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Real Dog Box Review – What to Know Before You Buy

  • June 24, 2020
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit.com
  • 0 Comments
Real Dog Box Review – What to Know Before You Buy

What is Real Dog Box

Real Dog Box is a no contract subscription service that delivers treats and chews to your home. Based in San Diego, the company is four years old and sources and processes their product themselves.

They use restaurant quality meat and air dry their chews at 130 degrees. The menu changes every 4 weeks. And shipping is included.

They offer four different types of boxes:

  1. Treat & Chew Box
  2. Treat Box
  3. Chew Box
  4. Mini Treat and Chew Box

And you can add on a super chew to any box.

Real Dog Box Review - What to Know Before You Buy

Why You Should Trust Me

I’ve been a subscribing member since November 2017. I started off with one box and added a second box in October of 2019.

I’ve received a total of 43 boxes … so I have considerable experience now with their treats and chews.  I’m not paid to write this review.

I have four and a half years of experience in fresh feeding. I started off making my own raw DIY raw grinds using the 80/10/10 model.

Unfortunately my two didn’t thrive on raw so under the guidance of our holistic vet we switched to lightly cooking my dog’s meals. I’ve been cooking for the past three years.

As a dog mom I know how important good nutrition is to our dogs’ health and well being.

I also trust and value my veterinarian; I get my dog’s blood levels tested every year. My veterinarian has reported that my two are in great health and are thriving.

If you decide to sign up – you can do so via my affiliate link: https://real.dog/maggielovesorbit/

Best For

A subscription treat and chew box from Real Dog Box is best for dog parents that:

  • Are looking to add fresh food to their dog’s diet
  • Are looking to add variety to their dog’s diet. Real Dog Box offers up to 40 variations of proteins in their annual menu. I could never source lamb ears or pig trotters as an example
  • Like the convenience of having someone else make air dried treats for you
  • Want to have peace of mind that the food they feed their dogs have been sourced locally when possible or at least in the US when they have to go out of state
  • Single ingredient treats and chews
  • Value in a box as opposed to buying each item separately

Not For

  • Weak stomachs. You will find things like duck heads, lamb ears, goat trotters, duck feet, chicken feet, and duck neck as the most exotic options
  • DIY types that can source and make the same treats and chews for less at home
  • Those looking for A-la-carte capability to buy just one bag of treats of chews at a time

Here’s How Real Dog Box Really Works And What To Expect

Step 1.  Pick your plan. You can choose any of the four boxes below:

  • Treat & Chew Box $39
  • Treat Box $21
  • Chew Box $23
  • Mini Treat and Chew Box $23

Super chews can be added on for $8 each

STEP 2:  Eliminate for allergies.

If your dog has say a chicken allergy you can note that when you sign up so that you are never sent any chicken treats or chews.

Sit back and wait. Your box will arrive in approximately a week from the time of sign up.

Renewal happens every 4 weeks. Real Dog Box doesn’t tie you into a contract so you can cancel your subscription at any given time.

You can also pause it if you’re going out of town, or skip a month if you have too many treats and chews at home from the previous month.

Real Dog Box Review - What to Know Before You Buy

The Claims

When you go to their website Real Dog Box makes the following claims:

Claim 1“The Freshest Dog Treats On the Planet”

They air dry their treats and chews at 130 degrees. It’s so fresh that you can soak them in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes and the treats soften up … more closely resembling their raw state.

Heat decreases the bioavailability in food. Air drying is as close to raw as you can get.

Is It True?: YES . I currently do not know of any other treat and chew company that air-dries their treats and chews. Everyone else dehydrates it – which is conducted at 155 degrees or more.

Claim 2 “We Can Save Your Dog From Bad Teeth”

Real Dog Box states that a short 15 minute chew session will keep your dog’s teeth decay at bay.

In my experience my 5 year old’s teeth are 8.5/10. She had some plaque built up and I had dental work done when she turned 5.

My 4 year old’s teeth are more like a 7/10. She has some plaque and light tartar but the problem with my 4 year old Orbit is she does not know how to chew. I’ve tried to hold her chew, to put them in chew holders which have had little to no effect on her chewing style.

Orbit goes savage on her chews and she bites to gulp. I actually now confiscate the end or nub part of her chew so that she doesn’t try to swallow large pieces.

Is it True? Yes for dogs that know how to chew methodically and slowly. Not completely true if they don’t. I have one of each style of dog chewers and Orbit will need dental work at some point in the near future. So this claim should have an asterisk because it’s dependent on your dog’s chew style.

I have seen them feature an 8 year old’s teeth that had thick tartar be removed with just a few month’s worth of chews.  Every dog is different.

Real Dog Box Review - What to Know Before You Buy

Claim 3 “Fight Obesity

Real Dog Box states that they are not anti-treats… just anti-junk treats.  They advise you to feed real and avoid extra carbs, sugar and fat that go straight to your dog’s waistline.

They further state the benefits in their boxes allow you to:

  • Feed secreting organ treats which pack a nutritional punch in a small light package
  • Eliminate carbs in dry food and biscuits which dogs cannot effectively digest
  • Supplement portions of your dog’s current diet with fresh food

Is it True: YES if you follow their guidelines you can help your dog lose weight.

Claim 4 “Prevent Cancer”

Real Dog Box states that raw, fresh food avoids cancer-causing aflatoxins found in grains (I.e. kibble)

Is it true? YES with an asterisk. I have heard of raw fed dogs still getting cancer so I don’t think that JUST BECAUSE you feed fresh and raw that your dog will NEVER get cancer. Maybe it’s more accurate to say – that feeding fresh food will GREATLY decrease the likelihood of your dog contracting cancer.

What I Like about Real Dog Box

Transparency

I remember sitting on the fence for 5 months. I met Ruby the owner in June of 2017 but I didn’t sign up until November of that same year.

I watched their Instagram stories and studied their feed.

Even though I was making DIY Raw Grinds at home …. I hadn’t made it to feeling comfortable about air dried body parts.

The lamb ears freaked me out.

Chicken and duck feet seemed so foreign to me.

I thought only raw feeders fed that kind of food.

I was also terrified about where they sourced their meat products from.

I later learned that they buy their meat from the same distributors that sell to restaurants and grocery stores. Instead of these odd body parts being sent to rendering plants they went to Real Dog Box.

So imagine the chicken breast being sold at your local grocery store while the feet are processed by Real Dog Box to go into our boxes.

This gave me great comfort knowing that they were looking at sustainable methods in sourcing and that they were sourcing locally.

Customer Service

You can text Customer Service anytime you have a question. My conversations are tied into my account so they have a complete record of all of my requests.

Nutritional Education

Their co-founder Ruby is constantly sharing nutritional tips with her members. They have a blog canine.care that they publish to and a Facebook Group Canine Care Support that you can be a member of.

Convenience

I LOVE that I get a full box of treats and chews delivered to my door. I’ve tried to make my own treats and chews. It’s not fun. I noticed I don’t have the stomach for handling and prepping all the body parts and I don’t even like to slice that much meat to make the amount of treats I need.

Secret Shop

Members have access to a “secret shop” to test new menu options or to purchase special items like an organ blend of 50/50 liver & kidney.

Variety

I love that my box changes every month. This fits into my feeding philosophy in where I aim for between 5 to 9 different proteins to feed my dogs each month. It takes the headache from sourcing off my shoulders.

Everyone is Part of the Referral Program

Every single member can refer their friends to earn points towards treats and chews.   Real Dog Box doesn’t work with individual influencers – instead they work with 100% of their members to reward them for their referrals.

What I Don’t Like about Real Dog Box

I wish there were an option to buy items a la carte and in bulk. For example I would probably order a pound of muscle treats each month if I could.

I do a LOT of training at home so I find that I finish the muscle meat treats within the first week. And I go through the seafood treats just as fast.

But I understand that they are not in the a la carte business so I find myself buying additional training treats elsewhere.

Pricing

I’m going to focus on the biggest box – the treat and chew box which is $39.

I also add in two super chews for $8 each.

My total cost is $55 (this includes shipping)

This box (with the two super chews) are made with roughly 7 – 8 pounds of human quality fresh meat and seafood.

So the cost per pound is $7.86 on the high end to $6.88 per pound on the low end based on raw meat.

One thing to note is that air drying takes away 65 to 75% of the moisture so what end up getting is much smaller than the 7 to 8 pounds it started off with.

It’s important to keep this in mind when feeding your dogs.

For example my two dogs Maggie and Orbit are 17 pounds each and liver should only be 5% of their body weight. Which basically means a dried portion of the liver treats is about the size of a quarter for to meet their daily needs. A small amount goes a long way.

The Competition

Red Barn

I’ve seen Red Barn sold at most of the larger pet stores. They claim their chews have no preservative, chills or artificial flavors.

I compare them to Real Dog Box because they are the most widely accessible single ingredient chews you can find.

Where they differ is that they source their meat from South America.

Even though I’ve never heard of any dogs having issues … I don’t like the idea of food traveling that far.

I’ve fed my dogs Bully Sticks from Red Barn that were smoked. They got brown and messy around the mouth and they had a pretty strong “smoked” odor.

Naked Beast Snacks

Naked Beast Snacks is a start up also based out of California. She air dries her treats and chews and she offers them a la carte.

I’ve purchased pork treats and duck feet from her because I needed more training treats and I needed more feet to add to their meals and I didn’t want to dry mine own.

I use feet for the bone content and glucosamine (I prefer to feed them what they need nutrient wise instead of using supplements).  I can’t source duck neck and if Real Dog Box doesn’t have it on their current menu then Naked Beast would be the next place to get it from.

The quality of the product was great. Pricing runs around $10 to $13 for a bag of treats. Chews can be from $5 each (like for a duck wing) or $10 for the duck feet I purchased.

So individually they cost a bit more and the shipping isn’t included.

But they allow you to buy treats and chews a la carte so you can be very intentional about what you buy instead of the selection being made for you.

They would be the closest competitor in terms of type of food you can get.

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DISCLOSURE:  Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation.  This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I have tried and trust.

Maggielovesorbit, Ilovebostons  is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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Canine Cravers

If Amazon shopping is your preference then Canine Cravers would be the brand for you.

They offer single ingredient treats (pork liver, beef lung, cod treats) for around $13 to $14

And they also now started to carry bully sticks.

I actually really love their bully sticks because it’s smaller and diameter and really hard. They also have minimal odor.

Real Dog Box Review - What to Know Before You Buy

You can purchase them on Amazon and if you have PRIME they are at your doorstep in two days.

I have stocked up on the bully sticks because I feel these might have a better chance targeting Orbit’s back teeth based on her chewing style (fast and savage).

Real Dog Box Review - What to Know Before You Buy

FAQ’s

Real Dog Box has a FAQ section on their website: Real.Dog Help Center

I’ve pulled out some of the questions I had when I first started: These come directly from their website and I’m sharing them here anticipating you might have the same questions.

Are bones safe for my dog?

Unless specified as a “Recreational Chew,” all of our chews containing bones are safe for your dog. They are also incredibly nutritious as a great source of calcium and phosphorous.

Every single chew we carry is fully digestible.

Since we air-dry our food, the cell structure of each protein remains unaltered.This means that you can rehydrate any treat or chew back to its original form. Our bone-in chews are not brittle and do not snap or splinter like cooked bones do. Instead, they are soft and pliable like raw bones.

Recreational Chews like knuckle or marrow bones are NOT meant to be completely consumed. They offer an excellent way for dogs to exercise their jaws and clean their teeth while consuming amino and essential fatty acids. We do not carry any recreational chews at this time, but if you are looking for recommendations for your pup, don’t hesitate to send us a message.

What is the difference between air-drying and dehydrating?

Drying is the world’s oldest and most common method of food preservation. It’s known to inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and mold through the removal of water.

Traditional methods of drying, like sun-drying or air-drying, remove water from the meat through evaporation in naturally warm climates, between 110-130 degrees. More modern methods include the use of electric *food dehydrators, which circulate air and heat around 150 degrees and higher. Freeze-drying is another method which removes moisture in a low-temperature, vacuumed-sealed chamber.

One of the greatest advantages of drying at a low temperature is that most nutritional properties, vitamins, minerals and proteins are preserved, allowing your pup to benefit from them when you feed him our food. By keeping the temperature low, air-dried foods can also be rehydrated back to their original form – which you cannot do with cooked or processed treats.

How to Introduce Your Dog to Real Chews

Introducing chews to your dog can be a different experience for each dog! There is no “set way” to introduce the chews, but we do have some recommendations we can give you.

The first one is to START SMALL! We recommend trying one chew at a time and seeing how your dog tolerates it. For example, if I got a box of chews with chicken feet and beef trachea, I’m going to pick one of them and start small. If you gave both at the same time and for some reason your dog didn’t tolerate it well, you wouldn’t know which one might be the reason!

Say I give one chicken foot that week. Normal stool? No tummy upset? Great! Maybe next week I will do one every 3-4 days, etc. Maybe next week I will switch and try the beef trachea. See what works best for your dog, there is no right or wrong answer and it depends on the size of the dog as well. Maybe your chihuahua should only get one chew a week but your great dane can tolerate two!

Are you worried your dog will eat the chew too fast? Try holding the chew so your dog can’t scarf it down (it’s very tempting).

If your dog eats most of the chew and then leaves left over pieces, go ahead and toss them but know that all of our chews are completely and fully edible.

You can freeze the chews to make them last longer and make them tougher to chew.

What makes Real Dog Box different than other subscriptions?

First and most importantly, we make all of our own food.

Unlike other subscription boxes that /curate/ their food from various companies, we make all of our treats and chews ourselves – right here in California! We control every step of each treat’s journey: from building relationships with our meat suppliers to slicing, packaging and shipping directly to where your pup is. (Yes, we can even ship to you while you’re on vacation.)

We know exactly how our food is made and we think you should too! You can always reach us to discuss your pup’s nutritional needs and preferences simply by texting us or chatting with us within your account.
We have NO commitments or cancellation fees. You can [cancel your box anytime.(http://help.real.dog/billing/how-do-i-cancel-my-box) after receiving your first shipment!

You won’t find any toys in your box, just real food.

Instead of plastic or rubber toys, we offer a variety of fully digestible chews each month. We know dogs have a natural craving to chew and destroy things – our chews serve as nutritious toys with many health and dental benefits. We even have Super Chews for the power chewers out there!

We make it simple.

Simple to feel good about what you feed your dog.
Simple to start, skip and stop your subscription.
Simple to feed your pup well and have more time with your best friend!

We do the research for you.

We know that dogs evolved from wolves and that their digestive tracts are 99% identical. We also know that real, wholesome foods are much better for us than processed foods. We would even go as far to say that if left up to them, dogs would not choose a bag of processed kibble over real food or whole prey… they rely on us to make that decision for them. Every single ingredient in your box is carefully chosen for its nutritional benefits and diversity.

Real Dog Box Review - What to Know Before You Buy

The Bottom Line

I find being a member of Real Dog Box worth it. The cost of $39 per box and $8 per super chew is less than the cost of me buying each item separately.

I have peace of mind that the items are sourced sustainably and locally.

I also love that they are transparent in showing how they make their food. They don’t use a third party co-packer.

My dogs go BANANAS for their Real Dog Box treats and chews.  They are thriving and their skin and coat look GREAT!

I’m a happy customer and if you sign up using my affiliate referral code your dog will get a free bag of treats when you sign up.  https://real.dog/maggielovesorbit/

DID YOU ENJOY THIS ARTICLE? READ MORE:

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BASIC FOUNDATION RECIPE TO MAKE MY DOG THEIR OWN FOOD

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello, my name is Hannah and I dance with my dogs.

I am a Boston Terrier Breed Advocate.  I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to tell our story on our Instagram.

I have two Boston Terriers. Maggie is my socially awkward heart dog while Orbit is my shadow and soul dog.

You won’t read about cats here, but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to this wonderful breed to help you learn more about them or provide practical tips as you raise your own. Read more about us.

By MaggieLovesOrbit.com, June 24, 2020
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