Deciding Between Barkbox vs Pupbox? My Year-Long Review Reveals the Best Choice

As a devoted pet parent to my lively Husky puppy named Luna, I‘m always looking for ways to surprise her with new toys and treats. So what better option than letting the experts at monthly subscription box services like BarkBox and PupBox magically deliver them straight to our door?

Over the past year, I‘ve received both Barkbox and Pupbox boxes to thoroughly test out and compare. And I‘m here to share my authentic experiences to help you pick the best monthly box for your furball‘s needs…

An Overview of BarkBox vs PupBox Offerings

Barkbox and Pupbox both offer convenient monthly subscriptions, but have meaningful differences:

  • Barkbox provides themed boxes every month tailored to your adult dog‘s size, breed, and preferences
  • Surprise and delight is the focus through toys, treats, and chews sourced globally
  • Customize extra toys or treats, suit food allergies, and add items from retail store

Whereas…

  • Pupbox specializes in boxes targeted specifically at puppy development
  • Contents like potty training tools, teethers, puppy skin care evolve across life stages
  • Help new pet parents positively nurture pups from adoption through first year

So while both services satiate dogs‘ needs for mental and nutritional enrichment through play, Pupbox explicitly supports the unique demands of early puppy training and care.

Barkbox sustains novelty over a longer term for adult dogs (and recently expanded into some puppy products too).

Over the past 12 months, I tested over 15 boxes from each brand to gauge quality, innovation, customization capabilities, and overall value.

Here’s my detailed year-in-review…

Unboxing Favorites From 15+ BarkBoxes and PupBoxes

Starting with toy durability and treat quality testing, I found both BarkBox and PupBox to have respectable craftsmanship standards avoiding common safety hazards like choking risks or digestive issues.

Of over 75 unique products received, my top favorites included:

Most Durable BarkBox Toys

  • Benebone Maplestick – Withstood 6+ months of aggressive chewing
  • ZippyPaws NomNomz Plush Food Toys – Squeakers and crinklers intact after 20+ rounds of fetch
  • Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Toy – Challenging and stimulating for clever pups

Most Popular PupBox Toys

  • Kong Squeezz Crackle Ball – Great for teaching fetch and building confidence
  • Multipet Duckworth Duck – Adorable plush squeaker toy lending to bonding through "adoption play"
  • Pet Qwerks Flavorit Bone – Ideal natural rubber teething chew toy

Both services impressed with toys customized according to safety guidelines for my Husky‘s 60lb chewing power and play style.

And in terms of treats and chews, taste seemed a non-factor – Luna gobbled up selections from both brands with equal enthusiasm!

We enjoyed Wholesome Pride Jerky Chews and Polka Dog Bakery Treats from BarkBox alongside SmartBones Peanut Butter Chews and Wellness Soft Puppy Bites from PupBox. Delicious AND nutritious!

With so much variety delivered conveniently to my doorstep, the boxes brought consistent joy and enrichment to little Luna‘s world.

But how exactly did the two leading box subscriptions compare month to month? Let‘s break it down…

Comparing Key Differences Between BarkBox and PupBox

Over the year testing BarkBox and PupBox side-by-side, meaningful differences emerged around customization flexibility, puppy-specific products/advice, pricing, and more:

BarkBox PupBox
Monthly Box Contents 2 toys, 2 treat bags, 1 chew 5-7 toys/treats/chews/gear items
# Products Per Year ~60 items 70-80 items
Monthly Price $23-$35 w/discounts for multi-mo. subs $29-$39 based on length of sub
Annual Value $300+ in retail value $400+ in value
Food Allergy Screening Robust, personalized Accommodating
Toy Durability Testing Extreme, "destroy lab" Basic hazard screening
Surprise/Delight Factor High through monthly themes Medium with developmental appropriateness
Puppy Tips/Resources Limited Extensive training guides

Let‘s analyze some of the core differences more closely…

Customization Capabilities

BarkBox allows members to easily fine-tune box contents online any time – toggling between more toys vs treats or signing up for an extra toy add-on (+$9/mo). I loved having control to adapt to Luna‘s evolving preferences.

Whereas PupBox contents shift automatically based on your puppy‘s age/stage rather than offering adjustable ratios like BarkBox. Still reasonably adaptable overall.

Puppy-Specific Focus

Given PupBox‘s fundamental puppy training mission, they send gear like potty training pads, teethers, sensitive skin wipes I found very useful during the first 6 months of challenges and acclimation for new owners.

Comparatively, BarkBox is aimed at a wider adult dog audience so doesn‘t offer the same hand-holding for the trials of puppyhood. But their puppy-tailored B.A.R.K. box provides age-appropriate alternatives.

Pricing & Value Differences

BarkBox provided a competitive value at $28/month including shipping for 60+ curated items annually. Scoring over $300+ worth of retail products is an amazing deal!

However, PupBox delivered 70-80 products over the course of the year spanning more categories like apparel, training, health beyond just toys and treats – totaling over $400+ in actual retail value when individually priced. Hard to beat!

On cost, opting for longer 6 or 12 month subscriptions netted roughly 15% discounts off both BarkBox and PupBox‘s sticker prices too.

Additional Factors Impacting the BarkBox vs PupBox Decision

Beyond the quantitative product and pricing comparisons, a few other factors fed into my overall verdict between the two monthly box subscriptions:

👃 Accommodating Food Allergies

  • Both allow you to note allergies/restrictions during signup so I safely omitted common triggers for Luna like chicken, beef, and wheat from my boxes
  • But I gave a slight edge to BarkBox for calling me personally early on to double check sensitivity specifics – helpful personal touch!

🛒 Member Account Management

  • BarkBox provided a seamless online account dashboard to update preferences, pause deliveries, redeem credits, and add retail items on-demand if I ever wanted an extra toy or treats!
  • PupBox was less robust – package tracking accessible but limited account controls.

🌎 Ethics & Sustainability

  • As a values-focused pet parent, I admired both companies‘ commitments to supporting animal welfare in their communities:
    • BarkBox donated over $22 million in products to shelters
    • And PupBox gave over 500,000 toys and treats to rescues

📦 Shipping Accuracy & Care

  • No major complaints about Accuracy or condition from either vendor
  • But BarkBox offered faster 2-day Priority Shipping ($5 upgrade) which was useful when traveling with Luna!

Taking a holistic view across product selection, customization, delivery, values and beyond – both clearly provide an amazing service catering endlessly to our pups. But subtle advantages ultimately nudged me toward one over the other…

My Final Verdict: Tailor Your Choice Based on Your Dog‘s Stage!

While BarkBox and PupBox both deliver excitement, enrichment, and bonding for devoted pet parents – differences do emerge that sway my recommendation one way or the other depending on your dog‘s age.

For adult dogs seeking continuing stimulation through new toys, themes, and treats month after month, I suggest BarkBox as the superior option hands-down.

The customization freedom, expansive durability testing, delightful surprise elements, and drool-worthy recipes satisfy even the pickiest mature pups. I don‘t foresee Luna tiring of her BarkBoxes anytime soon!

However, for nurturing new puppy owners, I found the specialized support inherent to PupBox‘s developmental approach incredibly helpful in confidently raising little Luna through the delicate early months.

Having customer-provided puppy guides alongside appropriately sized toys/consumables was invaluable reinforcement during stressful house training and teething phases all new pet parents withstand. And such a joy watching the boxes evolve in line with her growth!

So in closing friends, while my world is clearly better with BOTH BarkBoxes and PupBoxes in it, take your unique pup‘s age and learning curve into account when deciding between the two stellar offerings.

And let the joyous journey of monthly surprises commence! Please share any questions in the comments – happy to offer guidance so you and your furry BFF find the perfect match!

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