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Who is Cheaper on Pet Supplies: PetSmart or PetCo?

According to the Humane Society, 39% of US households own at least one dog, but many of those households have more than one dog. In fact, the latest figures say there are about 78.2 million pet dogs in the U.S.  And it’s estimated that the average annual cost of owning a dog is about $2,300 when you factor in food, toys, beds, leashes and collars, grooming,  routine trips to the vet, training, boarding, and preventative supplies like tick and flea control.

That means Americans spend almost $180 billion a year on our dogs!   It’s no wonder big box pet supply stores like PetSmart and PetCo can be found in just about every town.  They sell everything we buy, including veterinary services.  So I got to wondering who is cheaper on pet supplies: PetSmart or PetCo.

On March 17, 2012 I visited the PetSmart in Eagan, Minnesota and the PetCo in West  St. Paul, Minnesota to compare prices.  These two stores are about seven miles apart and I live right in the middle of the two.

I tried to find products that were exactly the same, right down to the brand. What I discovered is that PetSmart and PetCo carry very few items that are exactly the same.  In some cases they had the same brands but different products. In other instances they were completely different brands.

I selected 11 pet supplies at random, based on items that dog owners generally buy.  Where PetSmart and PetCo carried the same brands, I identify the brand. Where the brands were different, I selected comparable brands and did not list the brand.  (None of these prices include the discount that each store offers if you belong to their club.)   Here’s what I found:

PetSmart vs Petco: Who is cheaper on dog supplies

As you can see, there’s no 100% winner in who is cheaper on pet supplies: PetSmart or PetCo.  However, 73% of the items selected at random were cheaper at PetSmart than they were at PetCo.  When you compare just those items that are the exact same brand and exact same product, the edge also goes to PetSmart, but not by as wide a margin.

Of course there’s more to selecting a store than just price. There’s product selection (PetSmart won paws-down on this one), Customer Service (again, PetSmart won in this category for me) and Knowledgeable Staff (And the winner is…PetSmart).

We didn’t set out to conduct a statistically valid, analytical research project of who is cheaper on pet supplies: PetSmart or PetCo, so please don’t write in to tell us our sample is too small.  We know.  But we thought it would be a fun exercise to do a random review of a handful of products.

Which big box pet supply store do you shop and why?

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Gauri

    Jun 29, 2013 at 4:34 am

    Your content is so much informative for me. Here you also mention prices for pet’s accessoies which are really appriciated.

    Buy pet supplies.

  2. printable coupons

    Jan 27, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I’ve been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours lately, but I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. It is pretty price enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made just right content material as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

  3. Claire

    Mar 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I, also, live within the two stores equally. PetSmart. Hands down. Easier to get around in, easier to talk with anyone, easier to find a manager, normally do not even have to wait to find someone, they are already asking “can I help you”, “is there something I can find for you”.. Price is important no matter where I go, especially being on SSA so I try to ways make sure I have key coupons for the better dog foods and they also seem to have more USA made treats, etc. Definately PetSmart, especially in Southdale Pasadena, MD.

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