As the proud owner of a Labrador and a British Short Tail, I like to do my homework before deciding where to purchase the products that make their daily lives better. Similar to many other animal enthusiasts, I buy my pet products almost exclusively online, helping to contribute to the $70 billion industry.
With the plethora of options that the internet has brought us, it has gotten harder to distinguish the best stores from the ones that will leave our furry friends barking up the wrong tree. There are currently over 5500 pet specialty stores. I journeyed through three of the biggest online pet stores and have outlined the best bits from each with a recommendation on which one you should be using.
Founded in 2003, Petsupplies.com brings an array of experience to the pet supplies table. They provide an enormous range of products that cater for everything from cats and dogs to ferrets and reptiles. Interestingly, they also offer facilities to help the wild bird population in your backyard flourish.
Searching for specific pet products is easy with the various categories flowing across the navigation bar at the top of the page, this is underpinned by a sitewide search bar. You can search by brand but not until you have first selected an animal or product. Petsupplies.com do have a great “Holiday Store” where you can purchase products designed around the holiday season including a Christmas Tree Dog Collar and a Stuffing Dog Treat.
Their offer of free shipping and 30% off all purchases over $69 is excellent value making it easier on your wallet. Petsupplies.com also has 300+ clearance deals on a full range of their offerings, including brands such as PetSafe and Tomlyn. If you are stuck for a gift for a fellow animal lover, they sell a Petsupplies Gift Certificate which is emailed to the recipient and has no expiry date.
They offer an Autoship reorder program whereby customers can earn a 10% discount on items they choose to have automatically re-ordered. This saves time and avoids having to purchase and haul back heavy food bags from the store. Petsupplies.com offer a 24/7 order status tracking service, so it is comfortable and convenient to plan the arrival of your orders.
The stand out feature from petsupplies.com was their Best Price Guarantee which lasts up to 14 days after the point of purchase. This is fantastic for anyone who loves to shop around and get a bargain. However, there are some T&C’s to this; therefore, it is important not to get caught out.
Next stop on my canine crusade was Petco.com. They have a wide range of offerings for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, fish and small mammals. Petco.com focus on coupling great prices with even better quality, stocking best in class brands such as Royal Canin, Natural Balance, and Taste of the Wild. I am always conscious of keeping up to date with best practices when caring for my furry fellows, thankfully, Petco.com offer a range of comprehensive care sheets which I found to be incredibly helpful. Uniquely, they also provide information for local dog services such as pet sitting and walking, grooming and training.
Their online store is well organized, and I was able to search by pet-type, product brand or browse their online sales for incredible deals and discounts. The Petco website offers clear and concise navigation with all essentials clearly labelled at the top of the page. If you enjoy dressing your pets up as much as I do, they offer novelty NFL jerseys so your companion can cheer your team on alongside you (Go Patriots!)
I do enjoy shopping from the comfort of my couch; however, Petco provides a store locator to help find your nearest branch which offers a broad range of pet services. Among these, are the free 30-minute puppy playtime sessions which run every Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm. For puppies from 8 weeks to 6 months, these sessions provide a fun environment for them to learn social skills. Similar to Petsupplies, Petco.com offer free shipping, but at an even lower purchase rate of $49. They offer a 24/7 messaging service, for any issues you may have while making some late-night purchases. However, they are only contactable via the phone from 5am-9pm.
Rather importantly for me, Petco.com offer an online pharmacy for cats and dogs. You can find your prescription on the website, and the medication will ship just 24 hours after the order is confirmed. Anyone with a busy schedule knows that having to stop by a pharmacy to pick up prescriptions is inconvenient, so this facility, coupled with the 5% you receive back on every purchase, is excellent.
The final stop on my cat caper was Chewy.com. Since 2011 they have strived to be the most trusted and convenient pet specialty retailer for customers, service providers, and vets. One of the standouts of Chewy.com for me is their enormous inventory of over 1000 products that provide care for cats, dogs, fish, birds, reptiles, gerbils, and even horses. Their online store is a stronghold for industry-leading brands like Blue Buffalo, Natural Balance, Nutro, and Tidy Cats and is a must visit for all pet’s needs.
The Chewy website is fast and convenient with the ability to search by pet, brand, and pharmacy. On hand at the top of the page is access to the iconic support offered by Chewy. The daily deals are a rabbit hole, and the captivating bargains on such great brand names are hard to refuse, especially when there are nearly 1500 deals each day, this makes Chewy the most cost-effective choice of the sites I visited.
Buying my pets gifts throughout the festive season and during other big events like Halloween and the 4th of July is something I love doing. Distinctive to the Chewy website is the “My Pet” feature. After signing up and adding your pet’s details, it will begin to offer you gift advice based on what they have liked and enjoyed in the past. This in partnership with the Gift Guide is a perfect way to narrow down gift ideas and spoil your pets with new and varying presents, including a Wonder Woman Costume, Birthday Cake Treats, and an Uncle Sam Costume.
The Chewy pharmacy goes above and beyond to ensure complete convenience and customer satisfaction. Not only do they have a fully stocked pharmacy that caters for cats, dogs, and horses, they also contact your vet for you to organize and acquire the necessary authorization. This saves time and will help me focus more on the wellbeing of my cuddly companions.
Anyone who has bought gifts for someone knows that it can be hard to get right on the first attempt. The 100% Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee Policy ensures that if you, or your pet, are not happy with any pet supplies you can return it for a full refund. Importantly, Chewy offer an industry leading 24/7 assistance via phone, email and instant chat, this puts it head and shoulders above the other sites and provides unparalleled customer service over a variety of mediums.
Chewy also offer a flagship Autoship service. Autoship lets you schedule regular deliveries of your favourite supplies so that you never run out of pet food or other essentials such as potty pads again. With a valid prescription, you can also set up Autoship for your pet’s medications, which Chewy call your vet and organize for you! The cherry on top to this delight is the 5-10% discount you receive on select brands in all future orders, as well as the 30% first order discount. Personally, I found it unbelievable that this service is not only offered for free but, you also get complete control over the supplies via the checkout and can cancel at any time.
All three of the sites I journeyed had great features. The Autoship at Petsupplies.com has some similarities to the one offered at Chewy. The pharmacy at Petco is well stocked and provides repeat purchase discounts. Petco also had a good selection of novelty animal gifts. But overall, I found the abundance of services on offer at Chewy to be amazing. They go above and beyond at every opportunity to provide gold standard customer service. This permeates through every aspect of their store and makes you feel very valued as a customer. Moreover, they are the most economical choice with such a vast amount of daily deals.