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Author Mike Pawlik
Mike Pawlik Writer
Updated on Apr 5th, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Chewy vs. Petco 2024: Which Pet Superstore Wins?

The abundance of online pet stores today can be overwhelming. With so many options at our fingertips, it becomes vital to select the service that perfectly matches your pet's needs and dietary requirements, while also fitting within your budget. The question of who wins the Chewy vs. Petco battle requires a nuanced answer.

Fortunately, I conducted thorough research on both Chewy and Petco. I considered features such as product variety, price points, quality of goods, and special dietary offerings. I’ve also looked at the ordering and delivery process, ingredient quality, packaging and prep, and much more. Find out everything there is to know today.

However, though it seems close, Chewy emerged as my clear winner. The company boasts a vast array of products, providing an expansive selection of recipes and prices suitable for almost any budget and pet type. It offers thousands of distinct foods sourced from hundreds of manufacturers, ensuring that any special dietary needs you might have are met.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

Tied

🍗 Ingredient Quality:

Chewy

🍴 Recipes

Chewy

⏰ Packaging and Prep

Tied

👍 Ordering and Delivery:

Petco

👑 Overall Winner:
Chewy

Ingredient Quality

Winner: Chewy

Chewy and Petco have a similar website interface and offer roughly the same services and collection of products. However, when it comes to food and ingredients, Chewy’s menu is a lot more varied, with a wider selection of brands.

Both sites cater to the same audience, which includes many different types of pets. For instance, you’ll find food for dogs, cats, birds, fish, small pets, reptiles, horses, and farm animals. Each section offers a diverse selection of ingredients including human-grade, raw, gluten- and grain-free, high fiber, and high protein ingredients.

I like that both stores are designed for pets and their needs, so it’s easy for a pet parent to find the right products and sections. Yet, when it comes to food, Chewy has, by far, the most diverse menu with more brands and options.

While looking for kibbles for my pup, I noticed a difference between the 2 stores. The Dry Dog Food section on Chewy includes over 170 brands and over 4,000 products, while the same section on Petco only includes around 40 brands and 930+ products.  Chewy vs Petco Dog Food categories

Still, both stores feature foods prepared with high-quality ingredients created for pets of all ages. There’s also a Veterinary Diet section and a Weight Management section where you can find food items designed for pets with specific dietary needs. 

You’ll find it all, whether you’re looking for allergy-friendly food or food free from weird ingredients. Both stores do a great job of offering plenty of options since each company offers lots of products from many different manufacturers. Overall, though, Chewy does seem to have the advantage in terms of the sheer number of options.

Both online stores also have a pharmacy section where pet parents can send vet prescriptions and have them delivered.

Meals and Customization

Winner: Chewy

While neither service offers customization, it’s easy to find all types of pet foods and treats on both Chewy and Petco. My comparison focuses on the dog food section in each store, but the same is true about cat food and meals for other pets.

On Chewy, it’s easy to find kibbles, patés, chunks, broths, supplements, and treats from a wide range of brands. I like the Premium Food section the best because I want to make sure my Jamie only eats foods prepared with human-grade ingredients designed by top brands.

Petco features a similar selection of foods, with the extra option of Minimally Processed Dog Food. Here, pet parents can find healthy and nutritious meals specifically prepared to keep nutrients and enzymes intact. These meals may be lightly cooked or may contain raw ingredients, so it’s important to read the description. Chewy's product description

Both stores feature simple yet detailed product descriptions and a complete list of ingredients with a Guaranteed Analysis. However, Chewy provides extra details such as caloric content and more detailed feeding instructions so I have to give this store the advantage.

Cats and dogs with special dietary needs or health concerns have a dedicated section on both sites – on Chewy, it’s called Veterinary Diets and on Petco, you have Veterinary Diets (for dogs) and Veterinary Cat Food. Here, you can find anything from diet food to foods for diabetic pets and more.

Also, both stores make it easy to choose grain-free, organic, or freshly prepared meals without a subscription to a specific brand. The sheer variety of meals allows you to test things out and see what works best for your pooch.

Ordering and Delivery

Winner: Petco

Both stores asked for an account before I could place an order, but you can add to the cart even if you’re not logged in (up until you reach the checkout section). The ordering process feels like regular online shopping.

Chewy’s registration process is quick and easy compared to Petco’s where there are more fields to fill in from the start. Still, you do have to add contact details, payment information, and a delivery address on both, so it doesn’t matter as much that you spend a little more time when you first create the account with Petco.

The account section is pretty straightforward on both Chewy and Petco with options for order tracking and history, lists of favorites, recurring orders, and personalized pet profiles. You also have a section where you can save prescriptions, so it’s easy to keep track of these orders as well.  Petco's curbside pickup option

Both stores allow users to cancel or change an order, as long as the order hasn’t been shipped (you’ll need to check the order’s status on your account). However, Chewy makes it a bit easier to cancel/edit an order since you can do it from your account. Petco will have you call customer service for this.

When it comes to the delivery area, Petco is the winner. Since it delivers to the continental US and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and P.O. boxes, it takes the win. On the other hand, Chewy only delivers within the contiguous US and the GTA (the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding areas in Ontario, Canada).

Both stores offer order tracking but Petco gives you several delivery options such as Standard (2 to 5 business days), 2nd Day (2 business days), or Next Day (1 business day). If it’s outside the continental US, your package may arrive in six to 13 business days. With Chewy, it usually takes 1 to 3 business days.

Petco also offers curbside pickup if you live close to a physical location. For this, you don’t even need to enter the store – you just drive there and an employee will bring the order to your car.

How Do the Meals Arrive?

Winner: Chewy

Both companies want to make sure your order arrives at your doorstep in good condition while using the right amount of packaging (less waste). For non-perishable items, the packaging is standard, with the usual combination of plastic and cardboard depending on the size and content of your order.

However, things change a bit with non-perishable items. Chewy puts them on a speedier delivery route and makes sure everything is properly insulated (dry ice packs) so frozen, raw, or fresh foods that need refrigeration don’t get spoiled in transit. Petco's packaging options for frozen foods

Petco doesn’t offer much detail about special packaging for frozen or fresh foods, but it does offer same-day delivery as an alternative. If same-day delivery isn’t a good option, Petco does say the item will be specifically packaged to stay frozen but it also warns buyers there’s no insulation in the package.

On the other hand, Petco also offers live fish, invertebrates, and plant delivery (with the guarantee that they arrive alive and well). Also, both companies make returns easy, so if any food product arrives damaged, you can get your money back.

Pricing

Winner: Chewy

You’ll find similar prices for the same brand and type of food, but Petco doesn’t have the same diversity of products as Chewy. For instance, I didn’t find brands like Pedigree or American Journey on Petco. Also, Petco isn’t that easy on your budget since it doesn’t carry the cheaper options.

When you compare the same products, you’ll notice some differences. While looking for food for Jamie (my Akita Inu), I found that a 5-lb bag of Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream has the same price on both sites, but a case of Purina ONE SmartBlend Classic Ground Beef is $2.88 cheaper on Chewy. Petco and Chewy pricing

What I also found interesting is the fact that Petco doesn’t carry cheap food options. That’s because, since 2018, Petco has been dedicated to providing its customers with quality products. To support this goal, the brand doesn’t sell food products with artificial flavors or colors, which are usually low-budget options.

Both companies try to lure you into becoming a customer with discounts for recurring orders (Autoship on Chewy and Repeat Delivery on Petco). Both sites give you 35% off your first recurring order and 5% off for each of the following orders. However, on Petco, promotional offers don’t apply to Repeat Delivery orders. 

Both companies offer free delivery for orders over $35. If your order is under the threshold, you’ll pay a flat fee of $4.95 on Chewy and $5.99 for standard delivery on Petco. Petco also offers options for speedier shipping, but the fee is higher. Petco and Chewy pricing

If you live near a Petco store, you can place an order and have it delivered to the location, with no shipping costs. Petco will even indicate the closest store to your address and let you know if you can use it as a pickup location.

If you end up with an item your pet doesn’t like, both Chewy and Petco accept returns. With Petco, you have 30 days, starting with the initial shipment date, and you can either return the item(s) to a nearby store (use Store Locator on the website or in the app to find it) or send it by mail.

However, Petco doesn’t accept returns on prescription medicine and pharmacy products. Also, prescription food products can only be returned by mail.

Chewy’s return period is longer (365 days), but there’s also an exception with regard to prescription medications. The only way the company accepts a return, in this case, is if the order arrived at your location damaged.

Chewy vs. Petco – Quick Overview


Chewy

Petco

Best for

Pet parents looking for diversity

Pet parents looking for premium brands

Starting price

<$2 per meal

$1.79/meal

Shipping cost

$4.95 or free on orders over $35

$5.99 to $26.99 or free on orders over $35

Subscription

1 week to 8 months

2 weeks to 12 months

Recipes

Unlimited

Unlimited

Meal storage

Depends on the brand

Depends on the brand

Are meals pre-portioned?

Depends on the brand

Depends on the brand

Ingredient quality

Human-grade, organic, BPA-free, plant-based, non-GMO, grain-free

Organic, minimally processed, grain-free, limited ingredient

Free-from

Grain, corn, wheat, soy, chicken-free, flax, gluten, molasses, GMO, 

Grain

Customizable based on:

Breed size, life stage

Breed size, life stage

Recalls

None

None

Money-back guarantee?

365 days

60 days by mail or in-store

Our Reviewer’s rating

9.2

N/A

Current deal

Save 35% On Your First Order

No active deal

And The Winner Is: Chewy

Petco can be a great store, but Chewy wins this comparison. The wider range of products, easy-to-understand pricing structure, and overall user experience turned me into a Chewy fan.

In all fairness, both stores are pet-oriented and work hard to provide exceptional products besides food and accessories. But while Petco does have good services, it’s not for all pet parents. 

I do respect Petco’s choice to not include low-cost food items for quality reasons, but this limits the offer and may even lead to higher prices on items you can also find on Chewy. Plus, there are better discounts available for Chewy to keep prices down even further.

Of course, it all boils down to your preference. So if you think neither Chewy nor Petco works for you, take a look at our best pet food delivery services list and learn about other companies that may better fit your needs.

FAQ

Are Petco and Chewy the same?

No. The 2 online stores have a similar interface and offer roughly the same products, but there are differences between the type of services each offers, prices, and brand selection. In general, Chewy is a bit cheaper than Petco and has a wider offer, with a more extensive list of brands.

Is Petco owned by PetSmart?

No. Petco is PetSmart’s direct competitor (together with Chewy) and has a rather similar offer (pet food supplies, accessories, and services). You can order from its online store, and Petco also has over 1,500 brick-and-mortar locations across the US, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, including 100+ in-store veterinary hospitals.

Why is Chewy so popular?

Chewy puts a lot of effort into creating a positive experience for pets and their parents. This helped the company build a solid brand image that’s usually associated with happy pets and caring owners. Plus, the offer is always diverse and accessible to all pet parents, and the online interface is friendly and easy to use.

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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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