I tried BarkBox to find out what dog owners like about it, and now I get why it has over 500,000 monthly subscribers
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
- BarkBox is a subscription box for dog toys and treats.
- It has over 500,000 monthly subscribers, so I figured it might be worth a try. Fortunately, my Cavalier King Charles puppy, Archie, was up to the task.
- Archie will chew on or play with just about anything, so I'm not surprised he loved the BarkBox toys so much. I am, however, pleased with their quality and durability.
- One final thing I found interesting is that BarkBox is very allergy-friendly.
From groceries and prepared meals to clothing and beauty products, there is a monthly subscription service for everything - including dog toys. These services have become extremely popular among people who treat their dogs like children.Can you blame them? After all, your dog is your #1 fan and most faithful companion. Plus, pets are people too!
When it comes to monthly pet product subscriptions, there are several options to choose from. The Cat Lady Box is loaded with cat-themed items for the crazy cat lady in all of us while Purr Packs and the KitNipBox deliver monthly supplies of cat toys and treats. For dogs, there's Rescue Box, which is customized based on your dog's size, and Bullymake Box, which is designed for heavy chewers.
And then there is the ever-popular BarkBox.
Though I was familiar with the concept of BarkBox, I knew nothing about the company's history before I agreed to write a review. In doing a little research, I came to discover that BarkBox was designed by Henrik Werdelin and launched in 2012. The company first became profitable in 2017 and is projected to make over $250 million in sales for 2018.
The number that really impressed me, however, was the number of monthly subscribers - 500,000. Furthermore, subscriptions and sales grew by 70% last year and 95% of customers keep their subscription for multiple months.
If BarkBox has over 500,000 dog owners howling about their products, I figured it might be worth a try. Fortunately, my Cavalier King Charles puppy, Archie, was up to the task!
How does BarkBox work?Kate Barrington/Business InsiderArchie loves a good plush toy, especially if there's a squeaker involved.
To keep it simple, BarkBox sends you a box of toys, treats, and accessories once a month.
Not only does BarkBox offer monthly deliveries of toys and treats, but each box has a unique theme. One month your dog might receive a collection of holiday-themed treats and toys while the next month his BarkBox might send him on a journey through Chewrassic Bark. Each box contains two innovative toys, two bags of all-natural treats, a chew, and a specially curated item from the month's themed collection.
Every toy is designed by in-house industrial designers, made for the way dogs play and approved by the company's own test dogs.
To sign up, all you have to do is create an online profile, answering questions about your dog's size and dietary preferences. You can also choose from the standard BarkBox filled with plush toys or the Super Chewer Box filled with fluff-free tough toys.
From there you choose a monthly subscription at $29 per box or you can pay for six or 12 months at a time for a reduced price and bonus toys. The entire subscription process takes less than 5 minutes.
Testing the BarkBox
To write my review, Archie and I received two BarkBoxes with assorted toys, treats, and chews from the Bark Slope Street Fair collection. Here's what we received:
- Fresh Fair Treats, Lamb Gyro Recipe
- Fresh Fair Treats, Duck Shish Kabob Recipe
- Fresh Fair Treats, Chicken & Fish Taco Recipe
- New York City Central Pork Pizza Treats
- Plato Pet Treats Thinkers Chew, Salmon Recipe (2)
- Max's Maine Lobster Roll (Plush Toy)
- Gideon the Pigeon (Plush Toy)
- Bebe the Burrito (Plush Toy)
- Lickton Iced Tea (Spiky Core Toy)
- Shuck n' Chuck Corn Cob (Super Chewer Toy)
- The All-Powerful Pupsicle (Super Chewer Toy)
- Buns of Steel Hotdog (Super Chewer Toy)
I waved the toy around a couple of times then offered it to him. He immediately grabbed it out of my hand, ran down the hall into the bedroom, and started chewing.
Archie loves a good plush toy, especially if there's a squeaker involved. But what he really loved about Max's Maine Lobster Roll was the crinkle noise it made. Several other toys in the collection made similar noises and he seemed to prefer them above the hard Super Chewer toys. He gobbled up the treats (which was a little surprising since he's been picky about treats in the past) and he made quick work of the chews as well.
I'm now writing this several weeks after receiving Archie's BarkBox.
My bedroom floor is currently covered in tufts of stuffing ripped out of several plush toys I'd received as gifts. Archie's beloved stuffed lamb and puppy are no more, but his BarkBox plush toys are still around (though he did manage to get the squeaker out of Gideon the Pigeon and chewed that to shreds).
Needless to say, I think he's a fan of BarkBox and so am I.
What's the verdict?
Archie will chew on or play with just about anything, so I'm not surprised he loved the BarkBox so much. I am, however, pleased with the quality and durability of the toys. Even the plush toys from the regular BarkBox stood up well and I'm convinced the Super Chewer toys will last forever.
I'm not sure that I need two bags of treats every month, but they're good until 2020 so I've started a stockpile. Archie loves chews, so those are long gone already.
One final thing I found interesting is that BarkBox is very allergy-friendly.Every BarkBox is free from corn, wheat, and soy which greatly reduces the risk for triggering allergies and food sensitivities. There are also options for dogs that are allergic to chicken, beef, and turkey - you simply have to call BarkBox and they'll send you an allergy-friendly box.
To wrap up, here's a review of the pros and cons for BarkBox:
Pros for the BarkBox subscription:
- Everything is of the highest quality including all-natural dog treats and innovative toys.
- Each box is tailored to fit your dog's size and options are available for dogs with allergies.
- You can reorder certain items or purchase items from other collections online.
- There is a money-back guarantee if your dog doesn't like every item in the box.
- BarkBox donates 10% of its profits to shelter dogs in over 3,000 rescues.
- Discounted prices are available for buying multiple months and for multiple dogs.
Cons for the BarkBox subscription:
- Subscription automatically renews; you'll be charged and sent another box if you don't cancel.
- Some of the plush toys may not be ideal for heavy chewers and the stuffing could be a choking hazard - there is also access to the squeaker inside if your dog rips open the toy.
- The rubberized toys that come in the Super Chewer box are heavy and somewhat awkward.
All in all, I was very pleased with my BarkBox experience and I think it's safe to say that Archie is too.
Find the best holiday deals on our Black Friday Deals and Cyber Monday Deals page. Subscribe to our newsletter.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find all the best offers at our Coupons page.