My dog Uli turns 10 this month. She’s what you call a silver poodle: When she was born, her fur was pitch black, but at around six months, it turned silvery gray, so she’s always kind of looked like she’s equal parts puppy and old lady. Now that she’s gotten old enough to have earned those grays, I have started paying closer attention to the food and treats that I feed her. My hope is that better nutrition will help her live a longer, happier life. For me, this means opting for raw or minimally processed dog food made with simple, high-quality ingredients. It also means focusing on what she loves to eat, because the more I think about losing her one day, the more I want to spoil her. Surprisingly, what she loves eating most right now are treats made of crickets.
I don’t know if I would have ever bought dog treats made out of crickets. That seems more like something you do for a pet snake than a toy poodle. But when a bag of Jiminy’s cricket treats were sent to the office by a publicist, I decided to bring them home. Uli was immediately smitten — so much so that I’ve bought three more bags in the three months since. With Jiminy’s in front of her, Uli’s priorities shift. Whatever she was doing before, she stops. She’s immediately at attention, barely able to keep her energy in. When I ask her to sit or roll over for any other treat, she does the trick at her normal pace, but the minute she sees (or, more likely, smells) that I am holding a cricket treat, she does a montage of every trick she knows at panicked hyperspeed. These treats are so effective that I’ve been using them to teach her tricks I never would have tried before. (We’re almost at the point where she’ll put her own toys away.)
I was curious what effect the treats would have on other dogs — plus, it’s nice to share the cricket love — so I gave bags of Jiminy’s to two of my Strategist colleagues who also have small dogs at home. Like Uli, my colleagues’ dogs, Oak and Reggie, took to the cricket treats immediately and with surprising intensity. This was especially unexpected for Oak’s mom, associate director of audience development Stephanie Downes, who says he’s typically a chicken-treat purist. Now, she uses Jiminy’s to get him to take his pills, like delicious little Trojan horses.
Cricket treats are higher in protein and more nutrient dense than beef or chicken treats, and they require fewer resources like land, water, and energy to raise (and cause much lower carbon emissions). I am not a vegetarian, but I am wary of how much meat I eat and where it comes from, due to the environmental impact, so it makes me feel good to buy dog treats made from more sustainable ingredients. After buying our second bag, my partner and I were so struck by Uli’s obsession with the treats that we decided to taste one. It’s not something we’d serve to guests, but honestly, they taste like health-food-store beef jerky. And they definitely taste good to Uli, which is the whole point.
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