Exclusive: The Makers of BarkBox Are Moving Into an Often Overlooked Space in Pet Wellness

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Some dog owners may joke about spending more money on their beloved pets than they do on themselves. But given the explosion of new direct-to-consumer fresh pet food brands, plant-based and CBD-infused treats, and sartorial accessories that cost as much as some high-end fashion brands for humans, that’s not just a bit of humor but also a big business.

However, amid all the culinary and wellness trends extending from two-legged creatures to four-legged ones, there remains a basic daily habit that pet owners and even most pet retailers have been overlooking—much to the detriment of their pets.

That would be brushing a pet’s teeth. Any pet owner will acknowledge it’s not a fun activity. It’s just as tedious as it is for humans, and sometimes it can be painful for the pet—or even the owner depending on the pet’s biting habits.

But if pet parents aren’t diligent about this, the consequences are just as serious for dogs as they are for humans who don’t brush their teeth. More than 80% of dogs develop oral disease in their lifetime, which can result in infections, bad breath, and even expensive surgeries.

Bark Bright Dental Chews for Dogs.

Bark, the brand behind the runaway success of BarkBox, is expanding its product line by tapping into this perhaps mundane but critical space for health and wellness.

“Most dog parents don’t regularly clean their dogs’ teeth, because it’s such a frustrating process for dogs and their people,” says Bark cofounder Henrik Werdelin. “Dental treats can only do so much, so we developed this one-two punch product to make dental health something dogs look forward to.” 

Among the first products for this brand will be the Bark Bright Dental Chews, touted by the brand as the first combination of a proprietary enzymatic toothpaste with a cleansing chew.

To use the product, dog owners apply the chicken-flavored toothpaste along the ridges of a similarly chicken-flavored dental chew. Dogs then gnaw and nibble on the chew on their own, activating the toothpaste’s enzymes while also cutting away at plaque and buildup.

The Bark Bright Dental Kit.

Bark will be soft launching a limited beta supply of Bright Dental to BarkBox subscribers exclusively with the intent of getting feedback from customers about wellness and behavioral changes.

A wider release is planned for the spring as Bark also signed with a major national retailer to sell Bright Dental in stores, although the company declined to announce the name.

A puppy samples Bark Bright Dental Chews.

BarkBox is a curated subscription service that mails out new dog toys, treats, and other products each month, a strategy ideal for social media lovers. Founded in 2012, BarkBox has approximately 600,000 monthly subscribers to date.

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