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Pets, Reviews, Subscription Boxes,

Barkbox: A Subscription Box Review

This post is part of a series reviewing different subscription boxes.

I first tried BarkBox over a year ago, when I first got my own dog. I was so excited, because I’d been waiting since I started college to get him – my parents’ graduation present to me. I wanted to welcome my furry child Leo to our home by spoiling him with treats and toys, and BarkBox seemed like a great way to do that.

Fast forward to today – one of my favorite old coworkers from Groupon now works for BarkBox. He’s the perfect fit for the job – he loves dogs and recently got a Shiba Inu that he loves to death (and now gets to bring to work!). He hooked me up with a free box so that I could share with you what a typical BarkBox looks like. If you’re wondering what to expect, this should help to answer your questions.

BarkBox Subscription Box Review

Here’s what was in the BarkBox I got:

Benny’s Bully’s Beef Liver and Banana (Treats) – $8 value

These are good treats to have on hand that pack a nutritious punch. I usually shy away from treats with ingredients like beef liver (I have weird food aversions even if I’m not the one eating it!), but obviously dogs don’t have any problem with those tastes.

Nature’s Bits Salmon with Strawberries and Sweet Potatoes (Treats) – $8 value

If you like supporting local farmers and businesses, then you’ll feel really good about giving your dog these treats (and reordering them if your dog falls in love). The ingredients are 100% sourced locally!

Swag Co. Parrot (Toy) – $9 value

Leo is not as excited by toys as he was when I first got him, but he loves toys with a squeaker. He also loves to get new things about as much as me, so this went over well when I first gave it to him.

Safemade Pet Pineapple (Toy) – $10 value

Same notes as the previous toy, but this one was designed to be more safe for dogs. What I like about it is that it’s flat and easy to store.

BarkBox Subscription Box Review

Aussie Naturals Salmon Half Cigar (Treat) – $5 value

This was a larger treat for a small dog. Before ordering a BarkBox, the system prompts you as to what size dog you’re buying it for (based on weight). Although this treat was physically large compared to Leo, he enjoyed the hell out of it. It was cute to watch him consume it, and it was gone in minutes. Definitely a special treat I’d get for him again. The only downside – it’s crumbly. Hopefully your dog is good at cleaning up scraps!

Total value: $40

Depending on what plan you get, BarkBox subscriptions range from $19 to $29 per month. Obviously, the more months you buy upfront, the better discount you get overall. BarkBox does lot of promotions for first timers (at least one month free or free premium toy upgrade each month), so sign up for their emails to start receiving the offers. Besides promotional, the emails always have fun pictures and stories for dog lovers, which I enjoy.

Overall, I love BarkBox. There hasn’t been one I disliked. Leo usually loves the toys and demolishes the snacks. Sometimes you’ll find handy extras you wouldn’t think to get – one I got awhile back had a medical wound spray that could really come in handy. I guess if I had to critique anything, it would be the number of snacks. Leo is a small dog and I like to give him treats, but I don’t want to overfeed or completely spoil him. There are just so many that by the time you get next month’s box, you’ve maybe given your dog half of them (or less). That’s actually the reason why I originally cancelled my Barkbox subscription – I was overstocked on treats!

My suggestion would be to start with a 1 or 3 month box and see what you think. If your dog powers through snacks and toys, consider a 6 month or one year box. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Barkbox yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

chicago cheap ass (18)
Life, Pets,

How to Choose a Chicago Veterinarian

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Hey Chicagoans,

Hopefully everyone had a great holiday weekend and was able to soak up some sun and hang with your pets! I know I did and as a result, my dog is officially over the city and in love with the suburbs. Big yard, tons of grass, no loud noises, actual windows to look out of, what’s a dog not to love?

This week let’s talk about taking care of your pet. There are a multitude of things you’ll consider when taking care of your pet. What is a good Chicago vet for long term care? Do you want to trust Yelp reviews? What to do in the event of an emergency?

When I moved to Chicago in 2013, I brought Rizzo with me. He’s my clearance puppy I adopted from the Monroe County Humane Society in Bloomington, IN for $20 (no joke). I had Rizzo throughout a tough senior year at IU, so needless to say I am pretty attached to the little guy. Once in Chicago I spent about a month trying to figure out which Chicago vet provided great bedside manner, nice facilities and was reasonably priced… Your Pets Wellness stuck out like a sore thumb. They’re located in Bucktown at 2319 N. Damen Ave and 2659 N. Milwaukee Ave in Logan Square.

Dr. Jessica Miller and Dr. Dory Stricker are absolutely AMAZING and are the nicest people you could trust to take care of your pet. The first day I brought Rizzo, they were very thorough in getting to know me, Rizzo and our lifestyles before making any assessments. Their bedside manner is nicer than many human doctors I’ve seen. Not to mention their staff is always on top of their game in scheduling and reminding you when you have an upcoming appointment. They recommend the best diet changes in a way that is manageable and caring, products from Yunnan Baiyao are often mentioned. Their staff always follows up with us right after an appointment just to see how Rizzo is doing and feeling – talk about customer service! They took care of registering Rizzo with the city and providing me with his Dog Friendly Area (DFA tags). So now he’s legit.

As a reminder folks, make sure you register your animal with the city! DFA tags require your dog to have certain vaccines before going to the dog parks and beaches. Otherwise you’re putting your dog and other dogs at serious risk of contracting diseases/viruses and nobody wants that. Not to mention the Chicago Police can write you a HEFTY fine for not having these tags. Try wiggling out of that ticket – it’s a public health hazard. 

I’ve only been to their Bucktown location but the facility is top-notch and very welcoming. You literally feel like you’re being invited in, which is odd stuff at a vet, right? They have snacks and drinks for their customers to enjoy while they wait, and plenty of treats for your animals too. Cat lovers – They’re also a Silver Standard Cat Friendly Practice certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). When it comes to taking care of my dog convenience is a big thing for me. Fortunately their practice has an online portal for new and existing patients to use. Before I went for our first visit I filled out all the new patient paper work online which saved me so much time! Just be sure to have your animal’s previous medical records on hand before you go if you’re new! If your animal is on constant medication, their online pharmacy is super easy to use and will deliver right to your door. Easy peasy. It also has a section dedicated to learning ways to treat and train your animals. I also learned how to use them properly which has always kept me from getting one.

One of the things that really makes me feel like a valued customer is that I never feel like I’m being pushed into a course of treatment or a high-end bill. Any time I’ve had to make an appointment for something semi serious everyone takes the time to speak with me and understand the situation in its entirety. After which they examine Rizzo and then explain to me what they believe to be the best course of action. While providing an alternative course while talking about the cost and what I’m comfortable with. As a customer that is what I believe to be a practice doing their due diligence. You can feel assured that you made the correct decision.

That is all I have for right now. I’ll write another post soon with some other places around the city you can go to for quick vaccinations and where you can go in the event of an emergency!

chicago cheap ass (2)
Events, Life, Pets,

Dog Dayz of Summer: Chicago Dog-Friendly Events

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Summertime in the Chi. The most anticipated time of the year for Chicagoans. After months of sub-zero temperatures, excessive cab fares, crowded bars and commuting while wearing half your wardrobe, we all are ready for some time in the sun. Especially the four-legged members of our community.

Let’s face it, as much as we hate being cooped up indoors during the Winter it can be equally depressing for our pets. Dog park? Forget it. Long walks? Better have boots and a coat. Picking up after your dog in the snow? Worst thing ever (but necessary – don’t be a jerk!).

So Chicagoans here we are, on the cusp of July. By now I’m sure you’ve got your own routine down with your dog and your other dog owner friends. Personally, I’m a fan of packing a few cocktails and going to the park but sometimes I like to switch it up. I want to let you know of a few little swanky dog-friendly events going on within the Bucktown and West Town areas.

First up on the Cheap Ass pet calendar is Lotties Pub located at 1925 W. Cortland Ave in Bucktown. This bar is one of my personal favorites. Super friendly, good food and specials, old Chicago styled pub and of course…a dog friendly patio. If you’re looking for something to do this July 4th before your festivities start or just want a change of pace check out their Independence Day Celebration benefiting the Veterans Service Dog Program! Featured specials include:

  • $4 – Two Chicago Style Hotdogs (100% of the proceeds go to the program)
  • $4 Fireball (c’mon, it’s America’s birthday)
  • $15 Buckets of Veterans Beer (not sure which brew will be served, heard this stuff is good though)
  • Dog Body Art available
  • Doggie Fro-Yo

If you can’t make it to Lotties Pub this 4th no need to worry. The Rush and Division group are hosting the West Town Pup Crawl. A “Yappy Hour” event every Tuesday night from 6-9pm until 10/16/2015. What they’re doing is at select venues the have happy hour specials for humans and some dog treats, beverages and gear for your pawsome partner. 15% of the sales from the evening will go to a different rescue each week. Featured venues include:

  • Mahoney’s Pub & Grille, 551 N. Ogden Ave
    • $2 Tacos
    • $5 Margaritas
  •  G&O (Grand and Ogden), 459 N. Ogden Ave
    • $5 House-Batched Cocktails
    • $6 Burgers
  • The Aberdeen Tap, 440 N. Aberdeen St
    • $1 Drafts
    • $5 Wings
  • The Matchbox, 770 N. Milwaukee Ave
    • $7 Pooch Hooch Punch
    • $5 Old Style Tall Boy w/Bartender’s choice of shot

That’s all I got Cheap Asses! I’m looking forward to updating you all with some other pet friendly events and activities this summer!