An unexpected solution to the earth’s environmental crisis: dog treats made of crickets, which are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Vegan dog treats made of spirulina, a high-protein algae. Dog food made from silver carp, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, but an invasive and overpopulated fish. Spoiler alert: Dogs love ‘em. Read on for more on sustainable and healthy dog treats and food from Chippin. Your pet is (usually) a good boy or girl. Now you can be too.
Table of Contents
Our Rating: 5 / 5 (See: How Leaf Score is calculated)
- Inclusion of crickets as opposed to more traditional dog food ingredients can make an enormous difference in the amount of water used for production
- Product is sold and shipped in recycled packaging
- The treats and food are made from whole foods without questionable fillers
|Country of Origin:||Made in the USA|
|Ingredients:||Crickets, silver carp, peanut butter, pumpkin etc. (full list below for each)|
Crickets have astoundingly good benefits for the environment as a food source. One gallon of water produces one pound of cricket protein; in contrast, 2,000 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef protein.
The insects known for their chirping sounds, distantly related to grasshoppers, require much less water, land and food than cattle and pigs, emit up to 1/100th the amount of greenhouse gases, and feed on compost and other bio-waste, a report from the U.N. notes. Livestock emits 14.5% of all greenhouse gases in the world, according to the U.N. report. Traditional pet foods made from animals and animal by-products produce about 64 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The nutritional benefits are equally impressive. Crickets are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), zinc, and folate. In fact, most edible crickets are higher in protein than pork, chicken, or goat meat, says a 2020 study in Frontiers in Nutrition.
Some cricket species are complete protein sources, since they contain all the essential amino acids; other species aren’t complete protein sources since they have fewer amino acids like tryptophan and lysine. The iron content in crickets is 180% higher than in beef, found a 2016 study in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. What’s more, crickets’ calcium and Vitamin B2 content is higher compared to beef, pork or chicken, that study found.
The health benefits go on. Crickets are high in fiber, too, unlike meat but like vegetables: fiber accounts for 13.4% of a 100-gram serving (3.53 oz), says the Frontiers in Nutrition study. They’re also high in polyunsaturated fats, which lessens the risk of heart disease, that study also found. While the body digests crickets a bit less than beef, they’re easier to digest than plants like rice or corn.
The yuck factor: Insects are eaten in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, from Mexico to Thailand, though most Americans turn up their noses. In Mexico, people have consumed crickets since the pre-Hispanic era. But remember: you don’t have to eat them.
Who is Chippin?
Chippin is a dog food manufacturer founded in late 2018 by two women, Haley Russell, and Laura Colagrande, who met as students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The Arlington, VA-based company uses “novel protein sources which provide exceptional protein quality and digestibility while minimizing the carbon footprint,” says Dr. Beth Hamper, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Centers in Indiana who helped develop and oversee the foods. Russell grew up in a vegetarian home, but wondered why that didn’t apply to family pets.
What are Chippin dog treats made of?
Superfood treats: Round and brown, contain crickets, pumpkin, and peanut butter, with a hint of cinnamon. That’s it.
Smokehouse BBQ treats: Round and dark brown, contain crickets, pumpkin, and carrots, with a hickory “nose.” That’s it.
Spirulina Dailies vegan treats: round and green, also contain flaxseed and carrot. That’s it. Spirulina is an algae that’s 55% protein and has 10 essential amino acids.
Cricket or Silver Carp Jerky: Soft and chewy squarish pieces, also contains sweet potato, carrot, etc. A full list:
Cricket (or carp), sweet potato, cane molasses, glycerin, carrot, tapioca starch, flaxseed, chia seed, sunflower meal, natural flavor, natural smoke flavor, rosemary extract, mixed tocopherols (a preservative).
Wild-Caught Silver Carp dry dog food: Also contains oats, pumpkin, cranberries, tomato pomace (what’s left after processing tomatoes for juice, soup, etc.), spinach, etc. A full list:
Silver Carp, Oats, Pumpkin, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Tomato Pomace, Brewers Yeast, Dried Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Spinach, Sunflower Oil, Taurine, Rosemary Extract, Choline Chloride, Salt, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Folic Acid.
What we love
Let’s be frank: we’re delighted that any dogs we gave Chippin to loved the cricket treats and carp food, friends’ dogs included. Sometimes, what’s good for us doesn’t taste yummy. “Who’d have thunk it?” a friend commented wonderingly about the crickets, noting her rescue dog guarded his treat “like it was life or death.”
Another friend’s two dogs, who mostly eat a raw meat diet, adored the crickets and dry carp food and even ate the vegan treats (though they weren’t a fave).
We love the tagline, “Save the earth. It’s the only planet with dogs,” and the brand name, which invites you to “chip in” to reduce the “eco pawprint.” But seriously:
- We love that foods so high in nutrition are so low in environmental impact.
- We love that ingredients are sourced from small to medium farms, from Canada (crickets), Kentucky (carp) to California (spirulina).
- We even love the packaging, made from 28% recycled post-consumer materials, like milk containers and yogurt cups.
- We love the carbon-neutral shipping. Chippin partners with Pachama, which carbon-offsets by forest conservation projects worldwide.
We also love the customer-friendly policies and promotions. There’s a money-back guarantee if you’re dissatisfied, monthly contests to win $200 in dog treats you enter by Email signup, and a $10 credit if friends you give a $10-off discount to make a purchase.
How much does Chippin cost?
A 5 oz bag of dog treats, which contains 30 treats, costs $9.99 on Amazon. A 5 oz bag of cricket or silver carp jerky, which contains 25 jerky treats, costs $11.99 on Amazon. Silver carp dog food isn’t sold on Amazon. On Chippin, a two-pack of 5 oz bags of dog treats costs $19.99, a variety pack of four 5 oz bags of dog treats costs $39.99, and a 5 oz bag of jerky costs $11.99. Silver carp dog food costs $32.99 for a 3.5 lb bag, $71.99 for a 10.5 lb bag, and $129.99 for a 21 lb bag.
What could be better
The website store locator didn’t work when I tried it. When I typed in my city an error message popped up saying it couldn’t find the address. As for the chat feature, though I typed my problem and Email in the chatbox, I hadn’t gotten a response yet 72 hours later.
No matter: the drop-down menu listed many locations from the DC area, New York, Los Angeles, Bay Area, Illinois, Wisconsin to Montana.
Mix sustainable ingredients with an ethical company that utilizes recycled packaging and carbon-neutral shipping, and then throw in some dogs for good measure, and you’ve got an equation that adds up to a winning product in our book. Just as important, as it pertains to a product for dogs, every dog we gave samples to loved them.