May 26, 2024 - News

New Denver-area vets get bougie with spa-like vibes for pets

Illustration of a yorkie wearing sunglasses and sipping a cold brew coffee.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Fancy vet clinics are on the rise, featuring minimalist decor, spa music, same-day appointments, tele-triage and medical assistance 365 days a year.

The big picture: Pet ownership has increased over the last few decades with 2 in 3 U.S. households having a furry family member, and they're willing to spend big on high-quality care for their pets.

By the numbers: Census data shows the number of vet establishments across the country has gone up 8% since 2012, and jumped 10% in Colorado — but severe shortages still persist in the state and nationwide.

Map showing percentage change in the number of veterinary establishments by state between 2012 and 2021. Overall, the number of veterinary establishments increased by 8.4% over this period. D.C. had the highest increase with 50% more establishments while Vermont had the largest decrease at -9%.
Data: Census Bureau; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Zoom in: Denver-based Sploot, a modern, spa-like vet clinic, opened its first location in 2021 and now has seven local spots and two in Chicago with a third on the way.

What they're saying: Sploot's goal is twofold: To "make veterinary care more accessible and stress-free for parents and their pets," and significantly invest in its health care team to secure top talent and prevent them from being overworked, co-founder and co-CEO Gil Bolotin tells us.

  • The company aims to provide "the best experience" for providers through ample resources and mentorship programs and, as a result, bring "the best care" to clients, Bolotin's business partner Yoav Mordowicz adds.

The other side: Some Sploot customers have taken to Reddit to complain about the company, with many accusing it of overcharging for services. (A wellness exam costs $79.)

  • The founders point to their more than 2,000 Google reviews, where the lowest rating is 4.8 stars out of 5, as evidence to the contrary. "Our reviews speak for themselves," Mordowicz says.

The intrigue: Bolotin and Mordowicz chose Denver as its headquarters because of its high dog-ownership rate — largely thanks to millennials — and its growing talent pool, they tell us.

What's next: Earlier this year, Sploot secured a $40 million investment from L Catterton to continue expanding its paw print.

  • The company is looking to open new locations in the Denver suburbs, Boulder, Colorado Springs and other areas in the state as early as next year.

My thought bubble: I've been taking my dog Rocco to Sploot for a while and had great experiences. He gets extremely anxious at the vet, and Sploot's team has been remarkably patient and worked hard to earn his trust.

  • I also appreciate its wide range of appointment slots and how transparent staff is about prices, always showing costs before any treatments.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.

More Denver stories