Review: Bowzer Box (October 2016)

After feeling kind of lackluster about last month, I decided that I wanted to give Bowzer Box another try.

For those who aren’t familar, Bowzer Box is a monthly subscription service for dog treats/toys/fun stuff, delivered to your door and carefully selected with your pup in mind (think Bark Box, only Canadian)! It features at least one all-Canadian treat or toy each month, and they also donate 10% of profits to Canadian canine charities.

Costs for the Bowzer Box vary based on how many month’s you sign up for, with longer terms costing less per month. I opted for a one-month only, which was $29, plus $6 shipping and tax for a total of $39.35. This is not a paid review – I

This review is for the October 2016 Large Dog box.

I have to admit… things got off to a bit of a rocky start when they forgot about us.

To be fair to the company, I cancelled our automatic renewal on the same day the October box billed so I think that caused some confusion. Anyway, by the time the 19th rolled around I realized there was no box coming this month. Whoops. I reached out on Twitter, where they asked me to touch base by email, and in no time our box was in the mail, with “a little something extra” thrown in as an apology. No big deal – everybody makes mistakes – but great job on the customer service, Bowzer Box!

The pups were pretty happy when it arrived just a few days later.

This month’s theme was Halloween (obviously!) and here’s what we got:

Darford Grain Free Pumpkin Treats – $7.69 – Vernon, BC – www.darford.com
Darford’s Grain Free Pumpkin treats are easy to digest yet they’re packed full of yummy pumpkin flavor. With pumpkin as the first ingredient, these treats also contain a special blend of fruits and vegetables, they’re right in antioxidants and vitamins, have no artificial colors or flavors, and they’re gluten free. They also contain super foods like blueberries and cranberries, as well as organic carrots and organic apples.

Pumpkin-y!
Pumpkin-y!

Northern Biscuits Wheat Free Biscuits – $1.99 – Concord, ON –  www.northernbiscuit.ca
Big Biscuit – Excellent for Sensitive stomachs and overall digestive health. Local Ontario pumpkin is baked right into these hard, crunchy treats. Slowly baked with whole barley and rolled oats grown and milled locally.

Erm... except... as you can see... that's not what we got. What actually came was a bag of Norther Biscuits Pumpkin Pie Minis. Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining! The Big Biscuit is smaller and the Mini's have a higher value ($5.99). I'd rather have a lot of small treats than one big one anyawy - and the Mini's are certainly easier to split between two dogs! I don't know if this was an intentional upgrade, or if they were out of the Big Biscuits by the time they got around to putting our box together, but I'll take it!
Erm… except… as you can see… that’s not what we got. What actually came was a bag of Norther Biscuits Pumpkin Pie Minis. Don’t get me wrong – I am not complaining! The Big Biscuit is smaller and the Mini’s have a higher value ($5.99). I’d rather have a lot of small treats than one big one anyway – and the Mini’s are certainly easier to split between two dogs! I don’t know if this was an intentional upgrade, or if they were out of the Big Biscuits by the time they got around to putting our box together, but I’ll take it.

Amelia Biscuit Pumpkin Cookies – $6-8? – Paris, ON – www.ameliabiscuit.com
Amelia Biscuits are made from hand selected, all natural, human grade ingredients, and fresh from the farm Canadian fruit and vegetables.

These make my cookies look pretty lame...
These make my cookies look pretty lame… they remind me of now-defunct Three Dog Bakery here in Halifax.

Bandanas Republic Halloween Bandana – approx. $2.00 – Milton, ON – www.bandanasrepublic.com
The Bandanas Republic Dog Bandana will give your pet a splash of colour to show off! These bandanas are ideal for wearing for for decoration. Decorative, colorful, and fun, add these fashionable fabric bandanas to your pets accessories line up!

For the stylish dog.
For the stylish dog.

Outward Hound Invisible Snake – $16.99 – Centennial, CO – www.outwardhound.com
Tough chewers have met their match with Outward Hound Invincibles! Featuring 2 layers of super-tough fabric, and special squeakers that continue to squeak after being punctured, these loveable, cuddly and durable toys are made to keep your pup playing longer!

Nothing good can come of this.
Nothing good can come of this.

On top of the regular box-stuff, we also got an extra (x2):

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Chewy goodness!

Northern Bark Lamb Berry Recipe Dental Chew – $1.99 x 2 – Concord, ON –  www.northernbiscuit.car
An irresistible all natural dental chew rich in brown rice and oats to promote proper oral health and clean teeth. The rugged exterior and chewy interior helps to fight plaque, tartar and gum disease for an all-mouth clean. Our Lamb Berry Bark! flavor features an exotic lamb recipe blended with easily digestible ingredients, perfect for those with sensitivity to beef. While high in protein and low in fat, they act as a healthy alternative to jerky and rawhide.

As far as I’m aware Bowzer Box doesn’t know I have two dogs, but throwing in two of the “extra” was awesome for that. No splitting! I was also impressed with the value of this month’s box – even without the extras it was worth what we paid.

Pretty good, Bowzer Box!
Pretty good, Bowzer Box!

Now for the testing phase…

The Lamb Berry dental chews were a hit. Decent size, dogs liked them, and definitely chewy! I’d say they were probably an 7.5/10 – if they’d lasted a little longer I might have rated them higher but I have to get used to the fact that I have power chewers and nothing ever lasts!

Can I just say that it's a treat to get a large bandana that actually fits a large dog? Usually we're trying to tie a knot with tiny ends of fabric, or I resort to using a safety pin (which hate, because of the popping-open-and-stabbing-my-dog factor) but this banana was actually the right size! It fit both Guinness and Kaylee. Bandanas are really the only "clothes" my dogs ever wear so this was a good choice for us. 9/10.
Can I just say that it’s a treat to get a large bandana that actually fits a large dog? Usually we’re trying to tie a knot with tiny ends of fabric, or I resort to using a safety pin (which hate, because of the popping-open-and-stabbing-my-dog factor) but this banana was actually the right size! It fit both Guinness and Kaylee. Bandanas are really the only “clothes” my dogs ever wear so this was a good choice for us. 9/10.
Northern Biscuit Pumpkin Pie Minis? 7/10 - I really like the size of these (more than last month's peanut butter biscuits). I know they're meant for smaller dogs, but I like to treat my two often and at three calories apiece, these are a great option. The dogs really like them! Normally Guinness is more of a soft treat kinda guy, but he seems to enjoy these.
Northern Biscuit Pumpkin Pie Minis? 7/10 – I really like the size of these (more than last month’s peanut butter biscuits). I know they’re meant for smaller dogs, but I like to treat my two often and at three calories apiece, these are a great option. The dogs also like them! Normally Guinness is more of a soft treat kinda guy, but he seems to enjoy these.
The Darford cookies... 6/10. The dogs definitely enjoy them - I guess they really love pumpkin, who knew? - but they're pretty big and so hard that I can't break them in half. They're big enough that the dogs take them back to their beds (to avoid having to share crumbs) so I'd prefer something smaller, but these will be good as a once-a-day kind of treat.
The Darford cookies… 7/10. The dogs are definitely fans – I guess they really love pumpkin, who knew? – but they’re pretty big and so hard that I can’t break them in half. They’re big enough that the dogs take them back to their beds (to avoid having to share crumbs) so I’d prefer something smaller, but these will be good as a once-a-day kind of treat.

Now the Outward Hound invisible snake…

My inlaws just returned from Newfounland and brought Kaylee a new toy. It has three squeakers in it, and my sadist dog loves nothing more than to make that thing squeal over and over and over and over and over and over and that toy is staying at Grandma and Grandpas! So imagine my delight when I handed Kaylee her new snake toy and discovered it’s the same squeaker! Horray, torture for everyone!

Don’t get me wrong. This is a great toy for Kaylee. She loves it. She’s been squeaking that thing like a motherf$%^&* ever since she got it. So I’m giving the snake a 8/10 because it makes Kaylee happy, but I’m looking forward to the day she decides the insides should be on the outside. Unfortunately it’s made of a pretty tough material, and has those nifty squeakers that still squeak even after they’re punctured because of course it does. Damn you, quality item!

We’re saving Amelia’s cookies for Halloween, but I’m sure they’ll be much loved, since everything else pumpkin-flavoured has been a hit! This would be a terrible month if your dog doesn’t like pumpkin, though…

Verdict: I’m much more impressed with this month’s box, but I got extras and at least one substitution that was in my favour, so that’s probably colouring my opinion a little. It’s been good exposure to a few things I might never had tried, and we found a couple of new brands we like. I can’t complain about the value, and I give Bowzer Box a 10/10 for great customer service,  so if you’re thinking about trying a box here in Canada, I highly recommend them.

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