Photo (cc) by jacilluch
Having a pet is a like having a kid: They cost…a lot. In fact, Forbes says having a large dog can cost $1,570 a year. And that’s if nothing goes wrong. Add in boarding, dog walkers, or emergency trips to the vet and the cost can skyrockets. Believe me, I know. I once paid close to $500 for a vet visit after my overly curious pup ate a tuna can.
I love my dog and want the best for her, so I’m not willing to buy questionable dog food or live in a toy-free household. Instead, I buy my pet supplies online to save. Here are some of my favorite sites, complete with prices.
1. Food and treats
Every online pet store and many online grocery stores sells dog food. To find the best deal on my pricey organic food brand, I had to do some comparison-shopping. I’ve ordered the same dog food from three major pet sites over the past few months. Every shipment arrived on time and the food was good quality, but the prices varied quite a bit.
- Per-bag price – $53.99 for a 30-pound bag
- Shipping – $22.23 (UPS Ground)
- Discount – $8.80 for auto-order
- Total cost – $67.42
- Per-bag price – $56.64 for a 30-pound bag
- Shipping – $5.99
- Tax – $5.39
- Discount – $5.66 for auto-order
- Total cost – $62.36
- Per-bag price – $51.99 for a 30-pound bag
- Discount – none
- Shipping – free with Super Saver
- Total cost – $51.99
For treats, all three sites had the same price for the brand I usually buy, but Amazon had the lowest shipping overall.
While my dog is happy with an empty plastic water bottle, I still like buying toys. I might actually like it a little too much, because I’ve spent hours looking at the toys available on different pet sites. Overall, these are my three go-to sites based on price and selection.
- Toy prices – ranges from $1.99 to $24.99
- Shipping – based on total price, starting at $6.95 and up to $10
- Toy prices – range from 99 cents to $29.99
- Shipping – based on weight, starting at $4.99
- Toy prices – $.98 to $14.98
- Shipping – $5.99 on any size order for economy shipping
Overall, each site in the top three had its own benefits: Petsmart.com accepts in-store returns, Dogtoys.com suggests products based on breed, and Dog Supplies had a bargain bin and the lowest prices on popular toys.
Flea medicine is my dog’s biggest expense, probably because I was buying it at a retail store. Consumer Reports found that Drs. Foster & Smith, 1-800-PetMeds, and PetCareRx ran about 30 percent cheaper on Frontline than Petco and Petsmart. I found that you save even more if you compare the three sites together.
For example, here’s a three-month supply of Frontline Plus for dogs 23 to 44 pounds…
- Cost – $39.99
- Shipping – $5.99
- Total cost – $45.98
- Cost – $39
- Shipping – free on all orders $39 and up
- Total cost – $39
- Cost – $38.99
- Shipping – free on all flea and tick orders
- Total cost– $38.99