7/22/14

Let's Review: BarkBox Dog Subscription Boxes!

Hello Everyone! Today I wanted to share a review with you all for BarkBox. Now I realize there are plenty of reviews out there for this subscription service, but I wanted to throw my two cents in as well. I can't lie: I'm a huge shopaholic. I'm also a total dog lover and anything related to dogs turns me in to a mighty big sucker!!




If you don't know what BarkBox is, it is a monthly subscription service catered to dogs. Each month they send out boxes with four different items for your dogs to snack on and play with. They aim to provide options that are more wholesome than much of what you find in your pet stores and also try to focus on 100% made in the US products. Both of these endeavors get BarkBox points in my book! You can sign up for a one month, three month or six month subscription term and shipping is always included in the price you see. Additionally, they do ask about the size of your dog and for my three labs, going with the large dog option was a no-brainer!

At first I was a bit apprehensive about trying BarkBox, if only because I wasn't sure if what they would send would work for my dog (specifically toys), and also to be honest, I spoil the dogs well enough on my own so I didn't know if I wanted to add more fuel to the fire!

I have taken a break between subscriptions a few times (I've been subscribing on and off for a least a year and a half), yet everytime a box arrives, the dogs know EXACTLY what it is!!

So for this review I wanted to include a glimpse into the monthly box, in this case it is for July.



BarkBox comes in a plain cardboard box every month, with a simple BarkBox inscription. Despite the fact that we receive packages ALL THE TIME (way too much online shopping!), the dogs still seem to know that this one is just for them. Is it the smell??


Everything comes "wrapped" in the BarkBox paper, and includes a card that shares with you the theme of this months box as well is information regarding what is in the box. Recently, they have added the option for you to reorder online through BarkBox or through text, any items that you liked enough to repurchase. Additionally they now share pricing which is something I appreciate!






So this month's box had a beach theme and ours contained five items. To be completely honest however, I wouldn't consider the smoothie as an item since they are often thrown in our boxes.


 Bixbi Daily Essentials Chicken Breast Jerky Treats

The first item up is this bag of Chicken breast jerky treats. What BarkBox says:

Wheat, corn, and soy-free, these USA made and sourced jerky treats are packed full of anti-oxidant rich whole foods including blueberries, cranberries, reishi mushrooms and of course - delicious chicken! From the heart of Colorado to a satisfied pup tummy in no time flat.

BarkBox states that for a 5 oz bag, these cost $10.00, with similar pricing elsewhere online. I give these treats points for being wheat, corn and soy free and I also like the inclusion of blueberries with a) my dogs LOVE and b) are super good for dogs! I don't generally purchase jerky treats for the dogs though so these are definitely a rare treat as they only receive them from BarkBox. 


Healthy Dogma Coconut Flavor Barkers

These coconut dog treats look like your standard dog biscuit, and unfortunately, I cannot share with you what BarkBox says regarding this item because they made a printing error and gave the same description for these as the chicken jerky above. Oops!

I can share with you that BarkBox prices these at $8.00, which is nearly the same as the price on the Healthy Dogma website (they charge $7.95). I am excited to try these out for sure! I mean, who isn't coconut good for?! Also, after looking at the manufacturers website, I am impressed at the variety of flavors they offer! Seriously! Check them out! 


Mr. Barksmith's Pina Colada Smoothie

Next up is what I consider to be an add-on. Here's what BarkBox says about them: 

If you like Pina Colada and getting lost in the...well, you know the rest! Isn't it time to share a tropical moment with your pup and make sure they don't miss out on this classic summertime treat? Each treat is made from human-grade food ingredients, is wheat, gluten and dairy free, and can be enjoyed at room temperature or frozen - pawfect for these extra hot summer days. One for them, one for you. Knock it back and repeat! 

These retail for $2.00 on the BarkBox site, however, I found a six pack of these in a different flavor online for $6.49, bringing the individual price to less than $1.10 each. Personally, I am sick of receiving these in our boxes. It's not cost effective for me to purchase a box for each dog, but it's frustrating when you receive a single use treat such as these because it forces me to pick favorites!! I generally look at items like this as an add-on since they are a one time deal. 



Etta Says Duck Chew

What BarkBox says about these duck chews: 

Made from wholesome American duck, Etta Says duck chews have always been a favorite to pups, whether near the sea or miles away. Who can blame them?

These are $4.00 each on the BarkBox website, which seems to be a decent price unless you are looking to buy in bulk through various pet supply websites. The dogs seem to really enjoy treats like this, the only challenge I have is trying to break it into three pieces so they all can get some. Some of these types of treats will break easily while others shatter which is no fun considering the strong smell most have! I have no real complaints for these though and neither do the dogs!





Loopies Fish Bones Toy

Last but not least, we have this fish bone shaped toy. Barkbox says this: 

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...your pup's got a new fishy friend! This extra-durable, neon blue ocean-dweller from Loopies is ready for tugging, tossing, cruising the tides - and whatever else your pup has in store for them. 

On the Barkbox website this toy retails for $15.00 - yikes! In my opinion, that is a lot for a toy like this. I could not find this exact toy online other than through Barkbox so I am unable to compare prices unfortunately. I will say that the toys are where I generally have the biggest gripes with Barkbox. I choose the large dog size but I honestly wish they would do a more in-depth survey so they could take greater consideration with what they include. I have three Labrador Retrievers, which means AGGRESSIVE CHEWERS! Toys like this just don't last no matter how "extra-durable" they claim them to be. Last month we received a stuffed monkey butt (no joke) which also claimed durability and within a minute already had a whole. It's hidden from the dogs now because if they had five minutes with it, it would be toast. While they do seem to enjoy soft/fuzzy types of toys, they don't last long enough for me to see the point in purchasing them. I'd be lucky for something like this fish bone to last fifteen minutes, which would equate to $1.00/minute. In my case these types of toys aren't worth it. I can say however that we've received some FANTASTIC rubber based toys (we have a bone from a box last year that they go nuts for and admittedly, so do I because it's vanilla scented and smells AMAZING!!) - I just wish we could see more toys like that!


Overall, I will continue to stay subscribed, at least until my subscription runs out next month. However, I can't say I'm totally sold on paying for another subscription right now. The biggest clincher for me has become the shipping. BarkBox says that they ship out on the 15th of each month and we used to receive our boxes within 1-2 days of then. Lately however, each box has taken longer and longer to arrive and this month was the real clincher. What supposedly shipped on the 15th didn't arrive until the 22nd. That's eight days!! I had to be real careful on social media so I wouldn't see any sneak peaks at what everyone else received well before we got our box! 

If I were to rate Barkbox on a scale of 1-10, I would give them a 5. Which is why I'm on the fence about continuing as a subscriber. I would love if they could improve on that score and I'm sincerely hoping they do (so are three labs I know)! 

If you have tried out Barkbox, what are your thoughts on the service? Pros & Cons I want to hear it all! Please share in the comments!!

Interested in trying out BarkBox? Order through this link* and receive 10% off your first subscription!




*Link is a referral link. For every subscription someone makes, I will receive a free month of BarkBox. I am not paid/sponsored to make this post in any way.

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