BarkBox Review: Is It Worth It?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Dec 17, 2019

These days, it’s possible to purchase almost any product on a subscription basis. Pet items are no exception.

BarkBox is a dog-centered subscription service that lets you receive a box of themed toys and treats for your dog each month. Each BarkBox delivery includes toys, treats, and a chew, all based around a monthly theme.

You can customize this delivery based on your dog’s size and capabilities. For instance, pets with strong jaws are best suited for a Super Chewer box that comes with more chews and extra-durable toys.

BarkBox’s goal is to add some whimsy and the thrill of the unexpected to pet ownership while allowing you to spoil your favorite canine. Though you won’t know what will come in your box ahead of time, BarkBox guarantees that every toy, treat, and chew is designed to maximize your dog’s enjoyment while keeping them safe and healthy.

Is a monthly pet subscription from a company like BarkBox worth it? In this review, we’ll go through what you’ll receive and whether other pet owners are happy with the service so you can decide.

Pros: Cons:
  • Cute pet products based around themes
  • Possible to choose how many chews, toys, and treats you want
  • “Original” and “Super Chewer” subscriptions available for different dog personalities
  • You can purchase add-ons from the company website
  • Mediocre reviews on HighYa
  • The company won’t refund payments for subscriptions that automatically renew
  • Customer complaints about toy quality

How Does BarkBox Work?

BarkBox boxes are offered on a subscription basis. You’ll start the signup process by sharing your pet’s name, size (selecting 0–20lbs, 20–50lbs, or 50+lbs), breed, age, and any allergies for ingredient preferences.

If you think your pet is between two sizes or you have two pets of different sizes, BarkBox recommends sizing up your order. The price per box won’t change based on pet size.

Note: BarkBox isn’t available for cats.

The BarkBox default option will include two toys, two bags of treats, and one chew toy. You can adjust this assortment and request more or fewer of one type of product by messaging BarkBox’s customer service at happy@barkbox.com or by using the website’s online chat feature.

Each month’s BarkBox will be based around a theme. For instance, December 2019’s theme was “The Muttcracker” and its options included a nutcracker toy, multipart sleigh toy, sugarplum fairy toy, wearable Santa hat, ginger cranberry “cookies”, and dance of the berry dazzled ducks treats.

May 2019’s “Sniffs from the Abyss” theme included four navy and fuschia hued sea creature toys, including a jellyfish, sea slug, and multi-part “food chain friends,” as well as two bags of treats.

Note that your pet will only receive two of toy options associated with each theme unless you specify otherwise. These toys are chosen randomly for each box.

It’s possible to add additional extra products to your box or double the items included in it through your online account dashboard.

You can also share your pet’s birthday or adoption day as part of the signup process. During that month, BarkBox will offer you birthday-themed products that you can purchase as add-ons for your box.

Are BarkBox Treats Healthy?

The company states online that all BarkBox treats are made from USA-based ingredients and are free of soy and wheat, and corn. You can also request that they be free of chicken, beef, or turkey if your pet has a sensitivity to one of these proteins.

It’s also possible to chat with a company representative to customize your pet’s box if they have other dietary needs.

The Super Chewer Subscription

If you have a pet that loves to chew, you might want to upgrade your subscription to Super Chewer status. These boxes are also delivered monthly, and each one includes two durable toys, two bags of treats and two chews.

These toys are designed for serious chewers and should last longer than toys in the original boxes. They are “fluff-free” and made from a tough-but-tearable fabric cover and a solid rubber or nylon core.

If your pet chews through a Super Chewer toy, BarkBox’s return policy states that the company will replace it with another toy.

What Does BarkBox Cost?

BarkBox subscriptions cost the following prices per month:

Original BarkBox Super Chewer
Month-to-Month $29/month $39/month
Six Months $25/month ($150 total) $34/month ($204 total)
12 Months $22/month ($264 total) $29/month ($348)

Adding bonus items to your order will raise this base cost. For example, you can purchase a premium toy every month for an additional $9.

It’s possible to purchase most items included in BarkBox on an a la carte basis at the brand’s e-commerce site, BarkShop.com. Many of these toys and treats are also available in US retail locations like Target, Amazon, Bluestone Lane and more.

Each of these plans enrolls you in a recurring subscription unless you choose to opt-out online before it renews.

You can also order boxes as gifts, which don’t come as a subscription. Their pricing is the following:

  • 1 box: $35
  • 3 boxes: $89
  • 6 boxes: $149
  • 12 boxes: $249

All orders include free shipping.

How to Cancel Your BarkBox Subscription

You can cancel your subscription at any time through your web account, but it’s not possible to get a refund on any unused months that you already paid for.

This means that those who purchase a six-month or twelve-month subscription need to cancel before it renews if they don’t want to pay for the additional subscription time.

While the company doesn’t have an official return policy, they will work with your privately to ensure you are 100% satisfied with your order.

It’s best to direct any questions to the company support team at happy@barkbox.com.

Are BarkBox Products a Good Deal?

According to the prices on Bark.com (BarkBox’s official supplier), most treats in the boxes can be purchased individually for $5. The toys range in price from $10–$18, and most of the chews are about $10 each.

This brings the total value of each original box to between $40 and $56 if you were to buy each product separately. As you can purchase the boxes for $22–$29 each, you’re getting a benefit of $11–$24 by purchasing them through a subscription instead.

That’s a good deal if your pet loves everything they receive but it might get pricy if you find you aren’t using several items in every box.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

Here on HighYa, BarkBox has an average rating of 2.7 stars after more than 200 reviews. This included about 75 five-star reviews and more than 100 one-star reviews. Below is a summary of some of their main takeaways:

Fun, Engaging Boxes

A large portion of reviewers loved everything about BarkBox. They wrote that their pets enjoyed the treats and toys and that the themes were a fun surprise every month.

Though some subscribers noted that they were eventually going to cancel their subscription because they only needed so many dog toys in their homes, many seemed content to continue their membership longterm.

Box Quality Is Inconsistent

A few reviewers wrote that they were long-term subscribers to BarkBox and that they believed the value had gone down over time. Many reported that they received duplicate toys and full box duplicates and that the toys seemed lower quality because their pets were destroying the toys much faster than they had a few years before.

Others wrote that they felt like their boxes often contained returned items, as the products seemed bedraggled and almost prechewed.

Boxes Not Always Delivered

Some BarkBox subscribers never received their orders because they were sent to the wrong address. Others received boxes for only half the time they had paid for and needed to get in touch with customer service to fix the delivery issues.

Some users struggled to change or cancel their subscriptions and consequently ran into problems when they moved and couldn’t quickly update their listed address.

Inaccurate Pricing

A few Barkbox subscribers wrote that they were charged more than expected for their subscriptions and consequently felt like the company was taking advantage of them.

Pets Chewed Toys Too Quickly

The biggest complaint on HighYa about BarkBox is that pets chewed up their toys too quickly. Many reviewers wrote that the toys in an original subscription lasted less than an hour and that the Super Chewer toys were destroyed within a week.

Some wrote that they requested replacement toys from the company but were usually disappointed because they received the same toys again, which didn’t solve the durability. Others wrote that the company stopped replacing toys in the boxes after about five requests.

Key Takeaways

While a large portion of HighYa reviewers loved BarkBox, others were less positive.

Common complaints involve shipping and billing issues, the materials used in the chews, and the longevity of the toys.

If you have a dog that loves to tear toys apart, you might be disappointed in BarkBox’s quality.

BarkBox vs. Pooch Perks, PupBox, and BullyMake Box

There are many other canine-focused subscription brands to consider besides BarkBox. The following chart goes through key details for four popular options to help you decide what is best for your needs.

BarkBox (Original) BarkBox (Super Chewer) Pooch Perks (Popular Pooch) PupBox BullyMake Box
Cost Per Box $22–$29 $29–$39 $26–$35 $29–$39 $31–$39
Items Inside 2 Toys 2 Treats 1 Chew 2 Toys 2 Treats 2 Chews 5–6 Handpicked toys, treats and chews 5–7 Premium products, including a bag of treats, toys, and training tools 5–6 Premium treats and heavy-duty toys
Key Features Boxes are based around monthly themes Durable toys designed for big chewers, boxes are based around a theme Possible to sign up for toys-only subscriptions Each month’s box is based around your pet’s developmental age and includes training resources Durable toys designed for big chewers, boxes are based around a theme

As this chart shows, each brand offers its monthly subscriptions at a similar price-point to the others, and they each come with at least five products. All four also sign you up for an automatic subscription unless you choose to opt-out.

Pooch Perks is the only company we looked at that offers different prices based on your pet’s size, which could be an incentive for anyone with small dogs.

BarkBox offers the lowest price per box, but you need to commit to a year-long subscription to get it. Likewise, the brand got relatively low reviews on our site for customer service and product quality.

Each company (besides Pooch Perks) bases each month’s products around a theme. These vary from seasonal celebrations to dinosaurs, deep-sea creatures, video games, and more. These themes seem to be a significant selling point for many people, as they add an element of surprise and anticipation to the boxes that make them more exciting than picking out pet supplies at the store.

BarkBox’s Super Chewer subscription is very similar to BullyMake Box, both from a pricing and a product standpoint. While there aren’t any reviews for BullyMake on HighYa, the company averages four stars out of five on MySubscriptionAddiction.

Both companies offer nylon toys, which might be a drawback if you’re concerned about them being too hard on your pet’s teeth.

Key Takeaways

If you are shopping for a puppy, PupBox provides you with age-appropriate toys and training materials that can be a big help to new pet owners.

Those interested in owning lots of “cute” dog toys based around specific themes will likely be happy with BarkBox. Just keep in mind that the toys might not last long if your pup gets aggressive with them.

For those who own a chewing enthusiast, BarkBox’s Super Chewer box or a BullyMake Box are both excellent options. Our research shows that BullyMake boxes often include more bones and digestible chews than chew toys, which might affect your decision process.

The Bottom Line: Should You Consider BarkBox?

BarkBox has a transparent business model. You will sign up for a subscription that renews at a preset point, and then receive a predetermined ratio of pet toys, treats, and chews each month based around a surprise theme.

We like that the company offers customers a choice in what kinds of products are included in each box and that it’s possible to purchase monthly add-ons or buy the same items a la carte from the brand’s e-commerce store.

However, BarkBox gets mediocre reviews overall from HighYa readers. Common complaints involve the toys’ quality and problems with billing and delivery.

We think there’s a good chance that you and your pet will be happy with BarkBox, but you might not want to commit to a long-term subscription until you’ve sampled a box. That’s why suggest buying a few toys and treats individually or purchasing a gift box so you aren’t immediately enrolled in a subscription.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of BarkBox:
  • 203 Customer Reviews
  • 41% Recommend This Company
2.7 out of 5
5 star: 36% 4 star: 3% 3 star: 2% 2 star: 5% 1 star: 50%

 Our Promise to You

To safeguard you and ensure helpfulness and relevance, our compliance team manually assess every customer review before it goes live.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for fake reviews, and companies cannot control or alter any reviews at any time.

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  • Sample Boxes for Dogs

    • By Marilyn,
    • Arlington Heights, IL,
    • Jun 20, 2015

    It is filled with tons of treats & goodies for your pup. All of the items are full size and high end not the cheap crap that you might find at the drug store etc.

    As a member you also receive the BarkPost newsletter full of funny and interesting articles and not just a sales pitch to get you to buy more. Its really worth the fee, since dogs can be particular I would suggest trying it for one month at $29.00 and if your dogs like it they have 3-month or 6-month plans available. You cancel anytime and shipping is free.

    I started out at one month and my two dogs love their monthly surprise so I upped the subscription to 6 months and I will renew for a year.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Unknown Treasures

    • By Michelle,
    • Charlotte NC,
    • Jul 18, 2014

    What a wonderful box filled with USA made and sourced goodies. My Lab was so excited he couldn't stop wiggling. We received our first box and it included a large squeak stuffed fish, I must say extremely well made, and four treats all grain free and from the USA. I am so glad I subscribed. We will be looking forward to all future box deliveries and the wonderful treats we have never heard of. Looks to be better quality than we get from the local pet store. You also get an index card with the product info, retail cost and purchasing info.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great products and customer service

    • By Lauren,
    • Pennsylvania,
    • Jul 6, 2015

    Unlike some other reviews, I actually had a great experience with customer service. I moved right around the time the first box was sent out, and before I had a chance to change the address on my account, the box had been sent. It was lost in the mail. I contacted BarkBox and the person I spoke with extended my subscription by a month in case my box did not arrive. I (and, of course, my two dogs) have been very pleased with all the products. I love that most (all?) of the treats are gluten free because one of my dogs is sensitive to gluten. I recommend this subscription service and plan to renew.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Lovely gift

    • By M,
    • Toronto,
    • Sep 26, 2014

    Super fun and cute. A friend sent this to our dog as a gift. The parcel arrived with his name on it, how sweet is that? Our puppy loved the toys and treats. I think it makes a great gift and made everyone in the house feel loved!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great product. Highly recommend.

    • By Kim Roberts,
    • North Augusta, SC,
    • Jul 7, 2015

    Roxy got her first Barkbox today and loved it. She loved the toys and I have no doubt she will love all the treats as well. I was one of the skeptical ones, especially after reading some of the reviews on here. I am proud to say that I had a wonderful experience and have recommended it to all my dog loving friends. I posted pictures on my FB page and had many friends say they wanted to try it out and will be signing up soon. Roxy and I thank you for your creativity and for the products. Can't wait until the Nov box.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • We loved it

    • By Luann,
    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jul 8, 2015

    Bought one box with the extra toy just to try it out. It arrived quickly after the ship date of the 15th. My pointer loved everything in the box. He usually destroys his toys quickly, however these toys seem to hold up a bit better than ones at the local store. He was a happy boy the night it arrived. Reordering looks easy (I have not tried yet) and I had no issue getting customer service with their instant chat.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great service!

    • By Kate O'Rielly,
    • Arizona,
    • Jul 9, 2015

    Customer service at Barkbox is the best. I had a question and they responded within a few hours, and it was on a Sunday.

    Our dogs loved nosing around in a box that was just for them.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great box of toys and treats

    • By Melissa,
    • Jul 9, 2015

    My Boston Terrier loved almost everything in each Barkbox. I had a 3 month subscription and it was loaded full of toys I probably would have never thought to buy and she absolutely enjoyed. I am in Canada and each box was received about a week after the 15th of the month and the box was always perfectly intact. I wish I didn't have to pay extra for shipping, that's the only thing that is keeping me from reordering.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Don't listen to the haters

    • By Cecelia,
    • Wisconsin,
    • Aug 15, 2015

    Fist and foremost, this is an amazing idea. My pup loves everything in the box and now thinks every package belongs to him.

    I have seen so many complaints about things that are so preventable, fixable, and not true. Here are the debunked complaints:

    - "I am upset and had no idea that if I chose the year package that I would have to pay for it all up front, now it is out of my credit card and there is nothing I can do.." Yeah, ok, first of all they wouldn't have tiered prices if they were all paid monthly because there is no promise that you will continue paying for it. Also before you check out, it tells you the total, multiple times. And you confirm it.

    - "they keep renewing my subscription, when I didn't tell them to." The website says, probably a trillion times that subscriptions automatically renew. If you don't want it to, press the cancel button. You will still receive the boxes already paid for and you won't be renewed.

    - "I ordered on the 6th and it's the 15th and I still haven't received my box" please learn how to read, yet again, it says on their site that boxes ship on the 15th. If shipping is free- it is probably going to take about a week to receive your box. And guess what... they also have this fancy invention called a tracking number on your account.

    - "my dog was allergic to this treat," "my dog didn't like a toy so I am canceling," "my dog is a heavy chewer and this seems unsatisfactory." if your dog is allergic to something, read the box and don't give it to them. Email Barkbox and tell them your dog has an allergy and they will send you something new or Email them before receiving you box to prevent getting something risky. Remember that these boxes aren't personalized to you dog based on anything other than size unless you email Barkbox. They fill thousands of boxes a month, and do not personally know your dog and exactly what it likes. It's also part of the surprise. If your dog doesn't like a toy or it isn't strong enough, talk to customer service.

    I have tried several boxes now and Barkbox has had the best customer service. You can contact them in a plethora of ways and I almost always get an immediate response. Remember that there are probably a couple thousand e-mails in their inbox alone every day. You cannot expect the world.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Money well spent

    • By Angela Bryant,
    • Virginia,
    • Aug 1, 2015

    I can't believe some of the reviews on here complaining about how their pet didn't like this or that. It would be no different if you went out and bought a toy or treat and they didn't like it. Every month i get a box with 1 or 2 new toys and a bunch of natural, healthy treats (majority are made in the USA). My boxer loves the toys. If he tears them up, at least he had fun doing it. Most of the treats he likes also. Some not as much. Those I give to my friends with dogs to see if they like them.

    Point is, I rarely have to buy him treats or toys because I know he's getting a new box every month. At 19$ a month, I'm saving money since toys cost anywhere from $5-15 each and treats are just as expensive.

    As for the complaints about the automatic subscriptions and other nonsense, it's all on the website. I knew when I ordered it that the six months was paid up front, and that it would automatically renew.

    Some people may not want to pay so much, but I love my dog and love how he gets excited when that box comes in the mail. He knows it's for him before I even open it.

    Oh yea, I've had BarkBox for over a year now.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Source of my dog's favorite toys of all time.

    • By Lyman Hurd,
    • Cupertino, CA,
    • Jan 20, 2015

    I signed up based on a discounted offer from my company. They ask for the size of your dog for which I indicated "small". The treats have been good but the toys have been universal hits which has not been the case with the toys I have picked out myself at the pet store! They mix toys and treats with other useful items, the highlight to date has been a super-absorbent drying towel.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


Showing 1-11 of 203

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