To be quite honest, I wasn’t sold on the second post on my blog being a BarkBox review. In fact, I was going to do up a nice post about sweet potato noodles with a creamy, cheesy bacon and leek sauce, but I broke the sauce when I made it. I’d made almost the exact same sauce the night before and it came out beautifully. Oh well, mistakes happen; it’s just a shame that that particular mistake had to happen when I was using the last of the leeks and sweet potatoes and therefore could not try again the next day. So I brooded. I attempted to edit my photos from when we received our Barkbox, but I didn’t like them. I still don’t like some of them, but I think that’s in part because the two of the toys this month were huge and I’m still trying to relearn how to use my DSLR camera (having glasses is so far proving to be a detriment). So here we are, reviewing my January BarkBox.
I don’t know if it was obvious from all the times I’ve tried to mention my dogs on my website or their prominent placement in my “about the author” photo, but I have two dogs, Sammy and Cookie, the titular dogs of my blog. They could not be more different – Sammy is a gentle potato who loves to eat Kale stems and Cookie is a careless tornado who hates kale – but they are my fur babies and I love them to bits. I love to spoil them; but, honestly, dog toys and treats can be very expensive, especially when your border collie knows exactly where the toy aisle is and you have a bad habit of making impulse purchases. That’s why I decided to get a BarkBox.
I love BarkBox. Their service is a great value (I do yearly subscriptions, which work out to $19/month), their products are good quality, and the items in the box are almost always ones that I can feel good about giving to me dogs. I’m not being paid to say that, by the way, I just feel very favorably about their company. Even their customer service is stellar.
This month’s BarkBox theme was Peace, Ruv, and Happiness (or Hip-pup-pies, if you’d prefer that pun). I’m currently subscribed to the extra toy and treat club, so we received a pair of denim jeans, a sick guitar, a peace-sign rope toy, and four bags of dog treats. All of these items can be purchased on BarkShop, their online store, in the “Shop The Box” collection. (If you use that link to sign up, I’ll get a $10 credit and you’ll get a free mystery treat with your first order, so if you see anything you really like…)
The Denim Pants were the first thing I pulled out of the box. They’re durable, crinkly, and they have plastic bottles inside the legs, which can be opened for bottle revival or replacement. Cookie loves them and she has thoroughly crushed the life out of the bottles. Like any good 3-year-old, she has left it in the middle of the floor for me to fix. Sammy, unfortunately, doesn’t get to play with new toys because All The Toys Belong To Cookie as mandated by Cookie Law.
Next up is the Rockstar Guitar. Like the jeans, it is made of a durable material. It is about as long as Cookie Dog and contains 5 or 6 squeakers. Cookie loves squeakers. If we don’t stop her, she will trot around the house squeaking a squeaky toy until it breaks and we can all relax as she continues to squeak the toy even though it’s making zero sound at that point. She’s only managed to break one of the squeakers on this toy so far.
The Peace Sign Rope Toy is cute. It’s made of AZO-free cotton rope and can be sent through your washer and dryer. It is not, however, for tug-o-war with your 65-pound border collie. The way the inner bits are connected to the outer rope is not incredibly sturdy. It’s probably suitable for someone like my fiance’s parents’ dog, Rosie, who would probably sit and chew on it. Too bad ours is broken, or I’d give it to her.
The packaging on the toy didn’t really indicate that it wasn’t for tug-o-war and I tend to assume that’s what rope toys are for. So I emailed BarkBox and explained what happened. Their policies regarding customer satisfaction are exemplary, by the way. They are happy to give you a code redeemable for $10 and free shipping toward a replacement from the Shop The Box collection on BarkShop if your dog doesn’t like a toy and they emphasize donating unwanted toys, instead of asking that they be returned.
So that’s how the toys went down this month. The toys are Cookie’s favorite part of the box, so much so that she greets any package I receive with enough enthusiasm to power a small city. I, however, am just as much a fan of the treats as I am the toys. Treats can be learning tools and they can provide a basic excuse to pay attention to your dog instead of your TV.
First up, we have Max and Ruffy’s Peas and Ruv biscuits. They are grain-free, organic and smell great. I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better about giving my dogs treats that smell good. Sammy loves them and, well, Cookie’s opinion doesn’t really matter because her favorite treat is Pupperoni and she’s suspicious of basically any food that is not immediately identifiable as chicken.
Next, we have the Polkadog Wonder Nuggets (with peanut butter). They’re small, soft pellets and they smell primarily of peanut butter. They’re not grain-free (they have Barley flour and rolled oats in), but the ingredient list is only five ingredients long. They’re the perfect size for training. They are decidedly not Cookie-approved (she wouldn’t even take one from me), but Sammy ended up with more hand in his mouth than he intended when I offered him one because he was that eager.
We also received Wild Eats Sweet Potato treats. I haven’t even bothered offering Cookie one, because she didn’t like them the last time we got sweet potato treats and besides she regularly snubs anything good for her. These are the simplest treats possible – it’s just strips of dried sweet potato.
Last, but not least, we received Ziggy’s Disco Fries. They’re sweet potato and cheese flavored. They don’t smell like something I would eat, but they smell alright. They’re a little on the big side, individually, so they’re probably better for sparing uses, like tricking the dog into doing multiple tricks in a row or tricking the dogs into thinking the baristas at your favorite drive-up coffee place didn‘t forget about them.
Overall, I was very pleased with my January BarkBox. If you’re thinking about ordering anything you’ve seen here or you’d like to poke around and see what else they have, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d consider using my referral link. I’ll get a $10 credit and you’ll receive a free mystery treat with your first order! If you’re more interested in a BarkBox subscription, please use my referral code (P5LJ79VJ3Y) or this link when you sign up and we’ll both receive a free Barkbox!