When it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle, a few things immediately come to mind: Ditching single-use plastic bags for a cute Baggu, for example, or getting an electric set of wheels. Maybe you even made a climate-friendly swap with your snack game. But have you considered your pet's impact on Mother Earth? Until recently, I hadn't. All that changed when I came across startup pet brand Chippin, founded by former college roommates Haley Russell and Laura Colagrande. (The name is an invitation for folks to "chip in" and play their part in saving the planet — starting with what you're feeding Fido.) According to the brand's website, dogs in the U.S. account for the fifth-highest meat consumption by country globally — and we already know that the meat industry isn't exactly great for the earth. Chippin offers a simple-yet-genius solution: Swap traditional meat proteins like chicken and beef with sustainable sources of protein like silver carp, spirulina, and cricket. (Yes, crickets — they're high in essential amino acids and vitamin B12.) Additionally, in lieu of conventional packaging, Chippin's pouches are made from 28% post-consumer recycled materials. The brand is also certified plastic-neutral, meaning they remove as much plastic from the environment as they use in their manufacturing process.
Impressive? Yes. But all the eco-friendly packaging in the world won't matter if it doesn't pass the most important test: snack time. For the purposes of this review, Chippin sent my rescue pup Miso a swag bag of flavors for sampling. Ahead, read along as Miso taste-tests these Earth-friendly treats.
At first, I admit I was a bit wary to introduce my dog to such a different kind of food since dogs often have sensitive tummies. With that in mind, I hit up a vet for some answers. "In theory, these types of proteins may have a place in dog food or treats," says Dr. Gabrielle Fadl, the medical director and veterinarian at Bond Vet. "However, with anything new that has not been widely tested in dog food or fed to dogs for years, there is always some degree of risk with not knowing if there will be unexpected effects." Her advice: Make sure to check with a veterinarian who can assess if it's appropriate for your pet. If you're looking at treats that use non-traditional proteins, you should also check for ingredients that are AAFCO-tested and verify where they are sourced from to ensure they're pesticide-free. In the case of Chippin, all of its daily food meets AAFCO standards, although the AAFCO only tests food, not supplemental food like treats.
Since introducing new dog food to Miso can be tricky, I decided to skip the daily food and try Chippin's line of treats. First, we started with the Antioxidant treats, which include banana, blueberry, and cricket. As you can see above, he was immediately intrigued by the stuff — not surprising, as blueberries tend to drive Miso absolutely wild. After I opened the bag, he wasted no time to get nibbling on the treat in my palm. I broke a second Antioxidant treat into smaller pieces and used them to run through his tricks: Sit, jump, paw, and dance.
The next treat we tried was the Spirulina Dailies. A type of protein-rich algae, these treats are actually completely vegan. "Vegan" and "dog" usually don't go side by side, but I was surprised. Miso, being the pampered pup he is, doesn't jump for just any 'ol treat. However, he was seriously hyped as soon as I took these out of the cupboard. I'm talking tail wagging-a-mile-a-minute, and the biggest derp-y smile ever. I broke one in half (each disc-shaped treat is about the size of a quarter) and let him sniff it out before eating one. Thanks to the spirulina and kale, these have a natural green color and herb-like scent. (There's also a Smokehouse BBQ flavor, which I ended up gifting to a friend's pup.)
With a wide variety of dog treats and jerky to choose from, Chippin is making it easy — and affordable — to make a mindful, Earth-friendly choice. Even if, like me, you aren't ready to swap your dog's daily food, the treats offer a tasty way to reduce your pet's carbon footprint. I also love that the brand is available at Petco, making it pretty accessible if you want the stuff ASAP. (BTW, they offer carbon-neutral shipping on all orders.) Your very good boy to girl may not know they're being extra good by snacking on eco-friendly treats, but, thankfully, Chippin's treats taste so good they won't even have to know they're reducing their carbon pawprint to enjoy them.
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