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Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love my dog. So, as Earn Spend Live’s resident crazy dog lady/subscription box junkie, I was nominated to provide an opinion about the best dog subscription boxes for fellow (slightly) over-obsessed dog parents.
I’ve written about how much I love BarkBox before, but I’m still always open to exploring other subscription boxes out there — and PawPack seems to be a pretty good contender. I’ve never personally tried PawPack, but based on my experiences with BarkBox, I’m going to do my best to objectively review each service based on price, products, customer service, and popular opinion.
BarkBox is easily one of the most popular pet boxes out there — and for good reason! They send quality toys and treats every month that are customized depending on your dog’s size. The cost is $29 per box, or as cheap as $19/month if you sign up for a one-year subscription.
Compared to other pet subscription boxes, the price of BarkBox is relatively inexpensive (especially if you commit for multiple months at a time). It’s also really great that BarkBox offers different size toys and treats, because there’s such a wide variety of pups out there. My dog’s weight is technically classified in the upper end of the “small” category, but I get him the medium-sized box because he thinks every toy that comes into our house is meant to be ripped to shreds as fast as doggily possible. He’s less likely to choke on bigger toys, so I’m glad I have the option to customize what kind of toys he receives.
It’s also nice that BarkBox consistently sends several toys in every box (there’s supposed to be at least two toys and treats, plus one or two “bonus” items in each box). My dog is also part of the “Extra Toy Club” as part of a free “Pup-grade,” so he’s guaranteed to get at least three toys every single month. Since he goes through one toy about every week or so, this is the main reason why we are subscribers — it keeps him stocked up on toys without me having to run out and by more every time I turn around.
A few extra perks that seem to make BarkBox stand out among the sea of pet subscription boxes:
Their website is very professional and easy to navigate (though it should be, this is definitely not a given).
They have a hilarious and very informative blog, and they’re also very active on all types of social media — their Instagram account is one of my favorites that I follow. Though you don’t necessarily have to be a member to enjoy these types of benefits, it makes them seem like a more well-rounded company who genuinely cares about us and our furry friends.
Ten percent of all proceeds are donated to rescue organizations.
They offer a multi-dog discount.
While BarkBox certainly has a lot of great stuff to offer, they aren’t perfect. There’s no option to pay monthly, meaning that if you sign up for a three, six, or 12-month subscription you do receive a discount, but you have to pay the entire amount up-front. Also, the subscription will automatically renew for another three, six, or 12 months as soon as it expires. So unless you manually cancel it before it expires, your bank account will be hit with a surprise charge — which I know from personal experience is no fun if you aren’t prepared for it.
Finally, though I love the cute “themes” for each BarkBox with unique toys and treats, they aren’t always the most practical or durable — especially for a dog who loves (and I mean LOOOOVES) to chew. Out of all the BarkBoxes I’ve received (I’ve been a member for almost a year), I think we have a total of one toy — a rubber ball — that hasn’t ended up in the toy graveyard after a week or so. Instead, each toy ends up shredded into a million pieces that are strewn all over my apartment. I’ve considered trying other boxes just to see if we might receive some toys that are built to last a little bit longer.
PawPack is a monthly subscription box that offers options for dogs of all sizes. What makes PawPack stand out is that they place a big emphasis on all-natural, eco-friendly products. The price is $35 per box, but if you sign up for a monthly subscription, you get 10% off each box (which totals out to about $31.50 per month).
Though I haven’t tried PawPack myself, from the research I’ve done online it seems like a pretty great box — especially if you have dogs with special dietary restrictions. PawPack offers a 100% allergy guarantee, meaning that if your dog is allergic to any of the treats in their box, they will send you a different treat for absolutely free. This goes along with one of the other things they’re praised for: Excellent customer service.
Each box includes a whopping five or more items, ranging from durable toys to hypoallergenic, all-natural (and/or grain-free if requested) treats and cool accessories for your pup. This last part is pretty cool, since boxes like BarkBox only offer treats and toys — it’s nice to have a little variety every now and then. Also, from what I can tell, it seems like the toys that PawPack sends aren’t as unique or “themed” as the ones in BarkBox — but they do seem to be more practical and durable.
Some Other Pros of PawPack Include:
There are different-size boxes available depending on the size of your dog.
10% of proceeds go to animal rescue charities.
They have an entertaining/informational blog called “The Daily Paw.”
A wide variety of items.
Though there is a wider variety items included in the PawPack box, this could be a downfall for some people who want a pet box purely to stay stocked up on toys and treats. Some of the boxes only include one or two toys, and as any dog owner knows, you never know what your pup is going to turn their nose up at. This is quite an expensive box if your dog only ends up enjoying half of the items.
Also, compared to the specialty toys included in BarkBox, the generic toys in PawPack aren’t as unique. These are the same types of toys you can go out and buy yourself, while most of BarkBox’s toys are made specifically for their service.
The Verdict: Would I Switch?
The main differences between these two boxes in my opinion is the focus on toys (BarkBox) versus the focus on hypoallergenic, all-natural, grain-free treats (PawPack). So the decision between the two should depend on what kinds of things your dog enjoys more. If you’ve got a serial toy killer (like my tiny psychopath), then BarkBox’s larger selection of unique toys may be a better bet. But if you’re constantly struggling to find treats that won’t make your furry friend break out in hives (or if you just have a total chow hound), then PawPack could be a dream come true.
Personally, I wouldn’t switch because my dog is extremely picky about treats and looks forward to getting lots of new toys every month. But ultimately, both of these boxes are great options for busy pet parents, and in the end, your pup isn’t going to know the difference.