The baby of the bunch, subscription dog box service Golden Swag was founded last year by Rebecca Lindsay, and is run with help from her dogs Malley and Moose. Located on the Gold Coast, it is the only subscription dog box specifically curated for one particular breed – golden retrievers. Of course, this doesn’t stop other medium to large dogs from enjoying it as well.
I was mildly sceptical of this box when I first heard of it. Founded last year, run by one person, and specialised toward a single breed? It seemed like a venture too small and specialised to last. But upon receiving the box, I was happily surprised by its presentation and quality.
The Premium Swag box “contains a combination of 5 - 6 treats, toys, and occasional hygiene products (+ samples and vouchers)”, while the Budget Swag box contains three or four of the same. The products have been “approved” by golden retrievers Malley and Moose, with a view toward not only enjoyment, but stimulation and health.
We received a sample box to give us an idea of what you can expect in these boxes. In addition to the products, it also contained several vouchers for various pet-related businesses.
Puppicino Probiotic Single Shot ($3)
The inclusion of a probiotic for my dog was such a novelty for me. I would never think to buy my dog a probiotic, unless there was something wrong with his health and the vet recommended it.
It's difficult to evaluate whether this single serve had any impact upon the health of my dog, but Boatmeal flippin' loved the vanilla yoghurt flavour. He came and watched me as I mixed it with water, and immediately lapped the whole thing up without even pausing to breathe. I've rarely seen him that enthusiastic about his food. Even if it didn't have health benefits, the Puppicino Probiotic makes for an interesting treat.
Alien Flex Squeaking Plush Toy “Stixx” ($15.95)
This Alien Flex plush is in the same line as the Gro from Olly’s Box, with two main differences. Firstly, rather than low-pitched, almost pleasant squeaker inside Gro, Stixx’s squeker has a more traditional, high-pitched sound. This squeaker is also fairly easy to trigger, so it could quickly get annoying.
The second main difference was that Stixx doesn’t have the mohawk that Gro does. This means that though Boatmeal was very enthusiastic about Stixx, he wasn’t encouraged to focus all his chewing energy on one spot, or to take hold of it and pull. As a result, unlike Gro, Stixx survived its first encounter with my dog intact.
It’s basically a trade-off – a less annoying squeaker or a potentially longer lasting toy.
Zippy Paws NomNomz Squeaker Toy – Taco ($13.95)
This toy made me exclaim with delight when I saw it. Look at that lil’ taco face. It is adorable.
Boatmeal really appreciated the taco as well, initially taking delight in tugging at the pieces of “cheese”. He likes chewing off labels, and they’re like little rows of labels – endlessly fascinating. The taco is also of a size and shape that fits well into his mouth.
This toy contains two squeakers and no stuffing, so there’s nothing for him to pull out and strew all over the house. It does deform rather easily, but it’s simple enough to pop it back into shape, and a fixable indent is preferable to torn holes.
SavourLife Australian Kangaroo Strips 165g ($9.99)
I quite liked these kangaroo treats. They’re dry, so you can carry them around with you and store them easily, and they’re easy to break into smaller pieces to use as rewards. These treats aren’t 100 per cent meat, also containing ingredients such as cereals, glycerine and salt. But they’re still healthy, and Boatmeal loved them. These were one of the best training treats across all the boxes we reviewed.
Further, SavourLife is an Australian company, and 50 per cent of their profits go to helping save rescue dogs.
Ivory Coat Australian Natural Health Ocean Fish and Salmon Free Sample 50g (2kg for $34.90)
I don’t like kibble samples as a feature in dog boxes. They don’t make much sense unless you’re already looking to switch brands, and trying a lot of different foods can upset your dog’s stomach. Thankfully, Golden Swag’s other items feel substantial enough that I can appreciate this sample as a bonus, rather than a feature.
We used this food as a low value treat. Unfortunately, it would take a lot more kibble and time than we have to determine if this food makes a difference to Boatmeal’s coat health.
This brushed aluminium tracker is a cool thing to have, but not the type of thing you’d think to buy, or that is necessarily useful.
Attaching a tracker to your pet’s collar can offer a sense of security, particularly for outdoor pets. This tracker connects to an app which uses Bluetooth to locate it, and has a 30m radius. It also has a Crowd Locate feature, which helps find the tracker when it is outside that radius by messaging you when its location when someone else with the TrackR app passes it.
However, the TrackR website itself doesn’t recommend that the device be used for tracking pets, as it is not optimised for tracking the minute-by-minute movements of an animal. Further, the Crowd Locate feature is only useful if a lot of people in your area are using the TrackerR as well.
It’s also likely that if people do put this on their dog, by the time the dog does get lost the battery has run out because they never checked or replaced it.
For me personally, Boatmeal doesn’t wear his collar much because he’s an indoor dog. I can’t imagine scenario where he’d need a tracker because we never let him out of our sight. I’d be more likely to use this tracker for my keys or wallet than for my dog.
I do like that Golden Swag included a water resistant sleeve for the tracker. I feel that this indicates they tried to think about how their customers will be using the tracker, even if they missed the mark a bit. The tracker is still an item that doesn’t necessarily make sense, but it's a nifty little gadget, and their heart’s in the right place.
Zeal Free Range Naturals Chicken Fillets 125g ($12.95)
These dried chicken fillets from New Zealand are 100 per cent chicken, and a pretty standard treat. Boatmeal enjoyed it as well – while he wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as he was about the kangaroo, he still munched down on it cheerily enough.
Dawg Grillz Pearly Whitez Ballz 2.0 ($US12.99)
The premise of the Dawgz Grills ball is that when your dog is carrying it in their mouth, it looks as though they are smiling. Some people find this type of terrifying, Cheshire cat grin amusing. More power to them. I found it unsettling, but it’s easy enough to ignore if rictuses aren’t your thing.
This is a sturdy, weighty plastic ball that feels pretty dense. The website says it bounces, but I didn't see much of a bounce when we pegged it at the cement. It did, however, gain some pretty impressive scratches. The ball also has a squeaker, but it's pretty hard to trigger, and Boatmeal hasn't managed it himself. Boatmeal chased it all the same, but it isn’t one of our favoured balls. Still, it makes a fairly good substitute for a tennis ball when playing fetch, if you're concerned about tooth erosion.
Big & Little Dogs Cloudland Neckerchief – Large ($10)
This unicorn bandanna from Australian business Big & Little Dogs is adorable. While it isn’t amazing in quality and is only a single-side print, Boatmeal looked very handsome in it. My sister felt that it even made him look younger. It was large enough to fit around his neck, and he didn’t appear to be in any kind of discomfort.
Bandannas are a great inclusion in a dog box. They aren’t something most people buy that often, so they feel like a bit of a special treat. Of course, there is a contingent that consider dressing up your dog a pointless exercise. But then, it’s unlikely those people will be subscribing to a dog box service in the first place.
- Premium Swag Box Subscription - $59.95
- Budget Swag Box Subscription - $39.95
- Welcome Home Puppy Box - $59.95 one off
- Swaggster Birthday Box - $69.95 one off
- Golden Swag charges $9.95 for delivery.
Golden Swag donates $1 of each box sold every month to Golden Retriever Rescue Inc and Golden Paws Rescue Inc.
Golden Swag’s box felt like it had been packed by somebody who not only really loves dogs, but really loves my dog. I felt as though I was opening up a care package sent by a friend – one who was as excited about their pet as I am, had stumbled across various items they felt they just had to share, and then tried to cram as many gifts and deals as possible into one delivery.
The treats are good standards that any dog would enjoy, the toys are bright and fun, and the accessories are interesting. This box just felt warm and filled with personality and care.
Unfortunately, Golden Swag is currently on hiatus as Lindsay is dealing with some medical issues. However, it's worth keeping an eye out for its return. If Golden Swag can keep up this quality, and tempt dog owners to give this new business a shot, it had a promising future.