Global Cases

Animal health business for beloved pets

U.S.A / Japan

In recent years, there has been a growing number of people having dogs, cats and other pets for daily companionship. Against this backdrop, Sumitomo Corporation entered the veterinary medicine business in the 2000s, becoming Japan’s first general trading company with a department dedicated to this field. Promoting this business, we commit to protecting the health of pets, and supporting the well-being of both pets and people, with the hope of helping the “Improvement of living standard.”

Capitalizing on our pharmaceutical and agrochemical expertise

Sumitomo Corporation made inroads into the animal health market in the early 2000s, capitalizing on its decades of experience in the export and import of pharmaceuticals for protecting human health, and agricultural chemicals for supporting crop growth.

The mission of our animal health business is to improve the quality of life (QOL) of pets and their owners, by utilizing our extensive and comprehensive global pharmaceutical and agrochemical network to (1) procure animal health products from around the world for Japanese animal health companies and (2) export excellent Japanese products. Sumitomo Corporation is the only Japanese integrated trading company with a department dedicated to the animal health field.

Protecting Animal health also protects human health

The global market size of animal health products (pet food, toys, treats, excretion products and so on) exceeds $150 billion, and has been growing even during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pet owner population among Millennials and Generation Z, whose purchasing power is expanding especially in the US and China, is increasing, the market is expected to keep growing further.

At the same time, pets are becoming ever more important living companions in Japan and other countries where single-person households are on the rise as a result of a declining birth rate and rising life expectancy. Pets can promote healthy lifestyles among owners by calming the mind through daily interactions and creating non-strenuous exercise habits through walks. Data shows that elderly people living with pets have lower healthcare costs than their pet-free counterparts.

By protecting the health of pets, which are today irreplaceable companions for many of us, Sumitomo Corporation’s animal health business seeks to support the well-being of both pets and their owners, thereby linking animal health to human health.

Hartz Mountain Corporation manufactures and sells safe and health-promoting toys and treats for dogs and cats.

Accelerating partnerships with Japanese and overseas pet supply companies

Sumitomo Corporation is actively pursuing partnerships with Japanese and overseas pet supply companies. In 2004, we started a US business in the pet care industry with our investment in The Hartz Mountain Corporation, the leading US pet supplies manufacturer, and distributor of flea and tick management and other products for companion animals; dog pads, pet treats and toys. Today the partnership also includes Unicharm, which has long led the Japanese pet care market. The scale of the partnership is growing steadily year by year thanks to the combined strengths of the product development and marketing prowess of Unicharm, the brand presence and market reach of Hartz, and our business management expertise.

Closer to home, Sumitomo Corporation entered into a capital partnership with Japanese pet supplies e-commerce firm Petgo in 2018. We intend to supply animal health products to Petgo, which has built a customer base exceeding five hundred thousand.

One of the greatest advantages of e-commerce is the data, such as pet owner shopping behavior, that can be accrued. Using this data, Sumitomo Corporation hopes to better identify pet owner needs and issues and apply them to sales strategies as well as to future new product development with pharmaceutical companies.

E-commerce firm Petgo boosted sales by focusing on therapeutic pet food and veterinary medicine for CA.

Expanding sales network by leveraging business know-how in state-of-the-art market

Selling animal health products requires solid supply chain management including a license in each county, competitive manufacturing partners and regulatory expertise in cross-border transactions. Our advantage is solid partnerships with competitive companies realized by the global network of Sumitomo Corporation group. The long-term goal of Sumitomo Corporation is to leverage this advantage and expand the global sales network.

As population aging progresses in industrialized countries worldwide, pets are anticipated to occupy an ever more prominent place in our lives as companions. Simultaneously, demand for pets in emerging economies is also expected to keep growing. To keep our pets healthy, and to enable humans and pets to live together happily and comfortably, Sumitomo Corporation looks forward to further expanding and enriching its global animal health business.

Hartz members in a scene of its shelter support program. Hartz is helping pets to spend healthy lives and meet their future pet parents.

Related Information

May 2023


  • Japan
  • The Americas
  • Retail Service Operations
  • Chemical Electronics
  • Chemical Solutions Group

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