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23 February 2013 Pawalla Mini box

EDIT: On 22 August 2013, Pawalla announced that it is “no longer operating as a subscription service.”

Product: Pawalla Mini box subscription service for pets
Quantity: [at least] one treat, one toy, and one other “surprise” item
Price: $12 / month for a full year subscription; $14 / month for 6 month subscription; $17 a month for a single month [BONUS: new subscribers can save $5 with our referral code; if expired, just leave a comment and we’ll issue a new code ASAP]
Ingredients: all kinds!
Company information: Pawalla.com, 9415 Culver Blvd.; Culver City, CA 90232
Web Presence: At Pawalla.com, Facebook, etc.

Pawalla Mini boxThe folks at Pawalla.com are pretty good to the Bows. In fact, that’s what the company is set up to do — pamper your pets. They recently came up with a more compact version of their monthly subscription box of “all-natural or organic” dog and cat goodies, and sent us a complimentary box in exchange for a review. This was also a good opportunity to see how far they’ve come since we reviewed their full service kits back in July 2012.

In each Mini box, a subscriber can expect three full-size items, including at least one treat, one toy, and one other “surprise” such as a dietary supplement or grooming aid. For this review, we received:

  • Grizzly Salmon NuTreats, one pack (6 oz)
  • Wigzi Tasties Treats, Roasted Duck flavor, one pack (6 oz)
  • Wigzi Lock n’ Play dog toy, medium
  • Gerrard Larriett Happy Jasmine Aromatherapy Freshening and Shining Spray, one bottle (4 fl. oz)

Pawalla Mini box February 2013

How nice of them to include not just one, but two full-sized treat offerings to round out the overall value (as will sometimes happen at Pawalla’s discretion). A quick tabulation of retail price on these goodies tops me off at about $36, with a third of that accounted for by the Gerrard Larriet aromatherapy spray. Now, whether or not one would actually pay $12 for pet-specific fragrances is another matter… and not even the 25% discount code included in the box was enough to convince me that this company offers anything that my dogs need or want. Perhaps if this had happened to arrive on the day of our most recent horse poop adventure, I would have thought otherwise…

Silly to me, but it was indeed unexpected. And the whole point of the Pawalla box is to offer a variety of surprises with the expectation that there will be enough novelty in each box to make the deal worthwhile. So that one dud aside, how’d they do?

The Bows, as usual, showed greatest interest in everything edible.

Very interested in the Grizzly Salmon NuTreats

It was pointed out to me that the above picture makes the Grizzly Salmon NuTreats look like something I picked up on a morning walk. They’re actually quite appetizing, crunchy bites! We mainly know Grizzly Pet Products as a trusted brand in salmon oil supplements. Nice to know they make a training-sized treat with simple ingredients, as well.

The “star” of this box was Wigzi, a Washington, D.C.-based pet product company. Their Tasties treats are grain and wheat-free, made instead with chick pea and tapioca flour. We got the roasted duck variety (other possible flavors include peanut butter and Wisconsin cheddar), which were eagerly gobbled as one of the “forbidden flavors” not typically fed at the House of Two Bows.

The treats, however, are just a bit too crumbly to insert into the company’s own Lock ‘n’ Play chew toy with a treat pouch, which otherwise serves as an interesting alternative to typical rubber chew toys. Wigzi toys are all made in the U.S. (a rare find in non-edible pet products!) from some special “advanced material… [that] has zero BPAs or Phthalates, uses FDA approved material and is also recyclable.” If an object could glow with pride from being manufactured under superior conditions, I suppose this toy would do just that.

Lock n Play

Personally, the Bows have limited interest in toys. The few we keep around are usually functional and interactive, as this one is. Too bad we don’t have a heavy chewer around to test its durability, but it does look — and smell! — unique.

Overall, the Pawalla Mini box looks promising if you know you’re going to spend at least $12 per month indulging your pets with extras. No wet foods or “main course” meals are included with Mini boxes, so it’s a good option for those who already have fairly set menus (perhaps cat owners?), and prefer to explore other, supplemental offerings. In this particular box, we really only made use of the treats, which I feel just barely makes it a $12 value — the lowest price per box for a 12 month subscription at Pawalla’s new tiered pricing scheme. At $14 a month for a six month subscription, my pet(s) better be inclined to enjoy both food and toys. At $17 a box for a one-time affair, we’d better be sure to love everything, and honestly, that wasn’t the case with this box.

Like the full-sized Pawalla box, the edibles here were all corn and wheat-free, with no artificial colors or flavors. Having a certified pet nutritionist on board is reassuring, but more importantly, Pawalla cares to maintain consistent high standards. This would make an awesome “puppy-warming” gift for a new pet with no protein allergies who might still be exploring their taste preferences. New subscribers can knock $5 off their first box with our referral code; otherwise, it’s most cost efficient to just spring for a six or twelve-month subscription.

FINAL GRADE: A-

EDIT: On 22 August 2013, Pawalla announced that it is “no longer operating as a subscription service.”

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