9 best pet subscription boxes
Here is our pick of carefully curated deliveries for dogs, cats and other four-legged friends
As a country, we’re clearly a nation of pet lovers. Whether you are team cat or team dog, we all can’t help but shower them with love and affection. However, lots of us are now showering them with gifts too. A recent survey estimated that the average owner spends £1252 on their pet each year. The latest development is pet subscription boxes. In which owners purchase a regular subscription (or sometimes a one-off box) to receive goodies for their pet, delivered direct to their door each month. We set out to uncover the best and tested them on value, variety of products and the ability to tailor the items to your pet. We found that the majority on the market are aimed at dogs (there’s a reason they’re called man’s best friend, after all) but we managed to track down boxes that promise to pamper your cat, rabbit, guinea pig and even your horse.
1. The Barky Box (cats and dogs): from £17.99, The Barky Company
The Barky Box bills itself as a monthly “box of happiness” for cats and dogs. Crammed with eight unusual products (pet-friendly popcorn was a first for us), this is great value for money. It comes with a personalised label addressed to your pooch and our sample included a mix of food, toys and other useful products from brands such as health food company Pooch and Mutt. The boxes are often themed (we can’t wait to see the promised Halloween box) and what’s more, £1 from each one goes to an animal charity. This is a great way to discover products that aren’t all on supermarket shelves and spoil a pet in need alongside your own.
2. Protect My Pet (cats and dogs): from £6.99, Protect My Pet
If you’re anything like us, you’ll know it’s a bit of a nightmare to keep on top of your pet’s flea and worming treatments. Protect My Pet, run by veterinary professionals, is a monthly service that sends you accurate doses of the required treatments through your letterbox. You’ll need to fill a short survey with details of your pet’s age, breed and weight and you can choose to subscribe for multiple pets (and receive up to 30 per cent off) or upgrade to a premium box, which has added essentials- such as treats and poo bags. We think this is a fantastic way of keeping on top of your pet’s health.
3. Happy Bunny Club (rabbits and guinea pigs): from £17.99, Happy Bunny Club
While most of the boxes are aimed at cats and dogs, the Happy Bunny Club means that those with rabbits and guinea pigs can also get in on the action. The company was set up out of a desire to source healthy, good-quality treats for rabbits. Wrapped in pink tissue paper and hay (of course), our box contained completely natural treats from a range of brands we hadn’t seen before, practical items (a massage groomer) and a few toys that promised to keep small animals entertained for hours.
4. Purplebone Purplebox (dogs): from £14.99, Purplebone
Purple Bone (an online dog store) offers a monthly subscription box that is the most practical of the bunch, making it perfect for new dog owners. There’s the option to customise your box depending on the size of your dog and inside our sample was a huge range of practical items mostly from the Purplebone brand including squeaky toys, homemade chews, biodegradable poo bags and hygiene products. All these items can also be purchased separately from the store too. You can sign up for a regular subscription or gift a grateful dog owner with a one-off box.
5. Cat Hampurr: from £15.90, Cat Hampurr
Cat Hampurr, which wins points from us for the pun alone, is a box of feline treats designed to boost your kitty’s health and happiness. There’s a range of price options (depending on whether you want to receive the box fortnightly, monthly or bimonthly) and given the amount of items we received, it’s another great-value box. Addressed directly to the cat, our sample contained seven items with everything from luxury pate to plenty of toys to keep our feline friends occupied. Brands included natural pet food offerings Applaws and Natural Nosh.
6. Butternut Box (dogs): from £1.20 per day, Butternut Box
Ever felt that your pooch deserved so much more than a tin of supermarket dog food? Well, that’s where Butternut Box comes in. This subscription service aims to offer personalised, cooked dog food direct to your door each month. It asks new customers to fill out a detailed questionnaire (to understand things like their pet’s size, level of activity and allergies) and cooks food tailored to their needs. Our giant box came packed with chicken, beef and lamb dishes. You’ll need freezer space to store some of the pouches, but the produce was completely natural (it smelt just like a Sunday roast at times.). It might seem an extravagant purchase, but if your dog struggles with food allergies or sensitive digestion, then it’s definitely worth it.
7. Paw Post (cats and dogs): from £8.95, Paw Post
We love the story behind this box, which saw owners Lupe and Ben struggle with the many food intolerances and health issues of their dog Oscar. Many of the boxes featured in our round-up include healthy and natural products, but this is the only one specifically aimed at health-conscious, eco-friendly pet parents. In our box, we received completely grain-free natural treats, which might help if your pet suffers with upset stomachs or problematic skin, and eco-friendly and sustainably produced dog toys. We found there were slightly fewer items in this box when compared to some of the others, but that’s understandable given that going natural often comes at a higher cost.
8. My Horse Box (horses): from £34.99, My Horse Box
This subscription box service aims to send a bundle of equestrian products to horse owners each month. It’s the priciest of the bunch but promises a range of luxury products that exceed £50 in value. The items are a mix of practical and luxury- perfectly fitted to the season. We received a summer box which included a range of relevant items such as sunblock (suitable for both horse and their human friend), fly repellent and organic treats. What’s more, almost every item was full sized too – this is a fantastic gift for that horse lover in your life.
9. Tail Mail The Destroyer Box (dogs): £24, Tail Mail from Ginger and Browns
All the boxes featured offer a degree of personalisation, but we found that Tail Mail takes it one step further. Instead of signing up for one type of subscription box, Tail Mail offers several different types of themed boxes (and promises that owners can further personalise these by leaving comments about their dog’s likes and dislikes). The Destroyer box stood out at offering something different from the rest and provides a bundle of extra-durable dog toys and treats. This box contains three to five items so it’s smaller than some of the other on the list. However, given the value of the items individually, such as the super-tough Kong toy, it’s worth it if your pet usually destroys their playthings within seconds.
The Verdict: Pet subscription boxes
We loved the unusual treats and the chance to give back that The Barky Box offers. However, we also felt that Purplebox is the perfect practical choice if you’re a new dog owner. A special mention goes to My Horse Box for making sure that even the biggest of our nation’s pets can still receive special treats in the mail.
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