When you’ve got two mixed-size dogs in your house, it can be a balancing act finding the right toys that keep them interested and engaged, appeal to their individual quirks, play styles and, ideally, also won’t be shredded by either dog in seconds. What’s a doting dog mom to do when a toy that might last weeks with one dog could meet a messy, destructive end in 15 minutes with the other?
My two critters, Gluteus Maximus (an 8-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, a Pisces) and Gluteus Minimus (a 6-year-old English Bulldog, a Libra), definitely have different needs. Max, being a tiny but rambunctious little dude loves stuffed animals — though he’s been known to “amputate” the legs off of weaker toys and leave the limb for us to find. Minnie, while thoroughly committed to spending more time asleep than awake, has a track record for destroying most toys in under an hour and getting visibly upset when we inevitably have to take whatever remains of it away.
In a perfect world, I’d love to take them to a pet store for a shopping spree montage, Pretty Woman-style. But since shopping with one or both of them is at-best unpleasant and at-worst impossible, the opportunity to have monthly toys and treats with their individual wants and needs in mind delivered is a pretty sweet deal. Enter the BarkBox and Super Chewer subscription boxes: ”The Barkies,” an adorable award season-themed box for Max’s play style and the “Craft Chewing” box, a cool and heavy duty, craft beer themed box for Minnie’s play style. After a month of testing (truly grueling, exhausting work on the part of me and my furry buddies), here’s what fellow dog moms need to know.
“The Barkies” from BarkBox
This award show-themed box came with three toys, two full bags of treats and a chewy stick:
- “Barkie Award” — an adorable trophy for “best chase scene” with a disc squeaker and small tennis ball
- “Barkquet of Roses” — a soft tube toy with crinkly petals
- “Chew are you Wearing?” — a squeaky bib (with a reversible cute tuxedo design and an elegant diamond look) that could vibe with any of Max’s campy moods
- “The Noms for Best Pig-ture” — a pork-based treat recipe
- “The Noms for the Lammies” — a lamb-based treat recipe
- Plato Pet Treats Salmon Thinker — a salmon-flavored hard chew
Our boxes came right before Max’s 8th birthday, so it was an extra special day for him when we busted it open. He loves soft toys and will snuggle up with them while he chews and gets a kick out of different textures, so all of the small dog toys in this box were perfect for him.
While we had tons of fun watching him carry around his “Barkquet” (yes, we made countless “you like me, you really like me” jokes as he dropped it at our feet) and watching him model his fancy “Chew Are You Wearing?” outfit, the “Barkie Award” became his favorite pretty quickly. He clearly loved the tennis ball texture (that, for once, was totally his size), the challenging-to-reach, rewarding-to-squeak disc squeaker and the way he could grip it for cuddling or chase it around for a bit of fetch action (we love versatility!). And even though he’s pretty efficient at trying to extract squeakers from most toys, this one has really held up despite his best efforts.
When it comes to introducing new treats to my pups, I’m typically super cautious — you never want to have to call your vet about funky, irregular looking number twos or spend a night rubbing an upset puppy tummy. The treats in both boxes made it easy for me to know that I was giving them something that was made with ingredients I could pronounce and that I knew they were healthy for them to eat. While he dug the “Noms for Best Pig-Ture” too, the “Noms for the Lammies” were by far the biggest hit for where treats were concerned for Max. He would immediately hop up on his hind legs and do a cute little two-step dance when that bag came out.
In a special offer for SheKnows users, you’ll get double the toys and treats for your doggo when you order your first box by clicking below.
“Craft Chewing” from Super Chewer
This hip, brewery-themed box included three tough toys, two bags of treats and two hard chew sticks:
- “Frosty Mug” — a mug-shaped chew with a soft, transparent rubber outside and a sponge inside that you can pop in the freezer and let your pup enjoy a cold one at the end of the day
- “Pup a Cold One” — a nylon bottle opener-shaped toy with a naturally smokey scent
- “Howler Growler” — a toy shaped like a cute little growler, this one’s got a squeaker and a challenging grip-resistant surface to challenge your pup as they chew
- “Craft Brewed Treats Duck IPA” — a duck recipe treat
- “Craft Brewed Treats Oinkman’s Bacon Stout” — a pork recipe treat
Super Chewer is designed for dogs that, like my destructive baby girl, can and will wreck softer, easier to kill toys. We generally need to pick products that are simultaneously strong enough to hang with her bully jaw strength and interesting enough to hold her attention. Anyone with medium to big sized dogs knows that the industrial strength toys you tend to find feel like sad, boring rubber bricks. So I was delighted to open up the “Craft Chewing” box to find toys that went above and beyond the rubber brick design — they each brought something truly different and exciting to the table.
While bulldogs aren’t always known for being the most athletic, Minnie’s nightly zoomies and tendency to grab, shake and gnaw intensely to self-soothe means she has her fair share of energy to burn. She adored the “Pup a Cold One” toy almost immediately — she loves anything she can grip her little paws around and gnaw at while we’re watching TV. We were very happy to see that even after a solid two weeks of nightly attention the rounded edges of the toy were clearly-chewed but not sharpened or wrecked in a way that meant we had to take it away.
The “Frosty Mug,” which can roll and is a great substitution for the balls she tends to kill within a half hour, also managed to hold her attention (especially when we introduced te freezer-chilled version into the mix.) And, for Minnie, anything she can drop (usually damp with drool) into my lap for short, sprint-y games of fetch is sure to be a favorite.
We gave her the “Howler Growler” last. She worked tirelessly on it for the next few hours and resumed the next day. A tough, thick toy that she could chase around the living room, every squeak felt well-earned and kept her hooked. Eventually she did manage to chip away a bit of plastic from the handle part about two weeks in (still a record for her!), so it became the lone casualty of this whole test run. (And, reader, she was devastated.)
All the treats were a hit for her — though, if I’m being real, she is hardly a picky eater. I had a hard time polling her for a favorite, but we did need to move the boxes and their edible contents to a safe spot in a closet because she was circling them like a great white shark not long after realizing what was inside the packaging.
In a special offer for SheKnows users, you’ll get double the toys and treats for your Super Chewer when you order your first box by clicking below.
It was an awesome experience introducing each of the toys and treats to the pups throughout the month — they were clearly jazzed by the new tastes, smells and textures and they were never bored. Considering each box contains more than $40 worth of toys and treats, it felt like I was really spoiling them for a fraction of the cost. And better yet, both boxes are entirely customizable for your dogs’ preferences. You can change toy-to-treat ratio or surprise your pup with an all-toy or all-treat box. Now who’s a good pup?
This post was created by SheKnows for BarkBox and Super Chewer.