No one eats hard like a spoiled pet.
- Chewy, Petco, and Walmart have very similar prices on common pet supplies.
- When prices differed, Chewy was generally cheaper.
- Selling and shipping costs can drive other retailers forward, so shop around to find the best deals.
Belt-tightening is one thing, but no one wants to deprive our four-legged friends of the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to. So when inflation starts to peek into your bank account, it’s hard to cut anything from your pet’s budget.
As you search for ways to save on your pet’s favorite foods and toys — and the medications they’re ambivalent about at best — you’ll likely stumble upon Chewy.com.
While it was a bit of a wave maker when it launched, Chewy.com now has a competition kennel happy to ship your kibble. So how does the retailer compare? It turns out that Chewy is pretty competitive on price, but shoppers at Petco and Walmart aren’t paying much more.
The savings are there, but only on certain items
When you start doing an item-by-item comparison between the top three pet retailers, the prices are remarkably similar.
Of the common pet products we compared (including food, treats, and medicine), all three stores had the exact same price on most items. Chewy and Petco, in particular, were identical in almost every way. Even Autoship’s discounted prices were the same for all but a few items.
However, where prices differed, Chewy almost always offered the best price. Sometimes they were a few cents better – other times it was several dollars.
Sales, Coupons & Shipping
While Chewy definitely seems like a competitive place to pick up your pet supplies, those looking to maximize savings are still better off comparing purchases regularly. Why? Because the few times Petco or Walmart beat Chewy on price were due to sales and coupons.
These sales could drive prices down a bit, especially if you take advantage of one of Petco’s discounts to pick up your online order from a local store on top of the sale price. Petco also has a rewards program that Chewy and Walmart lack.
You should also keep shipping costs in mind. Chewy requires you to spend at least $45 to qualify for free shipping. Petco and Walmart only require you to spend $35 — or no minimum, for Walmart+ members — plus the option to pick it up in-store.
If you regularly consume 60 pound bags of dog food for your woolly mammoth (slash lap dog), then of course you will get free shipping across the board. But what if you only need one bag of treats for your kitten? Walmart+ members can have it shipped for free. Petco shoppers can simply walk into the store. But with Chewy, you pay $4.95 shipping — or completely crush the delicate soul of your best friend, who really is the best kitten.
Varied selection, especially in store
Of course, it’s one thing to say, “Get it in store!” and another for, you know, going to the store, finding the item and taking it home. Even without the logistics of moving giant bags of food or trash, there’s also the fact that the in-store selection will never beat what you can find online.
And that’s something we found when comparing prices. Items that were readily available on the shelves of our local Walmart were generally priced the same as other retailers. But nearly half of the items we were looking for weren’t sold by Walmart (this was especially common when it came to supplies for a pet other than a dog or cat). Some you could find on its online marketplace sold by a third party, but the prices were still very high on those items.
Long analysis short, yes, Chewy can save you money on pet supplies compared to other retailers, especially if you want things delivered and order in bulk. But Petco and Walmart both do better on a few items, so it’s worth doing some comparison shopping at least once in a while.
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