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BarkBox Dog Subscription Review 2023: Pros, Cons & Verdict

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim


Our Final Verdict

We give BarkBox a rating of 4.75 out of 5 stars.

Quality: 4.5/5
Variety: 5/5
Ingredients: 4/5
Value: 4.5/5

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What Is BarkBox? How Does It Work?

BarkBox is a subscription dog box service that sends a curated collection of new toys, treats, and chews every month. It makes shopping for toys and treats much simpler for dog owners by eliminating the need to make frequent trips to the pet store. It’s also a great option for dogs that quickly chew through toys or get bored easily.

One of BarkBox’s main selling points is its supply of unique toys and themed boxes. So, other than its monthly dental chew box, BarkBox doesn’t offer a subscription box that contains just treats. Meaning, if your dog isn’t really a fan of plush toys and chew toys, these boxes probably won’t be a good fit.

Overall, BarkBox consistently delivers fun and endearing themed boxes containing high-quality toys and treats. You can even find boxes based on pop culture references. So, these boxes usually end up being an exciting and delightful experience that both dogs and their humans will look forward to every month.

barkbox subscription box contents

How to Sign Up for BarkBox

Signing up for BarkBox subscriptions is quick and easy. All you have to do is complete a brief questionnaire on BarkBox’s website and choose your monthly subscription preferences. You can make special requests for treats if your dog has food allergies, and you can order an extra toy if you have more than one dog and don’t want to purchase a whole new box. The questionnaire also takes down your dog’s size and breed to send appropriately sized toys.

Once you put in your shipping details and confirm your subscription, you can manage your subscription through your online account. The online account lets you pause subscriptions, update contact and shipping details, and connect with customer service.

Subscriptions auto-renew at the end of the subscription period. So, if you want to cancel or change your subscription duration, you’ll have to make updates before the auto-renewal date.

BarkBox – A Quick Look

a white dog with the barkbox subscription box

  • Exclusive selection of unique toys
  • Special box for heavy chewers
  • Many savings and discount opportunities
  • Excellent customer service
  • No subscription boxes containing just treats
  • No refunds on subscription boxes

BarkBox Pricing

BarkBox has three different types of subscription boxes, and each box has different price points. You can add extra toys, food toppers, or dental chews to each box for an additional monthly fee.

Here are the prices for each subscription box:

Classic BarkBox Super Chewer Box BARK Bright Dental Box
Month-to-Month $35/month $45/month $30/month
6-Month $26/month $35/month $25/month
12-Month $23/month $29/month $22/month

BarkBox also offers Lite versions of their classic BarkBox and Super Chewer Box. These boxes each contain just one toy and one bag of treats. The classic BarkBox Lite is $14.99/month, and Super Chewer Lite is $19.99/month.

What to Expect from BarkBox

BarkBox offers three different kinds of subscription boxes: classic BarkBox, Super Chewer Box, and BARK Bright Dental Box.

Once you select your box and successfully sign up for a subscription plan, your first box will ship to you within 2-3 business days. If you live within the 48 contiguous states, you can expect the box to arrive within 2-8 business days after it’s been shipped. Residents in Alaska and Hawaii can expect their boxes to arrive within 4-12 business days.

All other boxes will be shipped within the first 2 weeks of the month. You can expect to receive an email each month with an estimated delivery date. If you’d like to pause your subscription, you can contact BarkBox’s customer service to make a request.

barkbox toys

BarkBox Contents

Classic BarkBox

  • 2 toys
  • 2 bags of treats
  • 1 chew

Super Chewer Box

  • 2 tough toys
  • 2 bags of treats
  • 2 meaty chews

BARK Bright Dental Box

  • 1 month’s supply of dental chews
  • 1 month’s supply of toothpaste

Unique Toys

One of the best things about BarkBox is the unique toys that you’ll receive every month. While BarkBox sells some of its toys through some retail stores, the BarkShop, and Amazon, most toys are available exclusively through its subscription boxes.

So, if you’re bored looking through the same selection of toys at your local pet store, BarkBox is sure to come through with interesting, high-quality toys. Many toys come with pockets or compartments where you can hide treats, so dogs can enjoy a good mental challenge and reward while they play.

a white dog playing the barkbox toys

Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is a top priority for BarkBox. It’s normal for companies to have some negative customer service reviews, but the majority of experiences with BarkBox’s customer service are positive. BarkBox has a generally quick response rate, and representatives are more than willing to make corrections to boxes so that your dog enjoys the contents inside.

Many negative reviews comment on the inability to cancel subscriptions and stop the boxes from arriving. However, BarkBox’s FAQ section clearly states that they will not stop boxes from shipping until the subscription period ends, even if you make a cancellation. So, make sure to read through their policies thoroughly before signing up for a multi-month subscription.

Discounts and Specials

BarkBox provides plenty of opportunities throughout the year to help you make savings and even get free items. The first thing you’ll notice is the significant savings you can make if you purchase a multi-month plan. If you sign up for a 6-month plan, you can save between $5-$10 per box. If you choose the 12-month plan, you can save between $8-16 per box. You’ll experience the most savings with a multi-month Super Chewer box.

BarkBox will also occasionally have free items available if you purchase specific boxes, buy a certain number of items, or enroll in a subscription plan during certain parts of the year. So, it doesn’t hurt to check back every once in a while, to see if there are any special events taking place.

a white dog looking at the pet gourmet chew stick

Strict Return and Refund Policy

Like most subscription dog box services, BarkBox doesn’t accept returns on items in its subscription boxes. If you purchase any BarkShop products, they must still have stickers and tags attached to them and be returned in their original packaging.

While you can cancel your subscriptions at any time, BarkBox will not refund any boxes that you’ve already purchased. So, you’ll still receive all remaining boxes if you signed up for a multi-month plan. After the plan period ends, you’ll stop getting deliveries. If you strongly wish to stop receiving boxes, you can always update your address to a friend or family member’s address so that they receive the boxes instead.

Fortunately, BarkBox has a 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed policy. So, if your dog doesn’t like any of the items in the box, you can speak with a customer representative to get the most out of your subscription.

Is BarkBox a Good Value?

In general, BarkBox is a good value because you’re guaranteed to get premium toys and treats every month at a reasonable price. However, the savings really come into play when you sign up for a multi-month subscription. Prices drop significantly per box, and you may also get a free item if there’s a special going on while you’re setting up your subscription.

So, if you’re hesitant about BarkBox, purchase a one-time box and see if your dog likes it. If it gets your dog’s approval, sign up for either the 6-month or 12-month subscription to maximize savings. You’d definitely save more with a multi-month subscription plan than buying each item separately.

barkeats magic and baa baa jerky bars

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Can I Pick My BarkBox Theme Every Month?

Part of BarkBox’s appeal is the surprise factor. So, there isn’t an option to select your theme box for each month. However, if there’s a particular item that your dog loves, you can check to see if BarkBox has extras in stock on the BarkShop website.

What Customizations Can I Make to My BarkBoxes?

After you receive your first box, you can make some extra customizations for future boxes. If your dog is a huge fan of the toys, you can choose only to have toys sent to you. If you’re on a Super Chewer Box plan, you can mix BarkBox toys with Super Chewer toys for more variety. BarkBox customers can also add a BarkShop toy to their next monthly box.

While there’s no option for a treats-only box, you can customize the treats if your dog has food allergies or doesn’t like a specific flavor.

All customizations must be made before the 15th of the upcoming month. Any customizations made after the 15th will be applied to next month’s box.

How Durable Are BarkBox’s Toys?

BarkBox doesn’t give a concrete answer to how durable its toys are, but this is because durability can have different meanings to different dog owners. BarkBox is willing to make free upgrades to slightly more heavy-duty toys in the classic BarkBox, or you can change your box to a Super Chewer Box if you notice that your dog is tearing through the regular toys quickly.

a white dog playing on one of the barkbox toys

Our Experience With BarkBox

We tested out the classic BarkBox with our 7-year-old Cavapoo. She’s a small to medium-sized dog weighing a little over 20 pounds. Despite her age, she has a lot of energy and loves to play.

Our BarkBox arrived within the expected time period, and we ended up receiving the Bark 2 School box. It was a fun experience for the humans to open because the description pamphlet was both informative and fun to read, and the toys had funny phrases and dog puns on them.

It was no surprise that our dog was excited to play with the new toys. Our box contained the Barkpack and Yapper Keeper, and we also received the free Pawticipation Star that was a part of a special offer taking place at the time.

The Barkpack and Yapper Keeper both had clever designs and had squeakers and treat compartments. We were especially impressed with the Barkpack because of all the thoughtful elements. The front pocket could hold treats, and there was an extra crinkle toy inside the main pocket. The Barkpack straps also had Velcro on one end so you could easily grip them during a game of tug. This toy was also our dog’s favorite, and she was able to enjoy playing with it in multiple ways.

While our dog likes to whip toys around and play tug, she isn’t too much of a heavy chewer. So, all our toys have stayed intact. The toys have good stitching, so I can see them lasting at least a month before tearing. However, after seeing the toys in person, I’d say that they’re not built for strong chewers, and the Super Chewer toys would be a better fit.

The only lackluster part of the box was the treats. One of the treats had pea protein and rice listed as the first two ingredients. Our dog is a picky eater, and she saw right through those treats and refused even to sample a bite. Fortunately, making customizations with BarkBox is straightforward and easy, so we could put in a request for more meat-based treats for future boxes.

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We had an overall positive experience with BarkBox and would recommend it to any dog owner with a playful dog that loves toys. It’s very clear that BarkBox puts a lot of thought and care into its themed boxes, and we were especially impressed with the multi-functional designs of some of its toys.

BarkBox definitely makes shopping for dog supplies an easier and more enjoyable process. You’ll get your money’s worth and more as you and your dog share delightful experiences of opening boxes filled with fun surprises.

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