, pets could be the answer, CEO says

If you're an unhappy millennial looking for a little holiday cheer, IDEXX Laboratories CEO Jonathan Ayers says a pet could be the answer.

Turns out 50 percent of dog owners buy their pet a gift during the holidays, according to Ayers, and millennials are even crazier about animals, clocking in at over 60 percent.

"I think the baby boomers passed on something stronger to the millennials. Eighty-seven percent of millennials say that pets make them happier than almost anything else," Ayers told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

Even better, Ayers says in the pro-growth environment in the United States, he expects millennials to form more households and acquire more pets.




Dogs of the Dow
Marcelo-Kaneshira | Getty Images
"I think the baby boomers passed on something stronger to the millennials." -Jonathan Ayers, Chairman & CEO of IDEXX Laboratories

Cramer refers to the growing trend of the humanization of pets as "one of the greatest secular growth stories in the world." Simply, as more people allow man's best friend to sleep in their bed and become a part of the family, the more they spend on veterinary care.

Pet stocks also do not require the help of the government to thrive, which could be good news when President-elect Donald Trump takes over the White House.

IDEXX Laboratories is the maker of veterinary testing equipment and is the world leader in diagnostic tools for animals. It supplies the instruments, analysts and test kits required to care for an animal, and it also has a livestock related business to provides services for outside reference labs and sells software for veterinarians to run their practice.

And while the stock has already run 65 percent for the year, Cramer thinks it could have more room to run. He highlighted the veterinary business as an instant start-up business that works from the get go.

"Vets [veterinary businesses] are excellent credit risks and very low bad debt because it's a good business. It's a growth business," Ayers said.

Ayers attributed the success of veterinarians to the growing number of people who love their pets and are willing to pay cash, which creates a solid cash flow business. The average veterinary practice grows 6 to 7 percent per year.

Moving forward, IDEXX plans to focus its attention for diagnostics on urine, which is currently a highly manual process. Its urine sediment analyses method can simply take 5 drops of urine and provide results in 5 minutes.

"It turns out urine has a ton of medical information and now we call it liquid gold," Ayers said.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that Ayers stated dog owners give their pets a gift during the holidays.

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