Subscription Dog Box 'So Fetch' Is A Mixed Bag

Image: Lifehacker Australia

The So Fetch subscription dog box feels like an op-shop of canine bric-a-brac. There are a couple of real gems hidden in there, but you have to do some digging to get to them.

The bright yellow cardboard box arrived from Queensland a bit beat up, courtesy of the postal service. It reminded me of an op shop – it may not look like much on the outside, but just you give it a chance. I was particularly curious about the “special gift for the human” So Fetch’s website said was in the box – it was the only dog box subscription service claimed to include such a thing.

What’s Inside?

So Fetch claims to curate its boxes specially to your dog, matching their “needs and characteristics”. Each box contains seven to nine items, including “best quality” toys from brands such as Kong and Bionic, accessories, and natural Australian-made treats and grooming products. They also contain a small gift for the human as well.

I told them that Boatmeal is ~25kg, 11-month-old border collie who loves to chew and chase, and is particularly fond of kangaroo treats. Inside my box was two toys, two treats, two grooming items, and two items for humans.

Pet Brands Rubba Squeak

Image: Lifehacker Australia

This is a discontinued toy, which is a shame because I found it by far the best in the box. Not only is it good for playing catch, it’s also great for self-directed, unsupervised play. Boatmeal can amuse himself for ages with it, chasing it about and squeaking it to his heart’s content. Its textured surface also means it’s easier getting a grip on it if you need to wrest it from your dog’s maw.

The squeaker is triggered easily enough by his chewing, which may annoy some people, particularly when their dog is in an energetic mood. Fortunately it isn’t so sensitive that it’s going off at every light nibble. Personally, I like the squeaks. They aren’t constant, and when the ball is squeaking I know that Boatmeal is happy and isn’t getting up to any mischief.

A ball is a standard toy, yes, but this is a good, versatile ball for a good, energetic boy. And as this particular ball has been discontinued, I would have been unlikely to ever get it had it not been for this box.

Tough Tugger Rubber Sleeved Rope ($8.50)

Tough Tugger Rubber Sleeved Rope Image: Lifehacker Australia

The Tough Tugger is another standard toy, a tug, but a bit less impressive than the Rubba Squeak. I appreciate that they have included a handle on both ends of the tugger, in an acknowledgement of the fact that your dog will not always politely concede the handle end of a tugger. These handles are rather tough – Boatmeal’s teeth haven’t pierced them yet. Further, there are three nice knots in the rope for your dog to chew on or hold on to with his paws, and the rope is thickly woven.

According to the label, it is “is best suited to smaller but just as powerful jaws”, so I don’t understand why So Fresh included it in a box for a 25kg pup, but Boatmeal still had fun with it.

I did notice that after playing with it, Boatmeal had black colouring around his lips and gums. I soaked the end of the toy in a tub of water for a bit, but it was hard to say if the slight discolouration of water was from dye leakage or small bits of rope fibre. In any case, black strands of rope came off and tangled themselves in his mouth from the moment we started playing.

Mr Paw 2-In-1 Conditioning Shampoo 50mL ($22 for 250mL)

I’m not a big fan of samples in dog boxes, and this shampoo-conditioner feels like a sample. The bottle doesn’t contain enough to be of much use, particularly as Boatmeal is a large dog with a lot of long hair. We didn’t even get one full wash out of the bottle, and had to substitute our usual shampoo halfway through.

The sections of Boatmeal’s fur that were washed with Mr Paw did emerge slightly softer than usual – we don’t typically use conditioner. I do wonder if it would have made a more significant difference if I’d used this product long-term. I wasn’t wild about the smell (peppermint, aloe vera and chamomile), but it faded within a day anyway.

In any event, it does make a case for conditioning your dog. And if you are going to condition your dog, a two-in-one product seems to be the best way to go about it – no need to try to wrangle a big, wet, uncooperative pup for longer than necessary.

Zolux RodyCare Claw Clippers ($9.95)

I really appreciated this inclusion. I’d been after some good claw clippers, and these scissors were perfect. Even if you already have a pair, it’s always good to have a spare on hand, and these were better than the pair I already had. They were nice and sharp, and easy to control, which is important when you’re bring sharp things close to your poor puppy’s feet. Next to the Rubba Squeak ball, this was one of the better inclusions in the box.

So Fetch Roo Liver 100g ($8.95)

These dried pieces of liver are from So Fetch’s own brand. Boatmeal loves kangaroo, and liver is a great, high-nutrient treat. These are well-sized pieces which are good to use for training, and their dryness mean they can easily be put in your pocket when taking your dog for a walk.

The only downside was that the packaging was too big for the amount given – it only filled maybe half of the box, which makes it feel ungenerous.

Yummi Pet Products Beef Paddywack

These beef treats are a bit oily, so not as portable as the roo liver, and similar to a flat bully stick. It’s a pretty standard treat, and Boatmeal seemed to enjoy the ligament well enough. I had a difficult time finding where to purchase it, unless you want to buy it in bulk.

Best Friends Bone Charm And Necklace ($9.95)

This is starting to veer slightly into “crazy dog person” territory. If you’re interested in wearing this sort of thing, you probably already have one.

Image: Lifehacker Australia

I haven’t worn a friendship charm since primary school, and wearing one with your dog is a bit like screaming, “I’m lonely.” Though I do spend significant portions of every day lying on the floor asking my dog if he loves me, so maybe that isn’t that far off the mark. Still, I was more bemused than excited by this product.

Further, I found the set for $1 on eBay, yet in the So Fetch store it’s going for a baffling $9.95. No thanks.

Perfect Paw Mug ($9.95)

This inclusion irritated me. While I appreciate that So Fetch put some thought into selecting the border collie mug for me, as they knew that Boatmeal is a border collie, this is a gift that only someone who is very dedicated to the breed might enjoy. Most people who are subscribed to a dog box service are lavishing their affection on one or two specific dogs. I do like Border Collies, but more specifically I love Boatmeal. I felt as though someone heard I love my sister, so gave me a mug with a silhouette of a girl on it. Even from an aesthetic view, the silhouette looks unappealing and cheap.

Further, it isn’t machine washable. You have to wash this mug by hand. I don’t care enough about this mug to take the time to wash it by hand. I barely care about myself enough to wash myself by hand. I am never going to use this mug.

Available Boxes

  • $55 per month for a month to month subscription
  • $50 per month for a three month subscription
  • $47.50 per month for a six month subscription

When choosing a subscription you are prompted to select the size of your dog as well. All So Fetch boxes come with free delivery.

Charity Support

So Fetch donates five per cent of its profits to Forever Friends Animal Rescue, which finds homes for rescue animals that would otherwise be put down.

Overall Impression

So Fetch took me to some great highs and great lows. The Rubba Squeak ball has a solid place as one of Boatmeal and my favourite toys, but the charms and mug are only going to gather dust. It felt like they were taking up valuable box space that would have gone better toward more treats or toys.

Further, the So Fetch website advertises that they use toys from “top brands such as KONG, Bionic & FuzzYard”. Though they served their purpose well enough, I am not confident that either the Tough Tugger or the Rubba Squeak toy are up to the same standard as these brands.

However, there are certain people who would be thrilled to add another dog mug to their collection. People who would eagerly introduce their dog as their best friend and can rattle off border collie fun facts off the top of their head. This box is for those proud people – those for whom loving dogs is a lifestyle, and whose lives revolves around their beloved pets. Perhaps So Fetch is the service for them. I’m just not one of them.

We are trying out subscription dog box services in Australia, assisted by Very Good Boy Boatmeal. Read all our reviews here.


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