Pet Health Care: Investors' Best Friend

Ladenburg Thalmann's Nancy Hull has found a business that hasn't been badly bitten by the recession. It's the business of pet medications.

"As Americans, we really view our pets as members of our family, and are really very reluctant to cut back on spending for our pets," she told CNBC. "The over-the-counter and prescription medication markets...are really much less discretionary spends than, say, a new chewy toy, or a new leash, or something that a consumer might be more ready to forego buying for their dog or cat."


Hull says the company best positioned in the field is PetMed Express.

"The competition for (PetMed Express) really is the veterinarian," she explained. "The veterinarian owns about 70 to 75 percent of the market right now, and (PetMed Express) has been steadily gaining share from them."

She finds the weakening economy has been helping the company, because medications are, on average, 15 percent cheaper through the company than through the veterinarian.

More companies serving 4-legged friends:

- PetSmart

- Nestle Purina (subsidiary of Nestle)

- Petco (privately owned)


Neither Hull, her family, nor her firm owns shares in, or has any business relationship with, PetMed Express.