There’s something magically wonderful about man’s best friend. Even on our worst days, our dogs are always enthusiastically happy to see us. They have a youthful spirit about them that makes us want to take them with us on all of our adventures. Dogs are awesome, without a doubt! 🐕
But when is the last time you really thought about the quality of the dog food and dog treats you keep around the house? Just like human food, some dog food is much better for your dog’s health than the rest, and often these same dog treats are better for the planet too.
Just as it is important to reconsider our own diets from time to time, it is also important to be considerate of what we feed our pets. The decisions we make can have a lasting impact on the health of our four-legged friends, as well as an impact on the environment. Since our pets don’t have a say in what we feed them, we owe it to them to make good decisions for them.
Chippin vs. Blue Buffalo vs. Jiminy vs. Shameless Pets ComparisonWhat Are the Best Healthy and Sustainable Dog Treats? If you ask us, Chippin, Blue Buffalo, Jiminy, and Shameless Pets are some of the best dog treats on the market. They are sustainably made, use all-natural ingredients, and have your pet’s health in mind. When comparing these four brands, there are some distinct differences between them. Check out our side-by-side comparison below, or read the detailed reviews.
Before we delve into individual brands highlighted here, you might be wondering:
“But Mac, why does sustainability matter for something as trivial as dog treats”?Well surprisingly, as we have touched on in other articles on our site, small decisions can have a big impact. This statement holds true in this case. With that said, let’s briefly look into the science of how sustainable dog treats help the environment.
The Science Behind Making Dog Treats Sustainable: Why Does It Matter?
When it comes to sustainability and dog treats, there’s something called the carbon pawprint, as opposed to carbon footprint as with human-centric products. Carbon footprint is defined as follows:
“The amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.”All sourcing and manufacturing processes naturally produce carbon emissions that affect our air quality and hurt the environment, but some companies are more considerate of this than other. Reputable companies are making changes to reduce their carbon emissions.
Sustainably-focused companies require consideration of every aspect of the product lifecycle. Factors such as biodegradable packing are important. In the pet snack space, all-natural ingredients and proteins require less energy and create less pollution during that sourcing and production process. Packaging that isn’t eco-friendly and biodegradable can collect and last forever in landfills, and proteins in dog treats that come from sources like meat require way more energy and resources to produce. Some companies take it upon themselves to understand these implications, work toward reducing these carbon emissions and other non-sustainable bi-products that result from animal-centric products.
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture states that
“80%-90% of all consumable water is used for food production.”The thing to note here is that this food isn’t just for humans. Animal food consumption also contributes to this statistic. When it comes to food, meat, in particular, is very resource intensive:
As illustrated above, domestic livestock require substantial water resources, which matters when you multiply this out by hundreds of thousands of livestock required by our food eco-system. This consumption can take various forms, from getting meat at our local grocery store to less significant things like being used in pet food. In addition to this, farmed livestock are responsible for 14.5% of all emissions related to human activity, and cows make up by far the largest proportion of that.
Sustainably-focused brands are working to cut down on these negative environmental side effects where possible. In the case of dog treats, this definitely makes a great candidate! Even if you’re skepticalon some of the exact figures here, it’s tough to argue that there isn’t an indirect benefit to the environment by helping to reduce energy and water consumption through choosing to purchase products using more carefully designed production processes.
A newcomer to the industry, Chippin’s motto is “You and Your Dog Can Change The World”!Chippin is on a mission to change the dog treat industry by providing dog treats that are made with sustainable proteins, are healthier for your dog, and tastier than the competition. To accomplish this goal, Chippin set out to avoid poultry and other traditional sources of protein in their dog treats. Instead, Chippin uses primary ingredients such as cricket flour and spirulina. These ingredients provide human-grade, sustainable proteins that are hypoallergenic, rich in omega-3, and easier for your pet to digest. In addition, Chippin lists out the ingredients they use to make their dog treats, for each and every treat. This is particularly helpful if your dog has special dietary needs and you need to know everything that is in your dog’s treats.
Chippin prides itself on quality, and all of their treats are all-natural and are oven-baked with love in small batches. This provides a warm, personal touch that seems so foreign in comparison to traditional dog treat brands that we have come to expect with large retail brands. They also proudly boast that all of their dog treats are made in the USA. Chippin states on their website that 1 treat equals 1 gallon of water saved. Another nicety is that their packaging is made with 29% post-consumer recycled materials to further help the environment.
Chippin: The Verdict
All of Chippin’s treats avoid artificial flavors, preservatives, gluten, wheat, corn, soy, and bad odors. They boast their treats “smells good enough to eat”! If all of that wasn’t enough, Chippin also provides 15% off all orders and they will send you a free sleek reusable pet treat tin if you set up a subscription with them. Chippin’s website also offers nutrition facts for their treats, as well as feeding instructions to help first-time buyers. Perhaps Chippin’s biggest weakness is lack of variety. All-in-all Chippin really raises the bar in the dog treat industry, and the great care they take on all of the little details really shows their passion for helping people and their pets make a positive difference.
Don’t take our word for it? Chippin has outstanding customer reviews on their website for all of their products! All Chippin products come with a satisfaction guarantee.SUMMARY PROS
- Cricket Protein & Spirulina
- Slightly more expensive than competitors
- 1 treat equals 1 gallon of water saved
- Limited variety
- Hypoallergenic, rich in omega-3, and easier for your pet to digest
- Avoids artificial flavors, preservatives, gluten, wheat, corn, soy and bad odors
- Made in USA
- Satisfaction guarantee
- Free shipping on all orders
Blue Buffalo ReviewBlue Buffalo is a brand that many pet owners are familiar with, their motto is: “Love them like family. Feed them like family”. Not to be mistaken as a dog-food-only brand, they offer both dog and cat food and treats. One of the areas where Blue Buffalo seems to shine is in the wide variety they offer. For example, they offer training treats, oven-baked biscuit treats, soft-moist treats, seasonal treats, and dental dog treats - to only name a few! One of the benefits of this wide variety is that their website makes it easy to find the best dog treats and food based on your dog’s age, size, preference, and other special considerations.This allows for you to select dog treats, or food, that are more tailored to your dog’s needs.
Blue Buffalo’s dog treats come with their TRUE BLUE PROMISE which states that their formulation for their products will abide their creed of “Our Promise to Blue. Is Our Promise to You” by the following standards:
- Real Chicken First Ingredient
- No Chicken (or Poultry) By-Product Meals
- No Corn, Wheat, or Soy
- No Artificial Flavors Or Preservatives
Blue Buffalo: The Verdict
Blue Buffalo’s wide variety can come in handy for dogs with special dietary needs, but perhaps their biggest weakness is their lack of focus on sustainability. Blue Buffalo is probably the best well-known brand reviewed and should be the easiest to find. A drawback to Blue Buffalo’s retail focus is that they don’t offer a subscription-based purchase model or discount. However, Blue Buffalo does offer a one-time coupon to buyers who take their True Blue Test that can be found on their website. All Blue Buffalo products come with a satisfaction guarantee.SUMMARY PROS
- Wide variety
- No Subscription Options
- Ability to select treats based on your dog's age, gender, preferences, etc.
- Uses traditional sources of protein
- LifeSource Bits
- Lack of Sustainability
- Avoids artificial flavors, preservatives, wheat, corn, and soy
- Shipping cost dependent on which retailer you buy from online
- Made in USA
- Satisfaction guarantee
Jiminy’s motto is: For Happy Pets And A Healthy Planet! As you might infer from their clever name, Jiminy’s dog treats use cricket flour as well to provide healthy and sustainable proteins for your pet. Where they differentiate themselves from brands like Chippin, is that they combine cricket flour with plant-based ingredients to accomplish this goal. Another difference is that Jiminy’s offers both dog food and dog treats. Jiminy’s is another newcomer to the dog food and treat industry, similar to Chippin, and their mission is to change the dog treat industry by providing dog treats that are made with sustainable proteins, are healthier for your dog, and tastier than the competition. Since Jiminy’s utilizes cricket flour and plant-based ingredients, their treats are rich in omega-3, are hypoallergenic, and are easier for your pet to digest. In addition, Jiminy’s lists out the ingredients they use to make their dog treats, for each and every treat. This is particularly helpful if your dog has special dietary needs and you need to know everything that is in your dog’s treats.
Jiminy’s prides itself on quality, and all of their treats are all-natural and are oven-baked with love in small batches. This provides a warm, personal touch that seems so foreign in comparison to traditional dog treat brands that we have come to expect with large retail brands. They also proudly boast that all of their dog treats are made in the USA.
Jiminy’s: The Verdict
All of Jiminy’s treats avoid artificial flavors, gluten, wheat, corn, soy. Jiminy’s does use some uses preservatives, they state:
In order to ensure that the ingredients don’t develop mold or become rancid we use two products: a natural mold inhibitor (Citric Acid, Buffered Distilled White Vinegar) which makes the PH of the product more acidic which in turn prevents mold from developing and natural antioxidants (Canola Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract) which helps keep fats from oxidizing (going rancid).Jiminy’s website also offers nutrition facts for all of their treats. Perhaps Jiminy’s biggest weakness is lack of variety. All-in-all, Jiminy’s really raises the bar in both the dog treat and the dog food industry. I definitely would recommend them for dog food! Jiminy’s provides 10% off all orders if you set up a subscription with them.
- Cricket & Plant Based Protein
- Limited variety
- Hypoallergenic, rich in omega-3, and easier for your pet to digest
- Free shipping only on U.S. orders
- Avoids artificial flavors, preservatives, gluten, wheat, corn, and soy
- Sells Dog Food and Dog Treats
- Made in USA
Chippin vs Jiminy’s
When comparing Chippin and Jiminy’s, they’re undeniably similar. Chippin’s website seems to have a more chippervibe than Jiminy’s. Although I will give kudos to Jiminy’s for their humorous name! Also, Chippin is more forthcoming with certain information like that their packaging is made with 29% post-consumer recycled materials to further help the environment. Whereas with Jiminy’s this isn’t apparent. Another example of this is that Chippin offers a satisfaction guaranteed claim that is listed on all of their products. The main advantage I would give to Jiminy’s over Chippin currently is that they offer both dog treats and dog food. When it comes to dog treats exclusively, Chippin’s treats have noticeably more customer reviews than Jiminy’s.
Shameless Pets Review
Another newcomer to the dog treats industry, Shameless Pets’ motto is “We’re shameless about dog treats”! Shameless Pets is unique in that Instead of focusing on ingredients like cricket flour, Shameless Pets prioritizes sustainability through upcycling.Around 40% of the ingredients in Shameless Pets’ dog treats are sourced from upcycling, which is actually quite impressive when you stop to think about it. This process was inspired by the co-founder (James) who worked as a corporate food buyer at Target. Witnessing the vast amount of food that would go unused and thrown out, the owner set about discovering a way to combat this problem when he learned that an astonishing 63 million tons of food get tossed out annually in the US alone.
Shameless Pets states that
“There’s no shame in loving your pets. In loving them like family. In spoiling them rotten”.We agree, and what better way than to buy them dog treats! They use all-natural ingredients in their treats and are grain-free.When it comes to protein Shameless Pets uses chicken as the main ingredient, but they only source their chickens from places where they’re not grown with growth hormones, are free-range,and are not fed antibiotics. For some of their treats, Shameless Pets uses things like duck, cow, or fish. In all of these cases, similar strict ethical and healthy guidelines are practiced. Shameless Pets lists out the ingredients they use to make their dog treats, for each and every treat. This is particularly helpful if your dog has special dietary needs and you need to know everything that is in your dog’s treats. All their treats are grain-free (no corn, soy, wheat), contain no artificial flavors, and are proudly made in the USA.
Shameless Pets: The Verdict
Shameless Pets’ unique approach to sustainability and their benefit that their treats are made with clean ingredientsposition them to be a unique, sustainable, and ethical alternative for folks whose dogs might dislike cricket and plant-based treats. Unlike some of the other brands noted here, Shameless Pets has a healthy amount of variety in their dog treats. As far as their biggest weakness, Shameless Pets’ isn’t as noticeable as others at first, but they only ship within the U.S. They also don’t have a satisfaction guaranteed claim on any of their product pages. Shameless Pets offers a very generous 25% discount on all purchases if you join their seasonal savors subscription program. They also provide exclusive favors in this program that you can’t get online.SUMMARY PROS
- Upcycles approximately 40% of their ingredients
- Uses traditional proteins
- Requires and adheres to strict ethical and health guidelines from their suppliers for their chickens, cows, fish, ducks, etc.
- Ships only in the USA
- Very affordable
- Wide variety
- A great healthy and sustainable treat alternative for picky dogs
Our Recommended Dog Treats
When it comes to our four-legged friends and what we feed them, you want to make a quality investment that your dog will love, will boost their health, can help the planet, and gives you the most bang for your buck. The best dog treat from this competitive group that fits this mold is Chippin! That said, our dogs are all special and unique, and what is good for one dog might not be great for another. In cases where your dog might not like cricket or spirulina based treats, we recommend Shameless Pets. If you decide to buy dog food based on our list of brands, then we would recommend Jiminy’s.
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