Like many dogs, Artemis has to work for her treats—as do I. (It’s only fair.) In the new year, it is common for us humans to resolve to eat better, healthier, more mindfully. The climate crisis is driving many of us to eat plant-based, if not vegan (the diet with the least greenhouse emissions, as reported by the New York Times), and growing awareness of the ethical conditions of supply chains is making us reconsider where we source our food. The same concerns are happening with dog treats: We want organic, but we also want ethical. We want sustainable, but we also want local. And of course, we want nutritious, but our dogs also want delicious.
If you have the luxury of living close to a dog bakery that makes their own treats, we recommend supporting your local small business for your dog’s essential treats. But we’re lucky to live in a time where you can find sustainable, ethical, healthy, and delicious dog treats almost anywhere, as long as you have a mailbox. Here are our recommendations for #ArtemisApproved treats that are good for your dog, good for planet Earth, and good value for your money:
Perfect for: long hikes when your dog needs an energy bar made with organic ingredients and in transit, when your dog needs a non-messy, TSA-friendly, international travel-compliant treat that won’t stink up the plane.
Confession: I have tried Hamptons-based Fetching Fields’ line of plant-based treats myself. Each soft treat bar comes individually wrapped, which is perfect for travel, and looks like a Larabar I recently had on a four-hour bus trip that became eight when the first bus broke down. It smells like a Larabar, too, which is not surprising because like the fruit- and nut-based energy bar for humans, the Fetching Fields bars are made from mostly fruit, seeds, and grains. To feed, just break the bar apart in small pieces.
This is a list of ingredients from On Vacay treat bars: “Organic Peanut Butter (Organic Peanuts), Organic Oats, Organic Honey, Organic Tapioca Fiber, Organic Cane Molasses, Organic Banana, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Nutritional Yeast, Organic Pineapple, Organic Strawberry, Organic Flaxseed, Organic Quinoa, Organic Turmeric, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Natural Vitamin E.” I would absolutely eat an energy bar with these ingredients. So, I took a bite out of one that I gave Artemis, and it tastes exactly like a Larabar. If you gave this to me in Larabar packaging, I would happily eat the entire thing.
Currently, Fetching Fields is available in three varieties: Trekking Trails, On Vacay, and Sit, Stay. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how their tastes differ, as I have yet to try the rest of Artemis’ stash.
Perfect for: breaking apart into smaller pieces for high-value training treats, as a hearty afternoon snack, or road trips.
As Artemis (and probably your dog) would tell you, nothing can replace a meat-based treat, and these Wild One dehydrated treats are 100 percent chicken or fish. Unfortunately, much of pet food comes from slave labor. Pet food is one of the fastest growing exports from Thailand, but it comes at very high cost to humanity. “How fast do their pets eat what’s put in front of them, and are there whole meat chunks in that meal?” Giovanni M. Turchini, an environmental professor at Deakin University in Australia asked the New York Times. “These are the factors that pet owners most focus on.” We need to focus on how the food is sourced, too.
Artemis goes wild for these two Wild One treats, and they’re good for your conscience, too. The Fish Puffs are made from Asian carp sourced from American waterways, and they’re full of omega-3s and protein. Despite their rigid texture, they’re easy to break apart into much smaller pieces. The Chicken Tenders are made from non-GMO chicken from Springer Mountain Farms in Georgia, the first poultry farm certified by the American Humane Association (AHA), and they are also easy to break apart without crumbling in your hands.
For domestic travel on planes, these treats (even the Fish Puffs) are relatively scent-free.
Perfect for: gifting all the dogs in your life, dogs with sensitive stomachs, and picky eaters.
When you give a dog a cookie, they’ll ask you for another one. Little L’s is a Bronx-based artisanal meat-based treats company that makes innovative, small-batch products that will please even the most jaded of dog owners. Their grain-free, gluten-free Meat Chip Kookies, made with coconut flour, chickpea flour, broth, and locally-sourced meat chips (very few ingredients and no preservatives!), are the perfect savory gifts for your favorite dog owner. I had no trouble breaking the large, hefty cookie apart and giving Artemis a small piece. I’ve always considered it a tragedy that dogs cannot enjoy chocolate, but I’m pretty sure Artemis doesn’t mind having the Meat Chip Kookie instead.
The Krak’ems are a delightful alternative to meat jerky for your dog. They’re crunchy, made with 100 percent locally-sourced meat, and oven baked in small matches by Little L’s in-house chef. In other words, they’re made with love. If you crumble a crispy piece, they make great toppers for food, too.
And last but not least…
Perfect for: dogs who would eat your potato chips for you, if they could.
This is the perfect dog treat. First, Artemis is obsessed with each crunchy bite of Chippin’s treats, easily breakable into smaller pieces. Next, Chippin treats are made with cricket, which is a sustainable source of protein (and probably helps add that satisfying crunch). Now, if you’re averse to the idea of eating crickets, note that crickets are a healthy and delicious source of protein for many people in the world, and these treats don’t smell or look like, well, whatever you think crushed bug smells or looks like. Finally, Chippin is a female-founded company, and we love to support other female-founded pet care brands at A&A. Now, when I’m eating potato chips or another snack I won’t allow Artemis to have, I give her a Chippin treat. It’s definitely healthier than what I’m snacking on.
Photography by Tayler Smith