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BarkBox vs. PupBox — Which is Better for Your Pup?

Barkbox vs. Pupbox

Comparing These Two Popular Dog Subscriptions

Let’s be honest, nobody needs an excuse to shower their dog with treats and toys—it just comes with the territory of pet parenthood! This is why dog subscription boxes are a great way to reward your pooch just for being cute. Dog subscription box services have perks for humans, too: they do the work of finding healthy treats and quality toys on your behalf, and sending them in a nice curation to make you smile while they save you time and money. Plus, if your home is going to have plush toys scattered about, might as well make them fun for all species under your roof, right?

Two of the most popular subscription boxes for dogs are PupBox and BarkBox. What do these monthly subscriptions have in common? They both send toys and treats, and they both cater to your pup’s size and needs. But they differ in pricing and approach. Which dog subscription is a better fit for you and your fur baby? We’ll lay out all the details so you can decide for yourself.

by Christen Russo, Chronic Dog Petter
December 17, 2020| 4 comments

BarkBox vs. PupBox

 

When weighing one dog subscription box against another, there are a number of considerations. What kinds of toys do they send, and are they a good match for your dog’s style of play? What types of treats are included, and do you have a preference for ingredient sourcing and production? Plus, of course, price, special doggie diets, and more. Feel free to jump to the specific section(s) that interest you most, or get a quick overview by heading straight to my verdict.

First, here’s a quick overview of each box:

  • BarkBox is a monthly subscription box for dogs. Each box comes packed with 2 bags of all-natural treats made in the US or Canada, 2 personality-filled toys, and one chew. Everything you’ll receive in your box is proprietary and curated around quirky themes that are as fun for dog owners as they are satisfying for your furry companion.
  • PupBox is a dog subscription box that primarily focuses on puppies, and their play and development. The monthly box includes guidance on age-appropriate training your new puppy, plus an array of 5-7 goodies, which always includes a bag of treats. You’ll also occasionally find useful items that are helpful toward training and raising your growing dog. PupBox also offers subscriptions for adult dogs!

Ready to see how PupBox and BarkBox compare?

Plans & Pricing

BarkBox Pricing Info

If budget is your top consideration as you decide on the dog subscription that’s right for you, BarkBox is the more affordable option. Both boxes provide savings to subscribers who sign up for longer-term subscriptions, but even then, each BarkBox tier is lower-cost than PupBox‘s tiers.

Both subscriptions ship to the US (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada, though shipping costs vary. BarkBox‘s free shipping offering only extends to the contiguous US, with an $8 shipping fee to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada, whereas PupBox ships boxes free to the entire US with a $5 shipping fee to Canada. Depending on where you live, the shipping difference might balance out the subscription cost a bit.

Here are the details:

BarkBox costs $35 per month and offers opportunities to save with longer commitments to their subscription.

  • $35 per month when you subscribe on a month-by-month basis.
  • $26 per month when you sign up for a 6-month subscription.
  • $23 per month when you sign up for an annual subscription.
  • Shipping is free within the contiguous United States; sales tax may apply. Shipping to Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada costs $8.

COUPON: Get a free extra month when you sign up for a 6 or 12 month subscription. No coupon needed - just use this link.

PupBox Pricing Info

PupBox is a little more expensive, costing $39 per month. They also offer discounts for longer commitments, though even their annual subscription tier is a little more pricey than BarkBox‘s.

  • $39 per month when you subscribe on a month-by-month basis.
  • $34 per month when you sign up for a 3-month subscription.
  • $32 per month when you sign up for a 6-month subscription.
  • $29 per month when you sign up for an annual subscription.
  • Shipping is free within the United States, and $5 to Canadian addresses.

COUPON: Use code MSA60 to save 60% off your first PupBox on any 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription.

The Customization

Of course, for some, whether or not the price of either pup subscription is worth it depends on what’s inside! Before we get to the specific items sent for your pup, let’s take a peek at what the signup process looks like. In this section, I’ll walk you through what all is asked in each sub’s introductory quiz—including which questions you can opt out of—and what to do if your dog has a special consideration that wasn’t covered in the survey.

BarkBox Customization Options

When you sign up for BarkBox, you’ll start by answering some questions about your pup. You’ll tell his or her name, then be asked to provide the following details:

  • Your dog’s weight range—small (0-20 lbs), medium (20-50 lbs), or large (50+ lbs).
  • Your dog’s breed. You have the option to skip this step.
  • Your dog’s birthday or adoption day. You have the option to skip this step.
  • Your dog’s allergies, if any. All of BarkBox‘s treats are free of corn, wheat, and soy, but you can choose to also have them exclude treats with chicken, turkey, and/or beef.

If you wish to further customize your dog’s monthly subscription box (for example, if you want greater or fewer toys, treats, or chews per box) you can tailor your assortment by reaching out to their Happy Team via live chat or email.

PupBox Customization Options

To join PupBox, you’ll take a quiz so they can get to know your puppy’s details and preferences. First, you’ll share your dog’s name, then you’ll be asked to share the following info:

  • Your dog’s birthday.
  • Your dog’s sex—female or male. Note that this question is not optional, nor is there a “gender-neutral” option available.
  • Your dog’s projected weight range when they’re full size—very small (1-10 lbs), small (10-30 lbs), medium (30-50 lbs), or large (50+ lbs).
  • Your dog’s coat type—short hair, medium/long hair, or hypoallergenic (non-shedding).
  • Upload a photo of your dog. You have the option to skip this step.
  • The option to add more notes about your dog.
  • The option to indicate your dog’s allergies, if any—choose from grain, chicken, beef, and/or pork.

If you’re signing up for your puppy, you’ll receive age-specific toys, treats, and grooming tools. If you’re signing up for your adult dog, your boxes won’t be age-specific, but all other aspects are customizable the same way a puppy’s box would be.

The Treats

BarkBox Dog Treats

 

Each BarkBox contains two bags of high-quality treats that have been made using in-house recipes. The treats they create are meant to be healthy and delicious for your dog and are made in the USA and Canada from a combination of domestic and imported ingredients. If your doggo has allergies or other dietary needs (even beyond the options offered in the sign-up questionnaire, such as low-fat, no pork, vegetarian, etc.), BarkBox is happy to accommodate.

There’s also one chew included in each BarkBox, which is another BarkBox-made edible delight for your pup to look forward to each month. Same as with the classic treats, the chews are made in the US and Canada from both local and global ingredients. Puppy owners and those with power chewers can attest that they’re an engaging snack that dogs enjoy being kept busy with. Pet parents of older dogs can request that the ratio of their box be rearranged to exclude the chew if it’s too hard on your best bud’s chompers.

PupBox Dog Treats

 

Every PupBox delivery comes with 1 bag of dog treats for your furry friend. Depending on your dog’s age, you may see training treats to help with training efforts! While PupBox does not include rawhides in monthly dog boxes, you may see bully sticks, ears, bones, or other chews which are healthier and safer for dogs than rawhides. PupBox recommends consulting with your vet if you’re concerned about a specific treat you receive in your box. PupBox notes that they do not source any edible items from China.

If your dog has a food allergy that isn’t listed among the allergen options during sign-up, you can add it to the “additional notes” free field. If your pup’s diet changes as they grow, you’ll have to reach out to customer service through the contact form on PupBox‘s website.

The Toys

BarkBox Dog Toys

 

A big question when it comes to dog toys—especially if you recently had a new puppy join the family—is whether certain dog toys are safe. BarkBox designs their own toys to be made with only the highest quality materials. Their team only sends toys they would feel comfortable giving their own furry pals, though they recommend supervising dog toy play since every pup has his own style and intensity of playing. If a BarkBox toy gets punctured or ripped during play, they advise throwing it away to minimize the risk of ingestion.

If you notice your pup repeatedly damaging the plush toys that come in BarkBox monthly boxes, you might want to consider upgrading to the Super Chewer subscription! More info on Super Chewer below.

PupBox Dog Toys

 

In addition to those yummy treats, you can also expect 4-6 other items in your monthly PupBox, which include fun goodies like teething toys, plushies, rope toys, interactive toys, and more, depending on where your puppy is developmentally. Is your dog destroying the toys they receive in their deliveries? PupBox actually suggests embracing this energy release—while supervising and removing any squeakers or other parts that come loose, of course. That said, if you find your pooch needs tougher toys, you can reach out to them via the contact form on their site to make your request.

The Extras

BarkBox Extras

Actually, there aren’t any! This subscription service keeps things pretty simple and straightforward—though, rarely, you’ll find little bonus stickers or cardstock punch-out costume piece for your pup (like the one in this box), or other small quirky things that can just be thrown away or recycled if you don’t have a use for them.

That said, if you want an extra toy or bag of treats at any time, you can visit their online store to stock up on extras. Head to the “As Seen In BarkBox” section to shop items that came in BarkBoxes you weren’t signed up for. BarkShop orders have $5 flat rate shipping, or free shipping for orders over $35.

Image from our review.

BarkBox also offers some alternate subscription options. For heavy chewers, puppies, and certain breeds of adult dogs who need extra-durable toys, BarkBox offers the Super Chewer subscription for $45 per month (or $35/box with a 6-month subscription; $30/box with a 12-month subscription). Inside Super Chewer boxes come at least $50 worth of tough toys, meaty treats, and chews. Same shipping rates apply.

Alternatively, if you find your doggie is taking her time getting through the items in each monthly box, subscribers can update their plan to BarkBox Lite or Super Chewer Lite, wherein they can expect to receive 1 toy, 1 bag of treats, and 1 chew in each shipment. Contact the Happy Team for more information and pricing info.

PupBox Extras

PupBox Subscription Box March 2020 Paste front

Image from our review.

All sorts of stuff! Every puppy’s monthly box comes with a training guide so that pet parents are set up for success as they raise their fur baby. You’ll also find other developmentally appropriate accessories and items pop up—things like pee spray for house training puppies, extra chew toys for teething pups, grooming goods, and more.

PupBox also has an online shop that features specialty or themed boxes for one-time purchase. Subscribers can visit the shop to re-purchase individual items that they liked from previous boxes, and either pay full shipping to have them mailed immediately or just pay a $1 fee to have them added to your next monthly box (as long as they fit).

Skipping & Cancelling

Skipping & Cancelling BarkBox

To skip a month, switch it to an every-other-month cadence, or cancel your BarkBox subscription, you have to reach out to the Happy Team. The good news is that BarkBox‘s customer service is extremely responsive, prompt, and accommodating!

Skipping & Cancelling PupBox

To skip a month, you’ll have to reach out to [email protected] You can also use this same contact email to request to receive bi-monthly shipments, though PupBox discourages it since their monthly training materials build on one another.

To cancel your PupBox subscription, visit your Account page. If you signed up for a multi-month subscription and cancel in the middle of a subscription term, you’ll still be charged for the remaining boxes in your plan and receive those monthly deliveries, but your plan won’t be auto-renewed at the end of your subscription term.

The Customer Service

BarkBox’s Customer Service

BarkBox‘s customer service hours are Monday-Friday from 9 am-9 pm EST. Within those hours, you have the option to call, chat, or email your questions and can expect a prompt response.

PupBox’s Customer Service

PupBox‘s customer service hours are Monday-Friday. They don’t have specific hours posted but they function on PST. On working days, you have the option to call or email your questions, or post on one of their social platforms, and can expect a response within 2 business days.

Which dog subscription is the best fit for you?

So, as you can see, BarkBox and PupBox both offer a lot of great goodies for your dog to enjoy. Both include bags of treats and chew toys that many pet owners feel safe and comfortable giving to their dogs. How will you decide which monthly dog subscription box is the right one for you? Let’s do some quick comparisons by category to help you make your choice.

Cost

  • If you’re looking for a lower-cost dog subscription, pick BarkBox. It costs as low as $23 per month with an annual subscription (or up to $35/month if you sign up for the month-to-month plan) and offers free shipping within the contiguous US.
  • If you have a bit more room in your pet budget, PupBox costs $29 with an annual subscription (or up to $39/month with the month-to-month plan). Shipping is free within the US.

Customization

  • If you have a new dog and want your monthly boxes to be catered to their training and developmental needs, PupBox sends training guides and coordinating products (think items that help with potty training, behavior, and more) suited to your puppy’s age in every delivery.
  • If you aren’t a puppy parent anymore or have adopted a dog, or if you value healthy (free of corn, wheat, and soy) treats that are made in-house, BarkBox might be more your style. Their boxes are more straightforward in terms of what’s included month-to-month, but they encourage customers to reach out with specific requests at any time and are happy to accommodate.

The Overall Dog Box Experience

  • If you like the idea of a curated theme that’s filled with personality, and want to know exactly what types of items to anticipate in each box, BarkBox keeps things simple with a setup of 2 bags of dog treats, 2 plush toys, and 1 yummy chew per box (unless otherwise coordinated through customer service).
  • If want to experience a variety of toy and treat offerings out there among reputable dog brands, and want to be sure they’re chosen with your puppy’s age in mind, you might like PupBox better. Know that they also offer boxes for older dogs, but the toys and treats just aren’t age-specific.

Skipping & Cancelling

Comparing skipping and cancelling with BarkBox vs. PupBox, the experience is about the same. With each dog subscription service, you can disable auto-renew directly from your account. To skip a month, you’ll need to reach out to customer service.

Note that if you are signed up for a 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription with either company, you will be charged for the full subscription and sent all the monthly boxes, even if you cancel mid-term; your plan just won’t auto-renew.

Customer Service

  • If you’re a big question-asker, anticipate your pup having changing needs, or simply value amazing customer service, BarkBox has an awesome reputation for quick and friendly customer service.
  • If you’re typically not in a rush when reaching out to companies with questions, PupBox promises a 2-business-day turnaround for inquiry responses.

Need more info? Check out our BarkBox reviews and PupBox reviews to learn more.

Ready to dive into a subscription box for your dog? We have some deals you won’t want to miss:

BARKBOX COUPON: Get a free extra month when you sign up for a 6 or 12 month subscription. No coupon needed - just use this link.

PUPBOX COUPON: Use code MSA60 to save 60% off your first PupBox on any 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription.


Which pet subscription is the perfect match for your pup? Let us know in the comments!

Written by Christen Russo

Christen Russo

Christen is a smile collector, outdoors enthusiast, and appreciator of soggy French fries. Her favorite subscriptions involve eco-friendly products and clothes, nature supplies, stationery, and coffee. She can be easily won over with a good sheet of stickers.

Comments (4)

  1. I subscribe to both and they both have things like about them. My pup isn’t a fan of the Bark box treats, but loves the toys and sticks. I love the variety of the items in Pup box. The curation is well thought out, because every toy and item comes at the perfect time (developmentally talking). I tend to find every item useful and my pup loves their treats. I often end up purchasing more once I am done.

    • This is great perspective, Kellie! Thank you for sharing your experience & your dog’s preferences. Best of both worlds!

  2. I signed up for BarkBox mostly because of the Scooby Doo theme they did. So cute! But I went ahead and treated my yorkie to a year’s subscription and although the Scooby box is still my favorite I have liked all the boxes I’ve received.

    • Oh my gosh, yeah, the Mystery Machine toy was great that month. I’m a sucker for a good theme so I find that to be a really fun aspect of BarkBox, too! Your Yorkie’s a lucky little one. 🙂

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