MSA is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read the full disclosure.

Our Honest BarkBox Review – Is It Worth It?

BarkBox

What to Expect With Your Month to Month Subscription

I have written over a year’s worth of BarkBox reviews and the utter delight I found with my first box immediately set the tone for the rest of my experiences! Seriously, love at first box! It continues to be one of my favorite monthly subscriptions that also saves me from making the drive to my local pet store. I wanted to explain this dog box a little more in-depth and go over how to sign up, some common FAQs, and what you can expect each month, as well as share some of my favorite boxes with you! BarkBox sends a box with 2 new plush toys, two bags of natural treats, and a chew each shipment. Every box has a cute theme and the goodies inside are super creative and great quality for your average chewer. Have a rough and tumble pup? Try their Super Chewer box subscription which has toys made for heavy chewers who might be better off without fluff! Check out our Super Chewer reviews here.

COUPON: Expiring Soon! Free Bonus Toy in EVERY Box ($60 Value). No coupon needed - just use this link.

by Megan Kirkland, MSA Reviewer, Mother of Dogs
July 2, 2020| 20 comments

About BarkBox

The Subscription Box: BarkBox

The Cost: $29 a month + free shipping. Save with a longer subscription plan.

COUPON: Expiring Soon! Free Bonus Toy in EVERY Box ($60 Value). No coupon needed - just use this link.

The Products: 2 bags of all-natural, USA- or Canada-made treats, premium toys, and a chew, all inspired by a quirky new theme.

Ships to: The contiguous US for free; Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada for $8

Billing Cycle: You are billed by the 3rd of each month and your box should ship around the 15th.

Tough pup? Try their Super Chewer box subscription service which has toys made for heavy chewers! Check out our Super Chewer reviews here.

 

Pros & Cons

The Pros
  • The pure joy this box brings my dogs is priceless.
  • New toys and goodies each month without a visit to the pet store.
  • Super healthy and natural treats that are wheat, corn, soy, & filler-free.
The Cons
  • You will end up with quite a few plush toys all over your house and likely some very overly excited pups. This might feel like a lot of toys for a monthly subscription for some.
Is It Worth It?
  • For my house with 3 dogs? Absolutely. They are each obsessed with this monthly subscription box.
I’d Recommend BarkBox If You
  • Want a thrilling surprise for your pups delivered as a monthly subscription.
  • Prefer healthier natural treats and goodies for your dogs.
  • Appreciate well designed and often hilarious dog toys with staying power for average chewers.

I’ve been a BarkBox subscriber for over 12 months now, and you can see all of my BarkBox reviews here!

Barkbox November 2019 subscription review

The Sign-Up Process

Signing up is easy peasy, and actually super cute! It asks very basic info about your dog’s size, birthday, breed, etc. You can enter multiple breeds if your dog is a custom work of art.

Good to Know: If you have a pup like Piper (who has no teeth) email the BarkBox team at [email protected] or chat them and let them know. They will do what they can to make sure some softer treats arrive! (Thanks to MSA readers for this tip!)

 

The Monthly Boxes

Each box has its own distinct theme with treats and BarkBox toys (based on your dog’s size) inside to match. They are often really funny and the BarkBox team does such a great job in crafting imaginative toys that are also enjoyable to us humans, too. Each toy has multiple fun elements inside such as squeaker, crinkle, balls, and more. They keep my pups interested and no one has managed to destroy anything yet. Even though Charlie and Piper are smaller, I went with the medium box since Tucker is a big guy. He isn’t quite a super chewer, but he still has yet to rip any of these toys.

I also really appreciate how healthy and high-quality the treats are, especially since recipes with wheat seem to upset Charlie’s stomach. BarkBox’s treats are made in the USA and Canada and are all-natural, & wheat, corn, soy, and filler-free. A+! We try to buy our dogs the best food we can afford and it makes me happy to know that hard work isn’t undone with bad-for-them treats. I also have to take a second to rave about the wild flavor combinations that come in these bags. We have received everything from banana to cricket!

Themes

One of the most charming parts of a month-to-month BarkBox subscription is each box arrives with a brand new theme. I can’t even imagine how much fun the BarkBox team has coming up with these. Both of your two plush toys will follow this theme, and your natural treat and chew will (most of the time!) coordinate with the overall curation as well. I’ve found that I’ve had some treat bags show up that are not on theme, but that is because BarkBox customer support was kind enough to make sure Piper had soft treats. It is a worthwhile trade-off!

Here are the last 14 themes:

 

My absolute favorites were May 2020 (Scooby-Doo!), July 2019 (Hairy Metal), September 2019 (Must Squeak TV!), and our very first box in April 2019 (Shakespeare in the Dog Park).

Plush Toys

BarkBox plush toys always have a wonderful assortment of fluff, squeakers, crinkle, and other surprises like hidden treat compartments and pull ropes. They are also premium toys that have major staying power for most dogs. None of mine have managed to tear anything up, even big boy Tucker. (If you have a toy shredder, I recommend Barkbox’s Super Chewer box ). The toys are also so much fun to play with, especially since I am WFH and spending a lot more time with my pups. They appreciate new toys each month for playtime!

 

The imagination of these toys is also really enjoyable. A plush golden toilet? A crinkle fluff guitar with a functional strap? A reversible squeaker bib that looks like a tuxedo?! Every month is a new surprise.

Natural Treats

The healthy treats included each month are also equally as creative as the toys, from the clever and punny names to the often surprising (yet delicious) ingredients. The BarkBox team does a fantastic job of creating so many different shapes, tastes, smells, and textures for your dog to enjoy. These are excellent for training, as keeping a stash of natural treats is a wonderful way to reward good behavior. Will likes to reward the dogs with treats simply for looking cute or doing basic dog things like sleeping on the couch, so we go through a lot of treats in my house!

 

The treats are most usually meat-based (think lamb, beef, chicken, pork) but they are often combined with a selection of more unusual ingredients and flavors. Here are a few recent callouts: banana, lavender, crickets (!!), bourbon, chamomile, honey, carrots, cranberries, and chia seeds.

If your pupper has any allergies or dietary concerns, reach out to BarkBox customer support at [email protected] They will take great care of you and your furry pal!

Chews and More Goodies

Your final item in each BarkBox is likely going to be a sturdy chew! Piper and Charlie are older and don’t have the best (or any) teeth left, but Tucker is a bigger guy who likes to chew! I like to save these for him when the seniors put themselves to bed at night. I would argue they are his favorite (secret) treat in this subscription box. The flavors are a little more subdued than some of the treats, but he likes them just as much.

 

You might also find a surprise wearable accessory in your box, but this is a little more rare! They are usually part of the box packaging itself but are sometimes fabric. They certainly add a lot to the box though. It is always fun to play dress up!

 

The Verdict

Every month my entire house looks forward to this subscription. (Well, maybe not the cat.) If you are looking for a dog subscription box, try it! I would say it is totally worth it. Here’s why:

  • It is pure fun: Even if you aren’t spending more time at home these days, these new toys give my dogs and me extra playtime. When it arrives, it’s like an event for the entire house which makes it totally worth it. For someone who brings home a ton of boxes, this monthly subscription still stands out as one of my favorites ever.
  • It has enhanced my relationship with my pups: Piper and Charlie are both older now so getting them to play requires a little creativity, which BarkBox delivers in spades. I also thought this dog box was perfect for when we introduced Tucker to the pack because it was a chance for them all to play together and socialize.
  • It has good value and allows me to skip trips to the pet store where I would 100% spend more money: Aside from the fact that I am leaving the house less these days, decent dog toys are expensive at my local chain pet store. And bags of high-quality treats? Yeesh. The last time I bought Charlie a medium-sized toy it set me back $15.00. Sure, they have some less expensive ones, but we want them to last, right? Bags of dog treats are also quite spendy if you are looking for natural treats similar to the ones from BarkBox.
  • The variety is awesome: Those weird treat flavors? I am amazed each month at what arrives. There is always a nice mix of textures too, meaning my pups never get bored. The high-quality plush toys always have a few interesting features that keep my pups interested, whether that is crinkle, hidden treat compartments, excessive fluff, or something else!
  • The BarkBox customer support team is fantastic to chat with: Literally, they are. I reached out about Piper’s lack of teeth and they were thrilled to make sure soft treats ended up in each box so she wouldn’t be left out. They also encouraged me to reach out with anything I might need to customize the box to my pups’ needs. You can tell these folks love their own furry friends so much.

If you need even more detail on the BarkBox monthly subscription, be sure to check out all of the MSA BarkBox reviews from the past year or so on our BarkBox reviews page.

Tough pup? Try their Super Chewer box month-to-month subscription service which has toys made for heavy chewers! Check out our Super Chewer reviews here.

COUPON: Expiring Soon! Free Bonus Toy in EVERY Box ($60 Value). No coupon needed - just use this link.

 

Did I miss any details for new BarkBox subscribers? What do your pups think of this month to month subscription?

BarkBox

How do subscribers rate BarkBox?

Shipping
Customer service
Retail value
Quality of products
Curation
Ease of canceling

Created with Sketch.

Never miss a post: get email alerts about BarkBox!

Enable notifications () to get the latest BarkBox spoilers, reviews, deals, and news delivered to your inbox.


Written by Megan Kirkland

Megan Kirkland

I love natural/vegan beauty products, Korean skincare, unique jewelry, and weird candies from far away places. When I am not waiting for my next exciting box you can find me painting or taking photographs of interesting people. I never leave home without pug hair somewhere on my shirt and a bold lipstick on my smile.

Comments (20)

  1. I found this breakdown of the subscription extremely helpful and would positively love to see it for some of the other dog boxes. I just signed up to try vet pet and pet treater again!

    • Thank you Boxy Fox! I am so tempted to also sign up for those too! I feel like bringing my pups joy is pretty much priceless. But I also am prone to going way overboard…

  2. Agree with above comments. I have had BB for over 2 years and like most of the boxes although some are total misses. I recent canceled because I just have too many toys at this point.

  3. Megan, your review was so excellent, I signed up for six months for my doggies. I can’t wait for their first Barkbox.

    • Thanks so much, SheriH! I hope your pups love it too! <3

  4. Barkbox and FFF are the only two subs I still have. Between Costco and BB (and the occasional Amazon order), I no longer have to make trips to PetSmart. I always ended up impulse buying toys and things there and being disappointed that our big dogs would destroy them in seconds. BB works for us so well, we get the double box each month and our 4 dogs all have plenty of toys and treats, and at Christmas I gift some accumulated extras to my beastie and his three doggies. And we looove the themes and thoughtfulness in each box too. This sub is so worth it for us!

  5. I subbed the Super Chewer version and right out the gate, had some major issues–this was back in the fall. But they eventually got it straightened out and the last half of the sub went more smoothly (it was 6 months). There was one more incident with a missing toy or treat, but they sent it separately.

    The toys have been phenomenal. I have a golden mix and a border collie and they are rough on toys. My golden absolutely played with every toy that came in from BB. The toys are excellent quality and have really stood up to their antics. I am moving right now and between houses, but I’m hopeful I can resub when we get settled.

  6. My Shibas absolutely adore this box! They get so excited when they get to bury their faces in the box and dig out their new toys. And the bark box toys are some of their favorites out of all of their toys.

  7. I get Super Chewer for my pup, and she LOVES it. My tiny, toothless old man loves it, too. She still manages to destroy most of the toys pretty quickly, but customer service has been outstanding.

  8. Agree with everyone re:themes! We get just as much joy as the dogs do from the cute and creative box themes.

    As for the cons listed in the review, we don’t have the same experience with collecting too many toys. Our large Husky destroys every stuffed toy within the month. Also, why are “overly excited pups” a con? Isn’t that the point of Barkbox? I love seeing the dogs super happy and excited to receive their new toys and treats each month. Seems a little cold lol

    • Hey BB! The con reference to over-excitement mainly stems from my pug who doesn’t breathe well when he gets too excited. It’s also a thing with my mom’s Boston Terrier. So that was kind of a gentle hint for those who might also have flat-faced friends!

  9. I don’t get the title of this review. Why “our honest” review? It actually makes it sound like the typical sketchy online review from someone getting free stuff. I’ve had Barkbox for 2 of my dogs and I do like it a lot, but after awhile the amount of stuff is overwhelming and my dogs didn’t always like the treats. So yeah, it’s a good box. Is it worth it? For awhile, I would say, Maybe 6 months, at least in my case, for each of my dogs.

    • I thought that too about honest, are they going to do reviews were they wouldn’t recommend a subscription as well? Maybe something like our overall review/impression of barkbox or something along those lines instead?

    • Hey Sandra! I am glad your pups love the box too! Sorry about the title not feeling totally MSA. This was a deeper dive into Barkbox and my long term experience with this sub, so I thought it needed a more formal sort of title, but I get why it might have felt off! I will absolutely keep this in mind for my next in-depth sort of review and think of a title that feels like it has a little more personality. Thank you for your feedback! <3

  10. My dog loves her bark box so much. She thinks all of my subscription boxes should have dog treats and toys for her, too. I think the toys are well made and last my dog a long time.

  11. This was my first subscription box, out of probably trying 50+ over the years, and it’s still my favorite. I have purchased this for my children when they get fur babies and they love it. One has an hilarious Bernese Mountain Dog that takes out every single toy from his muck bucket and spreads it all over his room if he is ignored. It is hilarious, because over the years, he has amassed so many from BarkBox and boutique gift shops. His favorite was the hobo stick with the kerchief at the end.

    • I have subscribed to bark box for years and absolutely love it. The theming is brilliant. My dogs smell the box and delight as they get their new toys. The toys are remarkably durable. For the quality of toys and treat, the price can’t be beat. Highly recommend for dog owners!

      • The themes are hilarious; aren’t they? I remember one that had a camera and a passport, I think. It was so funny. At some point, though, we need to stop for a while, because the toys do last, except for my English Bull Terriers that destroy EVERYTHING. We do start back up after around six months, to give the good pups time to destroy everything and get ready for a new crop of funny toys and treats. The prom one was funny, too.

  12. You also cannot beat the themed items. They are always so creative. Sometimes I think I look forward to the new toys more than the dogs just to see what they will be.

    • Same! My dog is a super chewer, but we got her the regular box for large dogs. Some toys get destroyed and some don’t.

Please do not enter your email address in the Name field or in the comment content!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Remember to post with kindness and respect. Comments with offensive language, cruelness to others, etc will not be approved. See our full comment policy here.