Alternative Protein Treats: Why They Benefit Your Dog’s Health & The Planet

Alternative Protein Treats: Why They Benefit Your Dog’s Health & The Planet

We all want our pups to be happy and healthy, right? It might be obvious, but treats are the easiest way to win a dog’s heart. Why not punch your furry best friend? 

So, what constitutes a nutritious (and delicious) dog treat? There are quite a few ingredients that can make a treat healthy for your pup. But in this post, we want to talk about protein! In particular, we want to talk about two alternative protein treats and why they benefit your dog’s health AND are better for the planet. 

But first, why do our dogs need protein?

Why Your Dog Needs Protein

Like humans, your pup needs a balanced diet filled with nutrients to live a happy and healthy life. Protein is a key ingredient in a healthy diet because it carries amino acids that are pivotal in helping your dog’s muscles, joints, and skin to develop and function properly. 

Protein is essential for active, athletic, and older dogs, and the amount of protein given should be adjusted accordingly depending on your dog's needs.  And if your pup has insulin resistance or diabetes, they can definitely benefit from a high-protein, low-carb diet.

When you hear the word protein, your mind might jump straight to beef, chicken, turkey, and pigs. But other (and better) proteins should be on your radar, including cricket protein and carp protein!

Alternative Protein Sources That Are Better For The Planet & Nutritious For Your Pup

The standard proteins used in dog food and treats consist of animals often raised in terrible conditions, pumped with harmful antibiotics, and often fed an unnatural diet. We talk more about the impact of your dog’s food in this blog post. Needless to say, the industrial agriculture that raises these animals is anything but environmentally friendly. 

So, what if we told you there are alternative types of protein (other than what we just listed) that are beneficial for your dog AND the planet? 

Yep! It’s true. Crickets and carp, in particular, are sweeping into the dog food market, and we want to explain why they are becoming popular. 

Hint: it has to do with how healthy they are for your dogs and the planet!

Cricket Protein

We know, we know, EWWW, bugs! While adding crickets into your pup’s diet might seem novel or, dare we say, gross, eating crickets has actually been a part of the human diet for a long time in other parts of the world. Apparently, they taste a bit nutty and earthy, making them an easy addition to staple recipes.


Cricket protein packs a punch when it comes to nutrition. Not only is this protein a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, but it also has the essential omega fatty acids that protect your dog’s joints and boosts their immune system. In addition, they have vitamins B12 and B12, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and plenty of fiber – a benefit not typically seen in protein sources. 

All of these nutrients contribute to a healthy pup! 


If your dog suffers from allergies or food sensitivities, cricket protein is a great alternative. When dogs are constantly exposed to specific protein food sources (usually meat, dairy, or eggs), sensitivities and allergies can develop, leaving our dogs uncomfortable or even ill.

Since cricket protein works similar to a hydrolyzed protein (meaning it is predigested and doesn’t seem to cause a reaction in the immune system), your dog might find its allergies and sensitivities alleviated when they switch to cricket protein. Also, a crickets diet differs from cows and chickens in that they aren’t fed soy and wheat fillers, which are common allergy triggers for dogs who eat the meat.

Better For The Environment

One of the best things about feeding your dog crickets is their low impact on the environment. The amount of water and land needed to raise crickets for food is significantly less (750x) than the land and water required to raise cows and chickens –not to mention, crickets emit hardly any greenhouse gases when compared to cows and chickens. 

According to research by Chippin, 1 gallon of water is needed to produce 1 pound of cricket powder, whereas 560 gallons of water are required to produce only 1 pound of chicken (and 2,000 gallons of water for beef)!

Our favorite cricket treats and brands: 

Silver Carp Protein

This high-quality protein is packed with nutrients and tastes delicious –but it’s actually not that well-known for its high protein or the benefits of using it as an ingredient in dog food! Luckily, dog food brand Chippin is paving the way for carp to become the next best protein source for our pups!

Better For Biodiversity

According to Chippin, silver carp is an overpopulated and invasive fish species that have “established massive populations in the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois rivers” after being introduced into the waterways to control algae growth back in the 1970s. Unfortunately, they’ve now “created extreme competition for food sources for native species, destroying biodiversity in these waterways.”

Instead of fishing for endangered species of fish that could harm marine wildlife, fishing for silver carp helps “to restore wildlife biodiversity, protect vulnerable fish populations, and protect the Great Lakes and the communities that depend on them.” (Chippin)

By aiding in the biodiversity of our waterways, choosing carp for your pup is a step towards environmental sustainability –not to mention a happy pup!


Fish, in general, is a pretty healthy protein for dogs, especially those suffering from allergies or those sensitive to chicken or beef. Silver carp is rich in omega fatty acids and a complete protein source –making it a perfect treat for your pup!

Our favorite carp treats and brands: 

Protein is a highly beneficial and necessary ingredient to include in your dog’s diet, so why not choose the more sustainable and environmentally friendly protien-rich dog treats if you have the choice? We know what we’ll be choosing for Dover!

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