I love getting packages in the mail. It’s one of my favorite parts about writing product reviews for Dogster. There’s something special about seeing that box waiting for you on your front step, like a present. Even when I know what’s in the package, it’s a treat to unwrap it. It makes the contents seem more special than if you had purchased them at a store.
For folks who enjoy receiving packages as much as I do, several companies offer subscriptions for monthly delivery of dog-related goodies in the mail. I’ve never tried any of these services, mostly because I wondered about the quality of the products included. Like many Dogster readers, I’m scrupulous about the kinds of food, treats, toys, and grooming products I use on Ace, because she is my dog baby and I want to give her the best I can afford.
Recently, I received a sample package from PetBox, which advertises itself as “the only monthly pet box where you pick what’s in the box.” With PetBox, you have the option to let yourself be surprised by what PetBox chooses for your box, or you can choose the items you want in your PetBox each month from a changing selection of products.
I did not choose the items in my sample PetBox, so its contents were a surprise. The box is about the size of a large shoebox, but one with a cute-dog related design. My PetBox contained seven different products, five of which were food or treats. My PetBox included: The Honest Kitchen Smooches ($7.99), Clear Conscience Sliders and Tenderstikz ($11.99), KeepDoggieSafe.com Pet Rescue Decal ($5.99), Earth Heart Canine Calm Spray ($12.98), NoviPet Multi Vitamin ($11.99), and Healthy Dogma Pumpkin Ginger Flavor Barkers ($5.95).
The lack of variety of products was a disappointment, since PetBox offers products from several categories like toys, grooming, and accessories. However, the products I received all appeared to be of good quality. The treats were all wheat and corn free, and made in the U.S.A. Reading their ingredients, these are the types of treats I typically buy for Ace. Yummy! I really like that PetBox included the rescue decal –- I’ve been meaning to get one and now I have no excuse!
I was curious about what it’s like to pack your own PetBox, so I created an account and browsed the selection. You can do this, too, without obligation -– you must create an account with your name and email address, but you don’t have to enter payment info until after you pack your PetBox.
When packing your own box, you are allowed to choose any combination of items that adds up to six credits. Each item typically costs one to three credits, with most items costing one to two. As with the treats included in my PetBox, I found the selection of products to be of good quality. Some products I’ve tried before, and with a quick Internet search I found the items that were not familiar to me also seemed to be of solid quality. I think this is one advantage of a service like PetBox -– you are exposed to products you might normally never encounter.
Initially, I was surprised that there is a fairly limited selection of products from which to choose when packing your own PetBox. However, it made it easier to pack the box –- when I have too many choices I just feel overwhelmed. Also, given that each item seemed to be of good quality, I didn’t feel like I was trying to sort through the junky stuff to find the good stuff; each item was a good choice.
The cost of PetBox varies depending upon the length of your subscription (shipping is included): One month is $39, three months is $37 per month, six months is $35 per month, and a one year subscription is $29 per month. While the retail value of my PetBox far exceeded even the one month subscription cost, that was not my experience when putting together a hypothetical PetBox on their website. Depending upon which products you choose, the cost of a one month subscription would give you anywhere from a few dollars’ savings to breaking even. Given shipping is included, you are still getting a deal. Of course, if you decide on the one year subscription, then you really are saving money with PetBox.
But maybe saving money isn’t the point of a subscription like PetBox. Given my experiences, I would be motivated to get a PetBox subscription not to try to save some cash, but because of the fun of getting that box of goodies delivered every month. This is especially true because I would be confident the PetBox would contain quality products. I think PetBox would also make a fantastic gift for a dog owner, especially because you could choose the products to send and they would arrive in cute, cheerful packaging.
Dogster Scorecard for PetBox:
- Quality: I was impressed by the quality of the items in my PetBox, especially the ingredients in the treats.
- Style: PetBox has cute packaging suitable for a gift –- to a friend or to yourself.
- Function: I was disappointed by the lack of variety of types of products in my PetBox, but you can remedy this by taking advantage of the unique option to pack your own PetBox.
- Creativity: PetBox is thinking outside the box by letting customers choose their own products.
- Value: Longer subscriptions will afford serious savings, while a one month subscription comes out to a modest savings. Even better, PetBox donates cat and dog food to shelters nominated by customers on their social media pages, so your money is helping other critters stay healthy.
Speaking of savings, PetBox has generously offered to give Dogster readers a discount on their next PetBox orders. Enter the code DOGSTER20 at check out to receive 20 percent of your purchase!
Dogster readers, what have been your experiences with subscription services like PetBox? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
About Ace’s Mama: This East Coast transplant enjoys the bounty of San Francisco, including its micro-climates, farmers’ markets, and secret stairway walks. When she’s not walking with, talking about, or kissing the face of her Boston Terrier, Ace, she blogs about Ace’s adventures. Product reviews writer and guinea pig at Dogster.