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My dog and I tried BarkBox and here’s our honest review

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Western chapter.

***This article is not endorsed by BarkBox (but honestly, please sponsor us!)

Before we even start, you should definitely go follow the adventures of my dog and I on Instagram (@Melaniesfarmhouse) because let’s be honest, seeing her opening her BarkBoxes is way more entertaining than whatever Western Savages last posted. Spoiler alert: it’s probably just another drunk student jumping onto a table. Check out some of her ridiculously adorable BarkBox unboxing videos here, here, and oh yeah… here too (You’re welcome in advance for the cuteness).

To go back to the very beginning of our BarkBox adventure, just five short months ago I adopted the absolute love of my life (besides my two cats Cheeto and Charlie respectively). She was a 10-week-old black labradoodle and she was undoubtedly the cutest yet ugly puppy I’d ever seen. The first time we met she ran right up to me, put her paws on my shoulder and snuggled into me. So, essentially, since the very first minute we met and every single minute since, she has me wrapped around her little paws. We named her Cora, partly after my favourite breakfast restaurant and partly after that really creepy kids movie Coraline (I usually just stick to the breakfast explanation though).

          All photo provided by author. Meet her dog, Cora!

After the day I brought her home, as I’m sure any dog owner can relate, every pet store I passed just became another opportunity for me to bring home a new toy for my angel. However, after she managed to destroy a handful of toys in only a few weeks, I was introduced to the concept of BarkBox—a monthly subscription box for your dog. I spent almost a whole month researching it, following their Instagram page, looking up reviews and trying to decide whether it was truly worth the money.

The Investment

The typical BarkBox comes with two high-quality toys, two bags of treats and a bone/chew of some kind and costs anywhere from $22 to $29 USD plus shipping depending on which package you chose. Since BarkBox had different prices for one month, six month and twelve-month subscriptions, I decided to just go with the most popular choice and ordered the six-month plan costing $33 USD in total per month including shipping (approx. $45 CAD). I did, however, purchase my subscription box during their Black Friday sale in November of 2018 as they had a special extra-toy deal on. When it came down to it, I realized that three good quality toys, two bags of treats and a chew would cost me approximately the same price from a pet store anyways, so the extra-toy deal is really what sold me. This was, of course, in addition to the ridiculously cute themes that the boxes have—more on that later.

After purchasing my first box at the end of November, I was happily surprised to find that they shipped it immediately, however, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it here, shipping takes forever. Also, less than two weeks later, my account was charged again for the December box due to how the monthly plan works. The typical monthly boxes charge your account on the fifth of every month, then your box ships on or around the fifteenth of the month and then about two weeks later, the box arrives in Canada. With no tracking capabilities after crossing the US border, it was essentially a guessing game as to when the boxes would arrive. Nevertheless, Cora’s very first BarkBox arrived just before Christmas and she was able to unwrap and open it on Christmas morning.

The Themes, The Toys, The Treats—oh my!

The ridiculously cute themes of each box change based on what season it is as well as what is popular in the media at the time. The toys you receive are typically based on the size of your pupper (Cora—approx. 40 lbs—gets the medium sized toys currently but we’ll likely switch to large soon). Our very first box in November was based on the 2018 adaption of the movie The Grinch. This included two bags of treats shaped like Christmas trees, a festive chew stick, plush characters of The Grinch, his trusty reindeer Fred, a thick rubber sleigh rope toy and a Velcro Max antler for your dog (as seen above). To this day, despite all the toys she has ever received, her plush toy of Baby Grinch is still her absolute favourite. Sadly, after four months, Fred is no longer with us as he was recently ripped open.

          R.I.P. Fred the Reindeer, you will be forever missed.

While the Grinch may be Cora’s favourite, some of my personal favourite themes we have received thus far are: Winter comforts which included a cinnamon roll, a cardinal, and two love birds on a log, and Street food which featured a Burrito, Lick-ton iced tea, and a spiky meatball. One thing I really do love about the BarkBox themes is that they get extremely punny (hence Lick-ton iced tea and spiky meatball) and that every single toy has its own name. They also seem to follow a common theme of making toys that are characters of squirrels which is of course the one animal every dog seems to be fascinated by (we have two squirrels so far!).

One of the other things that led me to take the plunge and sign Cora up for BarkBox was the guarantee BarkBox promises on their toys. As each toy is made specifically with dogs in mind, the incorporation of sounds such as squeakers and crinkle paper are frequent design choices. Also, if by chance your dog manages to chew through the outside layer of the toy, there is always a smaller toy/ball within each toy as well. If your dog just so happens to completely destroy the toy such as Cora has done twice now, BarkBox will immediately send you a replacement toy at no cost. But if your dog is a recurrent and notorious toy destroyer, BarkBox also sells boxes called SuperChewer for those doggos who require tougher toys.

Much like the toys, the treats can be specifically ordered to suit your dog’s needs. When signing up, you can list whether your dog has any allergies they should be aware of to make sure they never send you anything that could harm your fur-baby. Since Cora is very much food motivated, there has yet to be a treat or chew she hasn’t enjoyed. While the smell can sometimes be horrendous (due to the products being all-natural), I love knowing that she is ingesting only the best ingredients for her health. Plus, if the themed toys weren’t cute enough, the treats also always match the theme in their shapes, flavours and names.


In short, BarkBox boasts the novelty of ridiculously cute high-quality pet items, a company motto that promises to replace any damaged toys for free and treats that are all natural and cater to food allergies.

So, if you are okay with waiting a few weeks for shipping and paying in USD currency with the exchange rate, then Cora and I both agree it is definitely worth the investment!


You can check out BarkBox on their website or on their Instagram page to find out more information on how to subscribe.


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Full-time student, part-time librarian, all-time procrastinator. Lover of all animals, drinker of many cups of hot chocolate, and auntie to two super sweet little boys. Angel mom, domestic violence advocate and junior communications executive.
This is the contributor account for Her Campus Western.