Petco Vs Petsmart (Price, Product Range, Training, Ethics, Returns, Service + More)

As two of the biggest retailers in the pet segment, Petco and PetSmart get compared so often that a lot of people confuse them for the same company.

So, to help you determine which is which before deciding which is the better option for you, we’ve come up with a full comparison, so keep reading!

Petco Vs PetSmart In [currentyear]

Petco and PetSmart are two of the largest national retailers focusing on pets. They both sell live pets, pet supplies, and accessories, and they both have several physical stores and online platforms. They also carry many of the same products, but each has its own brands. PetSmart has more stores and a much higher annual revenue than Petco in [currentyear].

We’ve compared Petco and PetSmart for this article, including their prices, return policies, shipping, and more, so keep reading for more facts!

What’s the Difference Between Petco and PetSmart?

Petco and PetSmart are separate companies with no ties to each other; they are not owned by the same company, and neither owns the other.

Petco was founded in 1965 in San Diego, and PetSmart followed more than 20 years later in 1987 in Phoenix.

Both companies offer pet related services alongside their products, but PetSmart is the only one with an in-house boarding service through more than 200 PetsHotel locations.

Petco only recently started offering these services through a partnership with Rover.

Rover connects third party service providers to customers, much like Uber or Airbnb, so the overall quality of Petco’s boarding services might be lower than PetSmart’s.

Petco has stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Mexico, while PetSmart has stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Both of them have customer service departments that are available every day, but they operate on different schedules.

Petco’s customer service is available via call between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. PST, while PetSmart’s team is available only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST.

Petco does not drug test its employees, but PetSmart makes everyone in all departments take a drug test before they get hired.

Is Petco or PetSmart Better Quality?

According to most sources, Petco carries a wider variety of products, but PetSmart’s selection of items is better.

Both PetSmart and Petco have their own in-house brands, but Petco carries more products from third party manufacturers.

Several customers say that PetSmart’s staff seem to be more knowledgeable than Petco’s on matters to do with live animals specifically.

This seems to be due to the company’s strict policies on employee conduct, as hinted at by its drug testing policy in the previous section.

However, Petco is the first and currently only national retailer that has stopped selling dog and cat food items that are made with artificial ingredients such as color, flavor, and preservatives.

If you’re concerned about feeding your pet only with food made from natural ingredients, then this decision might mean higher quality for you.

Who Is Bigger- Petco or PetSmart?

By most measures, PetSmart is far bigger than Petco, despite starting operations more than 20 years later.

For starters, Petco’s most recently announced annual revenue was about $4.9 billion, whereas PetSmart’s was $7 billion.

Petco also has fewer stores than PetSmart, at 1,500 compared to 1,650.

The company’s employee numbers are also a major area of difference, with Petco at around 27,000, and PetSmart at around 55,000.

Petco Vs PetSmart Ethics

Petco Vs Petsmart

We looked at the practices of both Petco and PetSmart, and we didn’t find one to be significantly more or less ethical than the other.

Both companies have taken similar steps to ensure their businesses are seen as ethical, most notably offering cats and dogs up for adoption, as opposed to selling them directly.

However, PetSmart had to stop the practice, whereas Petco never sold dogs and cats, to begin with.

Each of these companies has also set up a foundation for their charitable activities. Petco has Petco Love, formerly called the Petco Foundation, while PetSmart has PetSmart Charities.

These organizations are the ones that work with rescue shelters and other animal welfare organizations to facilitate adoptions, in exchange for funding raised through donations and adoption fees.

We have found reports of both retailers having their animals in less than ideal conditions, but this seems to be something that’s almost unavoidable with the kind of businesses they’re running.

For example, fish will naturally be crowded in a tank in order to save space in a store, while ensuring they have enough stock to meet customer demands.

They also get their stock from similar suppliers, or the same ones like Fish Mart in some cases, meaning that any unethical practices from breeders will affect both.

Both retailers are also constantly getting called out by animal rights activists and organizations like PETA for similar reasons.

Petco Vs PetSmart Prices

Petco and PetSmart have more or less the same prices, despite having different products.

Most sources we’ve found on the subject will have different results, with some saying that Petco is cheaper than PetSmart and vice versa, but the results you get depend heavily on the items you look up, and it’s always a toss up.

Both Petco and PetSmart will price match each other both online and in-store, though, so you can always get lower prices, regardless of where you buy an item.

Petco Vs PetSmart Training

Both Petco and PetSmart have dog training classes available, but they have some differences that could be the deciding factor for most dog owners.

While both Petco and PetSmart have online and in person groups, and one on one dog training classes, Petco is the only one that allows you to choose from private and group sessions.

Petco also has separation anxiety classes to help your dog learn to stay on its own, but PetSmart does not.

However, PetSmart has potty training classes, which we could not find at Petco.

Petco Vs PetSmart Return Policy

Both Petco and PetSmart allow you to return items you bought, either from physical stores or online within a set amount of time.

At Petco, it’s within 30 days of buying it, while at PetSmart it’s within 60 days.

Petco doesn’t accept returns if you don’t have the original receipt with you, while PetSmart accepts returns without a receipt, but your refund will be based on the most recent sale price.

Both Petco and PetSmart don’t accept returns on prescription medication products.

Petco Vs PetSmart Shipping

Petco and PetSmart have roughly similar shipping policies.

For starters, both of them have stores with a large presence across the country, making it easy for most people to get same day shipping.

Both Petco and PetSmart have free shipping on orders above a certain amount, $35 and $49, but PetSmart limits this perk to members of its Treats program.

Both of them also have a service that allows customers to set up automatic deliveries for items they get frequently.

At Petco, it’s called Repeat Delivery, while PetSmart calls it Autoship.

Repeat Delivery and Autoship have a large discount that you can apply to your first purchase and smaller discounts across all other shipments.

Petco Vs PetSmart Rewards

Both Petco and PetSmart have loyalty and rewards programs, called Pals and Treats respectively, and each grants access to different perks.

While there are similarities in how you sign up and earn points, Petco’s loyalty program gives you 1 point per dollar, while PetSmart’s gives you 8 points per dollar.

With this system, you can earn points faster, and redeem them for rewards, such as free pet related services much sooner.

To know more, you can also read our posts on Petco vs Chewy, dog training cost at Petco, and if Petco prices match.


Petco and PetSmart have little affiliation with each other in terms of ownership. PetSmart was formed more than 20 years after Petco, but it has managed to grow its revenue to a larger amount and have more stores.

PetSmart offers dog boarding directly, while Petco offers it through a partnership with Rover. Both companies have taken steps towards ethical business like adoption, only for cats and dogs, but there are still concerns raised by animal rights activists and some customers.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

1 thought on “Petco Vs Petsmart (Price, Product Range, Training, Ethics, Returns, Service + More)”

  1. So I started working for PetSmart on August 6, 2019 to January 26, 2023 in the grooming salon. They absolutely do not drug test before hiring and never once was I drug tested (nor anyone else I worked with for that matter) during my time working there. Also to add, I was a Professional Pet Stylist/Dog Groomer, and I can tell you their training process for grooming is a literal trap working for meager wages. The 2nd store manager at my store, he was there the last year & 1/2 of my employment. The first part of my employment was pretty uneventful, I loved the store manager at that time and I absolutely LOVED MY JOB while he was there. (I had put the store location, but I’m not sure if I should so I deleted it) But the 2nd store manager I worked for was extremely mentally abusive and harassed me over small things because he never liked me because I refused to rush on my grooms, #1 for safety reasons, #2 for the comfort of my “client ??” on my table, and #3 of course for the quality of my grooms. Those things were a billion times more important to me than him getting his bonus, or making all the corporate fat cat’s wallets fat. Anyways my 2nd store manager had his favorite people that he actually treated like kings and queens and they are always the people who never gave a rats behind about safety or quality. He didn’t care how these people treated other employees, the animals (which was ATROCIOUS TO SAY THE LEAST!), he didn’t even care how rude they were to customers which shocked me! The thing that made my store manager the most angry at me, when he treated me so awfully that is caused the end of my PetSmart career as I knew it, was when I told him about his favorite groomer abusing a puppy and he didn’t care (because she groomed a lot of dogs a day)!!! So she was angry at a puppy so she started using a slip lead as a torture device to punish a, as she called him “disobedient” 5-7 month old pit bull puppy (I say he wasn’t disobedient, he was terrified and traumatized!). Basically because he wouldn’t jump on the table and she was too lazy to pick him up to put him on the table, (which is what a normal person who wasn’t mentally unstable would do BY PUTTING OUR ARMS AROUND HIM AND LIFTING HIM GENTLY ONTO THE TABLE if he wouldn’t cooperate considering it was his first time ever in a grooming salon setting)! But this LUNATIC PSYCHPATH used a freaking slip lead and nothing else to lift him onto the table. When obviously terrorized AFTER BEING STRANGLED BY THIS SORRY EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN, he started flinging himself around the table almost falling off a couple of times which seemed to make her even more angry (again because he was so scared for his life I’m sure!) So because he was “misbehaving” she started pulling up, HARD on that slip lead to choke him for …. being scared!!!? All while me and another coworker practically begged her to stop, put the puppy away, and to please go take a 15 minute breather because she was getting too upset and it was counter productive at this point, trying not to anger her worse as she might hurt him worse being angry at us. Anyways this psycho who m also bullied new people, the bathers, and me I think she went to to the break room.
    I don’t know exactly when she finally stopped and left to the break room though because I had to go to the restroom and cry because the choking noises that puppy was making was causing my chest to hurt!! Even TODAY RIGHT NOW AS IM SITTING HERE BAWLING MY EYES OUT, I CAN STILL HEAR THOSE CHOKING NOISES THAT BABY PITTY WAS MAKING THAT DAY!! She could’ve killed that baby and I felt like a piece of crap for not smacking the shit out of her when I first saw her lifting that puppy onto the table with that slip lead all the while choking him, I was a coward and I hate myself for it because that puppy suffered at least a couple more minutes of torture because I “needed time to work up the courage to tell her to chill tf out!”. It’s horrendous that the use slip leads at PetSmart to lead dogs where they’re needed to go, are use by the groomers as punishment. They work a bit like A CHOKE CHAIN , choking the pups even when someone isn’t using it to lift puppies onto a table!
    So that was just one of the many many many stories I have for my 3 & 1/2 year employment at the hellhole, I mean PetSmart. So NO they don’t drug test and they are a terrible corporation who cares about ONE THING ????They definitely don’t care about the animals entrusted to us to care for them, only about anyone finding out about the horrors that go on in these salons!! What sucks is that the evil groomers and bathers there aren’t scared that there are cameras because they know as long as they can put out enough dogs, then not a single person in management or higher is gonna give a crap how the animals are treated as long as you don’t kill them! It’s disgusting! I wish I had gotten some of this stuff on camera myself and took it to the media! Maybe someday I will, these animals deserve it

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