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Chewy vs. PetSmart: Prices, Quality & Service Compared (2023 Update)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

PetSmart has been a big name in the pet world for a long time. They own thousands of stores across the country and are a one-stop shop for just about every pet need. They sell everything from dog food to lizard terrariums.

Chewy, on the other hand, is a bit newer. This online giant has taken the pet world by storm, though, by making many pet items available online. Their auto-ship function allows you to save a bit on food and other consumables.

Both of these stores may be helpful in certain situations. However, which one is objectively better than the other? Should you auto-ship your dog’s food or visit your local PetSmart to buy it?

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A Quick Comparison

Brand Name Chewy PetSmart
Established 2011 1987
Headquarters Dania Beach, FL Phoenix, AZ
Product Lines American Journey Anything for Pets
Parent Company/Subsidiaries BC Partners BC Partners

Brief History of Chewy

chewy_logo_new_large

Chewy was founded in June 2011 by Ryan Cohen and Michael Day. The company hired many executives from top-of-the-line companies like PetSmart and Amazon. In this way, they were able to earn $26 million in their first year. Their sales rose from $205 million to $432 million between 2014 and 2015.

In 2017, the company had about $2 billion in sales. Their website accounts for 51% of all online sales for pets. In 2017, Chewy was sold to PetSmart. Later, some of PetSmart’s stack was transferred to BC Partners, who purchased PetSmart in 2014. Therefore, this same parent company owns both PetSmart and Chewy.

However, Chewy largely functions independently of PetSmart. Their sales continue to increase and much of their income comes from recurring shipments, which are very common with dog food. In 2018, the company created Chewy pharmacy, which sells pet medications online. Often, medications are cheaper here than purchasing them from a vet.

Brief History of PetSmart

petsmart logo

PetSmart is a privately held chain that sells just about everything related to pets. This company was first founded in the 1980s as a discount pet-food warehouse. At this time, pet food was really starting to take off. Jim and Janice Dougherty took advantage of this by founding PetSmart. They opened their first superstores in 1987, focusing largely on dog food. They offered large quantities of food at a low price, which was a new concept at the time.

The company grew quickly. They opened five more stores the next year for instance. However, it wasn’t profitable 2 years later in 1989. The board removed the two founders from the head of the brand, though they were kept on as consultants. They hired Samuel Parker as president of the company. Under his guidance, the company began offering in-house grooming, as well as departments for small pets. In 1990, vet clinics were also added.

Since then, the company has only continued to grow. However, they are quite similar to how they began all those years ago.

Chewy Shipping

Chewy is an online company, first and foremost. Therefore, they work hard to ensure that shipping is fast and efficient. They typically offer fast shipping on nearly all items, usually within 1–3 days. However, it does depend on the current shipping situation and what item you’re ordering.

Purchases over $49 ship for free within the contiguous United States. However, they do not ship to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or APO addresses.

PetSmart Shipping

While PetSmart mostly functions in physical stores, they also allow you to purchase items online and have them shipped to your house. However, they don’t provide as fast shipping as other options out there, as that is not their main concentration. They do offer free shipping on orders over $49, just like Chewy. They also only ship within the contiguous United States.

However, this does leave out many different locations, including Alaska and Hawaii. You can order items for curbside delivery, as well, which isn’t an option with Chewy.

Chewy Customer Service

Chewy’s customer service is typically thought to be high-quality. They are known for sending cards to customers after they lose a pet and on birthdays. Furthermore, if you get dog food and your dog doesn’t like it, they often refund you and recommend donating the food. In this way, the company is charitable and has a solid customer service team.

You can reach their customer service in a variety of ways. They have an online chat option that works well for many customers. You can also reach them by email or phone.

PetSmart Customer Service

PetSmart has existed since the 1980s. Therefore, their customer service team has been around for a very long time. They provide hassle-free returns in-store that rival their competitors. They also work with local shelters and rescue organizations to help adopt animals. You can often find animals at their store up for adoption.

Therefore, this company is often considered quite charitable.

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Chewy vs. PetSmart: Price

Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Chewy Box Puzzle Dog Toy

These brands have extremely similar pricing. However, each one does run its own sales and discounts, so it is in your best interest to check the prices at both stores to find the cheapest option.

Chewy

Chewy often has slightly cheaper prices than other pet brands, as they do not have as much overhead. Because they don’t run physical stores, they have far fewer bills to pay. In this way, they can easily afford to charge less for their items.

However, these savings aren’t always significant. The easiest way to save is with their auto-ship option. Still, this only makes sense for items like pet food that you need to order regularly.

PetSmart

PetSmart doesn’t charge more than other stores for their products. However, they aren’t particularly cheaper, either. Therefore, it works best if you shop the sales and discounts, as this is the best way to save money.

Unlike Chewy, PetSmart does not have a program that allows you to save money regularly or anything of that sort.

Chewy vs. PetSmart: Customer Service

Chewy and PetSmart are both known for their great customer service. However, there are some significant differences between them.

Chewy

Chewy’s customer service is extremely responsive to customers and is often considered very helpful. They’re known for refunding items even when they don’t have to (such as an expensive bag of prescription dog food after the dog has passed away). Furthermore, they are also quite charitable. If your dog doesn’t like something, it isn’t odd for them to refund you and suggest you donate the item.

However, Chewy doesn’t have any physical locations. That can make things like returns complicated. However, Chewy often bypasses the return process completely for this reason.

PetSmart

PetSmart has great customer service and is very charitable. Instead of purchasing puppies and kittens from breeders, they work with local rescues to house and adopt animals in need of homes. They also donate regularly to local organizations.

They have an in-store return process that is very quick and easy. Returning items to PetSmart is a bit easier than returning items to Chewy simply because there is a physical location. In this way, PetSmart typically gets higher customer service ratings.

Chewy Product Lines

Chewy does have a few of its own product lines. For instance, American Journey is the brand’s dog food line. This dog food isn’t particularly different from other premium dog foods out there. However, they tend to be quite expensive. Grain-free options are common, and most include high amounts of peas. This is true even after the FDA released a warning about these foods.

However, this company does not push its own brands nearly as hard as other companies do. Therefore, their brands don’t seem to be a major source of income.

PetSmart Product Lines

PetSmart has had many product lines over the years. However, for one reason or another, they tend to get discontinued. Therefore, they don’t have any major and clearly recognizable brands. Many of their lines disappear after only a few years.

Similar to Chewy, it doesn’t seem like PetSmart makes much money on any of their generic brands. Furthermore, their brands aren’t particularly known for being high-quality or inexpensive compared to other options.

Overall Brand Reputation

Price

🏆 Edge: Chewy

The prices between these two companies are extremely similar. For the most part, they price foods and other items the same. However, you can save by signing up for auto-shipments through Chewy.

Chewy

Chewy offers a special program that allows users to sign up for recurrent shipping. This saves a small percentage of money, which can add up over time. If you’re planning on purchasing dog food regularly, anyway, then signing up for these shipments can save you money and time.

Generally, Chewy has fewer overhead costs. Therefore, they can charge slightly less for their products overall. Therefore, you may save a few bucks by shopping with them.

PetSmart

PetSmart prices its items similar to other stores. On average, they tend to be slightly more expensive than Chewy. For the most part, this is likely because they have more overhead costs. After all, they have to rent out space for their stores and hire more employees.


Selection

🏆 Edge: Chewy

Chewy tends to have a better selection, as they aren’t facing the same space constraints as PetSmart. PetSmart has to have room for everything in a store, while Chewy does not.

Chewy

Chewy tends to have a much wider selection than PetSmart. You can find tons of different brands and items for just about every pet on Chewy.com. However, they don’t have to fit all their items in a store, so this makes sense. If you want something hard to find, then you should probably look at Chewy.

PetSmart

PetSmart usually has a very good selection of products. However, it isn’t nearly as good as Chewy. After all, they are facing space constraints of putting everything in a store. Therefore, they can’t offer quite as many options as Chewy or their stores would have to be huge.

Still, they do offer most common brands and then some. You can also find items for a range of small pets, though the offerings for these less-common animals are far smaller than it is for cats and dogs.


Convenience

🏆 Edge: PetSmart

Typically, because PetSmart has physical stores, they are considered more convenient. After all, you can stop in and grab whatever you need during business hours.

Chewy

Chewy shipping typically takes a few days at least. Shipping can vary depending on the item you’re purchasing, as well as when you order. However, you cannot expect to receive most items overnight or even within two days.

Therefore, if you need something now, Chewy is probably not the best option for you. Instead, we recommend purchasing from a different store.

PetSmart

As a physical store, PetSmart does allow you to stop in and purchase just about anything you need. Of course, this is assuming that they have the item you’re looking for in stock. As we previously stated, they don’t have quite as many items as Chewy, since they need a place to put them all in-store.

Still, if you need something right away, PetSmart is a better option than Chewy.

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Conclusion

Chewy and PetSmart are pretty even-matched in most categories. While their services are different, one isn’t necessarily worse than the other. When you can, we recommend checking the prices of both to determine which one is cheaper. Chewy is often cheaper, but you’ll have to wait a few days to get the item.

PetSmart shines when you need something right now. They have many locations and stock them with common pet items. Therefore, if you’re really in need of an item, PetSmart can probably help you out.

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