Barky Box: a review

Why a subscription box for pets?

smells good

It’s a good question and to be honest I don’t really know. I stumbled across this article by the Independent and thought I’d give it a go. I used to (many years ago) get a beauty box subscription for myself and I really enjoyed it: it was like getting a random present every month. I’m past the years of treating myself to such things (I know the products I like and am not into experimenting!) but as Kubo is my first dog I thought it may be a good way to explore what offerings there are. I joined Barky Box back in October for a 3 month subscription.

Initial Impressions

I started the subscription in October and I was excited as my three boxes were themed; Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and Christmas. I was a little disappointed that my first 2 boxes arrived so late in the month (I actually got my November one on 1st December) so I contacted Barky Box via Facebook and they promised they would do their best to get the December box to us before Christmas – they did indeed– top marks for responding and following through! 🙂

I really love the way their boxes are hand written and personalised. I likehalloween dog biscuits their social media presence and friendly tone – sharing pictures and commenting on various platforms made me feel like part of a family. I don’t know how big a company they are but it felt like a start-up – in a good way – I wanted to support them and be a part of their journey! The toys have been high quality and the treats have been really interesting: I adored the Hallowe’en themed ones!

Kong Bear
Kong Knots Bear (and the bandana) – November

I was a tiny bit disappointed with the November box: we received a bandana with ice creams on it (in Winter?) and a bag of coconut treats that I had already received in the October box. I was worried that I was going to get the same things repeatedly in my Barky Box. On the flip side we did get a Kong Knots bear which I was really happy with and some great biscuits.

 

December Box

december barky box by benji dog treats
Box of goodies minus the Guru bone Kubo already nabbed – December

Kubo was desperate to get inside this box and it was all for a bone by Guru! I now need to buy more of these as he loved them so much. (Thanks Barky Box!!)

We also received a durable toy made from recycled plastic bottles which I really liked as a concept, Kubo enjoyed it too – he has torn out almost all of the stuffing and ripped off all limbs but still plays with it and I don’t know that there is a dog toy on Earth that would survive him!

bybenji biltong
ByBenji Biltong – too good for dogs?!

The biscuits in the box were great and we also got some biltong by ByBenji which smelt too good – I actually checked it wasn’t for humans!

Perhaps the most interesting thing we received was the bake-your-own doggy peanut butter muffins. I have never considered doing such a thing but what a good idea!

I was chuffed with this box, especially after my concerns from the one before, it was full of variety and high quality products.

Conclusion

In my three months of being a subscriber I have really enjoyed getting the boxes and actually discovered several brands that I will now be looking into buying from.

I would never buy premium treats normally and there are so many choices out there for things that it’s actually quite nice to have someone make a decision for you and just send a selection of nice things.

I don’t know if they actually take dog size into account (I hope they do!) and I would like to hope that they don’t often repeat the same treats (I’m willing to forgive that once) because I actually really like this company. I do not however have any experience of other dog boxes.

My subscription has actually expired: I did contact Barky Box to continue it but I needed to sign up again on the website and I hadn’t bothered … however since writing this I remember why I enjoyed it so much and although I don’t want to spoil him too much, Kubo is one of my babies and why shouldn’t he get a little gift box every month?

I love my Barky Box
‘Thanks Barky Box!’

 

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Dog Photographer

We had the pleasure of having some action shots taken of Kubo on Sunday by the awesome Steve Feeney. He is a very talented photographer and we are very grateful for the wonderful photos.

Because Kubo insists on running sideways he can look a little odd sometimes and like he has a big bum …

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Just a short drive

Kubo gets into the car on his own and looks out of the window.

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‘Hi!’

This may seem normal but it has only just become a thing for us. He used to be awful in the car; every journey he would drool uncontrollably and really be very unhappy.

In hindsight we made a big mistake when we brought Kubo home and it has taken us about 4 months of severe patience to undo.

When we picked Kubo up we put him in the boot because we thought that in the future we did not want the dog with his muddy paws tramping over the seats. As advised, we drove a couple of miles and then pulled over for him to potentially be sick. He had already been sick – how he had so much in his little belly I’ll never know! He had clearly eaten a roast dinner and swallowed the runner beans whole!

We cleaned him up with the help of some ladies from the community centre where we had pulled over and continued home. He was sick several more times.

We continued taking Kubo in the car to get him used to it and he continued to be sick. He did stop the vomiting after a few days but would drool uncontrollably with anxiety and was clearly distressed.

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Baby Kubo coming home

Then it dawned on us: the car took him away from his family and the car made him feel nauseous so it was no wonder he didn’t want to go in it!

The training began. We tried to not take him out in the car and we fed him as many meals as was practical in the boot or on the back seat with the doors open. We worked up to closing the doors. The idea was to make the car a positive place.

This went on for a couple of months and then we were able to move on to to coaxing him into the vehicle as we’d read if he makes the decision to get in (rather than being picked up) it would be better.

I remember one of the first times sitting in the back passenger seat calling him into the car with a high-value treat for over 20 minutes. I was exhausted from being so patient and upbeat but he had done it and we kept working on it.

There were moments in car parks where I felt embarrassed as I sat there trying to get Kubo to come into the car without losing my cool and just picking him up. We (quite by accident) discovered that Kubo responded to weird noises and if we made an unusual sound he began getting in, presumably to see us and check we were OK! Using we discovered that we could get him in the front foot-well of his own accord within a few minutes. Though making strange noises in public car parks was even more embarrassing!

Then one day he was in the foot-well, I was in the passenger seat and he just climbed onto my lap. From that day he now chooses to sit on the front passenger seat (we have a seat belt for him) and he discovered that he enjoys looking out of the window. He is not a small dog and will always insist on sitting on the seat, even if it means sitting on someone’s lap!

We are slowly now trying to transition him to sit on the rear seats on his own.  No doubt this will take another 6 weeks or so but by keeping calm and continuing to reassure him (with the help of tasty treats!) we know we will get there.

driving dog
I’m sure he prefers the drivers’ seat!

 

Fireworks: the fun, the stress

Last night was of course New Year’s Eve and for many people it was a night of fun and merriment – and so it should be!

We were in bed and asleep before the clock struck, not because we’re scrooges but because Dave needed to be up before 5am for work.

At midnight however we were awoken by the whooshing and banging of many fireworks and a very, very loudly barking dog.

I have never begrudged anyone fireworkand to be honest, before I was a dog owner I don’t think I even spared a thought to people buying boxes and letting them off in their garden. Sure, the bangs can be a bit annoying on a school night but for the few days a year that they’re a thing, let people have their fun.

When I was a kid my dad would do a few fireworkdown the end of the garden and I really enjoyed the thrill of letting off our own though as an adult I have never bothered. I do enjoy going to a professional display and have been to the Firework Championships a few times (check it out if you’ve not been before!).

Since getting Kubo however, fireworkare an absolute nightmare.

It is obvious, when you think about it that fireworkare terrifying to animals. The cats have never been that bad with them, I thought: as long as they are able to be next to us or under something they appeared OK and I always had a Feliway for them. They can’t bark though, so maybe I was wrong.

Kubo goes mad. He barks and barks and barks and cries and runs around like a maniac and barks. It is clearly horrible for him and although I don’t know if it is fear, nervousness, defence or something else, it is certainly not a positive emotion.

We have tried everything: desensitising videos with firework sounds to get him used to the noise; we did not let him out once they started (despite him desperately wanting to); the TV was on loud to try and distract him; the curtains were drawn and he was well fed. I even bought Adaptil tablets and as a last measure used Pet Remedy de-stress and calming wipes but nothing seemed to soothe him. We were reassuring with him and tried to keep him focused on other tasks but he has none of it when the fireworkare on.

Going to bed before midnight, we thought if we could settle him he might be OK and feel safe in his covered bed when the New Year struck. We even put a 10 hour pet soothing music loop on! But once they all went off at midnight he was inconsolable. Being in a city there were just so many and so nearby (including neighbours).

Of course I would not say people shouldn’t do their own fireworks, even though in the moment I really do feel like that! It would not be fair when I got to have them as a child and I know many people have parties and it is a highlight of the night. I don’t however remember anywhere near the amount in the sky as there seem to be now … also I think I enjoyed sparklers more!

Does anyone have any other tips we can try? I hate to see him so distressed and I am always keen to hear what other people’s experiences have been.

Happy New Year to you all and I hope your pets are safe.

Wishing for a quiet night tonight,

Arianna x