Monday, December 24, 2012

Bark Box- Monthly Subscription Box Bundles For Fido

I love my pets like children. I'm sure it's blatantly obvious from the very existence of this blog, and likely true for 99% of pet owners (I hate that word, we're parents really, right?) The only difference with pets, versus children, is that there are less guidelines as to when to spoil them. Sure, we reward them for learning a new trick, much like a child with a good grade on a test, but I feel there is much less of a stigma for spoiling the pooch, over spoiling a child. And, yes, you can create a little brat/terror, with too much leniency but, for the most part, we can indulge our pets every day, in any way we want to. This may include allowing Fido to snuggle in your bed, looking the other way when Rufus is harmlessly harassing that squirrel, or literally treating Spot to an edible treat or chewy. I have no problem in admitting that we have an entire 4x Cube System set up for our pets' treats and toys. I'll get around to showing it someday, but for now you can imagine a 4.5' x4.5' shelving unit, divided into 4 cubbies, chocked full of doggie sweaters, rawhides, catnip bubbles, Friskies Temptations, and more.
How do we accumulate all of these pet products? Well the majority of the buys are from bargain (clearance) bins at major pet retailers; toys with broken/missing squeakers (I don't care for the squeakers anyhow, so it's a win/win for me), last season's flavor chews (they are still just as yummy to Nora), or discontinued toys and gimmicks (we found Nora's favorite treat, the Chilly Bone this way). All brand new, safe, products, perfectly acceptable for pets who know no season, trend, or difference. They simply know that something is being presented to them- and that makes them feel special! Secondly, we do participate in the PetPals Blogger/Reader program, where we send a box of goodies out to a new pet acquaintance each month. This also returns a unique collection of goods as we rotate our pets in participation each month. And lastly, in a similar, but retail capacity, we receive boxes of goodies in monthly retail subscription services. I'll be honest, I subscribe to 4 monthly subscription boxes for the humans- so why shouldn't the pet's get involved to? I know I certainly like to receive a box of surprise goodies to explore!
I'm not going to yank your chain- I've tried several subscription services and many have failed in expectations of value and originality. I don't, generally, enjoy paying to receive a box of sample size products from brands I already use and buy. Subscription boxes are all about indulging and discovering new and exciting brands and services; they take the footwork our of the consumer's job and present a unique collection of items and services for the consumer to consider. Let's face it, the perfect monthly box subscription would come loaded with full size products you'd instantly become hooked on, logging into websites to track refills and replacements down, ultimately becoming a loyal consumer to those brands. But, of course, even the most carefully of tailored box services won't be chocked full of 'hits'. And that's okay; buy into monthly box services so you don't spend unnecessarily money trying a product or service that isn't right for your pet. Just be sure to fully read the monthly agreement/subscription terms, and always fill out relevant breed/allergy/size information to the best of your knowledge. Nothing will ruin delivery day more than receiving a box of toys and treats as large as your dog!
I've had hit or miss luck with Pet Subscription Services in the past. One company boasted a hand picked organic assortment of toys and treats, rearing 4 items in a single box; many unusable and overpriced (to jack up the advertised 'value' of the box). So, when I kept seeing the Bark Box ad pop up on my Facebook sidebar I was a little hesitant. Their colorful, cartoon, marketing laid out the process quite simply; choose your size  (dog), pay as little as $17/month with a 6 month subscription, or $29 for a non-contracted subscription month, get free shipping, and help out a Rescue Charity with 10% of your purchase price. Bark Box, like others, promises a minimum of 4 products a month; which was a bit of a turn off at first, but seems to vary greatly on the size (dog) bog you subscribe to. Regardless, I've been monitoring the past few months for all sizes and the boxes are literally brimming with great puppy treats and toys. I've yet to see a box with just the minimum '4' items; let's hope this is not a 'launch' trend, and carries on through the remainder year of this company's inception.
In any case, we received a subscription free ($29) box to try the Bark box program out. Our parcel arrived via USPS, thanks to free shipping, and garnered interest from all four-legged family members, immediately. It must be like the old canning 'oils on the lid' theory, because I'd have sworn Nora know that specific box was for her (and we receive quite a few boxes!) No sooner had I slid the scissors through the binding tape, and wedged the top flap open, then she had her nose, and half her body, inspecting the contents inside. I would have assumed that she would have been overwhelmed by the variety of the contents inside, I certainly was, but Nora immediately latched onto a particular treat and drug it out of the box. The Barkworthies Bully Stick was an immediate winner, from the Small November box. While Nora was focused on gnawing this slender and narrow chewy I rifled through the impressively diverse, and appropriately sized, toys and treats. With the exception of the small Bionic Bone (rubber stuff-able chew toy), Nora was able to consume/chew each and every toy and treat! The Bionic Bone would have been perfect if Nora had just a few more pounds, but her jaw simply isn't able to open wide enough to gnaw on this orange rubber stuffie.
One thing Momma, I, found especially exciting was Mr.Barksmith's Cool treats; one of two flavors of ready to eat smoothies for dogs. Appropriate for the Fall season, we received an individual serving of  Pumpkin Patch. These come in single serve cups which have the option of being frozen, and served as a treat for teething dogs, or the perfect cool off in the summer. There were a few concerns that I had, while watching my little monster gobble this up. In particular, the tiny cup had to be placed inside a larger, stable, food dish, to avoid it sliding all over the house as Nora licked. Additionally, the natural orange hue of this product discolored Nora's mouth/fur for a good 2 days, despite diligent cleaning. Regardless, Nora enjoyed this treat so much I have order both flavors in multiples since discovering them through Bark Box. Other edible treats in the November box include Fruitables Organic Treats, and an Acadia Antler Rope to chew on. The Antler Rope has garnered some interest, but took the back seat to the Bully Stick initially.
The value of our November Barkbox went beyond the physical treats and toys; as there were 3 paper goodies included inside. We also received a $10 discount for dog-sitting, $10 Gift Card, and complimentary one month subscription to Dog TV. As silly as the latter sounds I highly suggest checking out, for their engaging videos and help articles for pets and parents. If you have children with pets, this can be a truly valuable resource for education and pet interaction, as well as networking. Barkbox also included a calling card for their app, which offers FREE Shipping on item purchases made through it. In all, I am planning on subscribing to Bark Box with a 6 month ($17/month) commitment in the new year. We were very pleased with the collection of products and services in our November Box, and I recall watching the October reveals in envy as well! Use our exclusive code to save $5 off your first month's subscription: qXl0t59V2x

Please note: I received a month of complimentary service in exchange for my candid opinion.


  1. A subscription would make a wonderful gift for a pet lover and the pet too!

  2. OK. I was a little bit skeptical, but it seems like you got a lot for the money. Do you see yourself continue doing this for a while? And I totally agree with Teresha - great pet owner's gift

  3. This is certainly the best pet subscription I have seen yet. I actually bought some of the stuff in the October box, because I saw it on their site and was bummed I missed out. We will certainly be continuing a subscription!

  4. This would be great for a pet lover! Thank you!

  5. What a cute selection of products!

  6. Wow, those are some good treats! I love it!

  7. Davinia and Indiana would have gone straight for the bully stick too. They have tried antler chews before but weren't as excited either for us the rope addition would not have made the chew /toy any more appealing I don't think. They like fruitables too! Oh and $10 from (Mr.) is awesome! Thank you for sharing about the bark box sounds like a great Holiday present for the dogs and something that they can continue to get year round.

  8. This would be awesome. Not sure if I want to spend that much a month, but I love how part of the proceeds go to a Rescue Charity. :) ashley

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