Insect proteins in pet foods: Is insect protein good for dogs?

Insect proteins in pet foods: Is insect protein good for dogs? - SuperiorCare.Pet

The United Nations predicts that the world's population, currently at 7.6 billion, will increase to 9.8 billion by 2050, leading to a surge in demand for protein. This means that annual farm production of primary proteins must grow from 525 million tons to 790 million tons to meet the demand. The concern about feeding the growing global population has sparked interest among government agencies, scientists, and food producers in alternative protein sources, such as plants and insects.


You may have come across articles on the use of insects in pet food and wonder if it is just a passing trend. However, this is part of a much larger and more complex issue, which we will explore in this article. Our goal is to provide a condensed overview of the current situation and what to expect in the future. One potential solution to the shortage of meat protein is the use of insect protein as an alternative. This is a promising starting point in the quest for alternative protein sources.


You are probably wondering if insect protein is good for dogs and can replace traditional protein sources, such as beef, poultry, or fish. The answer is a resounding yes! Insect protein is a highly nutritious and easily digestible form of protein that provides numerous health benefits to dogs. In this blog, we will discuss the reasons why insect protein is becoming increasingly popular in pet foods and why it is an excellent choice for our furry friends.


The benefits of insect farming

One of the key drivers behind the push for insect protein production is the need for more sustainable protein sources in the future. Producing meat requires a significant amount of land, water, and resources, and is a major source of carbon emissions. As pet food accounts for a quarter of the world's meat production, efforts to find alternative protein sources are increasingly focused on the pet food supply chain.


Compared to traditional livestock farming, insect farming is more efficient, sustainable, and requires less land. Insects have a short time-to-maturity and high reproduction rates, allowing for high yields of protein production. While cattle may have twice as much protein per pound as crickets, cattle require 12 times the amount of feed to produce the same amount of protein. The multipliers for sheep, chicken, and swine are 4, 2, and 2, respectively.


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reports that there are over 20,000 insect farmers globally, and more than 1,900 species of insects have been used as food.


The benefits of insect protein

Environmental sustainability

Insects are an environmentally friendly option as they require less land, water, and food compared to traditional protein sources. They also produce less greenhouse gas emissions and generate less waste than other animal-based protein sources. Although various types of insects are being used for human and animal consumption, the most widely used insect in pet food production globally is Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL). This insect is an excellent complement to traditional meat-based protein sources, making it a valuable ingredient in complete and balanced pet food.


BSFL can consume and absorb food and water from fruits, grains, and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. The environmental benefits of using BSFL in pet food production are significant when compared to chicken. Chicken production requires approximately 13 times more land, 7 times more water, 5.5 times more CO2 emissions, and 1.5 times more energy than Black Soldier Fly Larvae production.


How much protein can be produced per year in one acre?


192 lbs.


265 lbs.


1,500 lbs.


7,700 lbs.


65,000 lbs.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

1,000,000 lbs.


Nutritional benefits

Insects are a rich source of vitamins and minerals that are quickly and easily absorbed by the body. In fact, the body can absorb nutrients from insects faster than it can from beef or wheat. Insects are also high in antioxidants, which play an important role in protecting the body from cell damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, many edible insects are a great source of essential fatty acids, with optimal Omega 3:6 balance. Moreover, the chitin found in the exoskeleton of insects is a prebiotic fiber that serves as a food source for the "good" bacteria in the human or pet intestine, making it a valuable source of nutrition.


When making Nature’s Protection Superior Care food with insect protein, we use dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) meal, which contains B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. BSFL protein is also an excellent source of high-quality, easily digestible protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue, supporting the immune system, and maintaining overall health.


Allergen-free protein

Insect protein is hypoallergenic, making it an excellent option for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities to traditional protein sources like beef, chicken, and pork. Hypoallergenic protein is crucial not only for dogs that have a sensitive digestive system but also when fighting brown tear stains since these stains appear due to food allergy in most cases. That’s why we only use hypoallergenic ingredients in our Nature’s Protection Superior Care dry food and treats, and insect protein is one of them.


Final thoughts

In conclusion, insect protein is a highly nutritious and sustainable form of protein that is an excellent choice for pet food. From environmental sustainability to nutritional benefits, there are numerous reasons why insect protein is becoming an increasingly popular option for pet food manufacturers. If you're looking for a high-quality, allergen-free form of protein for your furry friend, be sure to check our Nature’s Protection Superior Care food which has an insect base. Your dog will thank you for it!


Frequently asked questions

Q: What type of protein is best for dogs?

A: When it comes to selecting the best type of protein for dogs, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as every dog is unique and may have different dietary requirements. Some dogs may have allergies or food sensitivities that require alternative protein sources such as insect protein. Other high-value and hypoallergenic protein sources are fish (white fish, salmon, herring, krill) and lamb. It's always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to determine the best protein sources for your specific dog based on factors such as breed, age, activity level, and any underlying health issues.


Q: What ingredients should you avoid in pet food?

A: There are certain ingredients you should try to avoid:

  1. Artificial preservatives: Some preservatives, such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin, have been linked to health issues in dogs.
  2. Artificial colors and flavors: These ingredients are unnecessary and can be harmful to your pet's health.
  3. Corn, wheat, and soy: These ingredients are common allergens and can also be difficult for some dogs to digest.
  4. Meat by-products: These are low-quality sources of protein and can be difficult to digest for some dogs.
  5. Allergy-causing proteins: beef, pork, chicken, milk and its products, and eggs are the proteins that more likely to cause allergy for sensitive dogs.

 It's important to read the ingredient list on pet food labels and choose products that contain high-quality, whole-food ingredients that are appropriate for your dog's unique nutritional needs.


Q: Is insect-based dog food healthy?

A: Insect-based dog food is a healthy and nutritious option for dogs, as insects are a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Insect-based dog food is typically made with black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, or crickets. These insects are highly digestible and provide a complete amino acid profile, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids that dogs need for optimal health. In addition, insect-based dog food is typically free from common allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy, making it a good choice for dogs with food sensitivities.


Q: Is higher protein dog food better?

A: Not necessarily. The required amount of protein depends on the individual dog‘s needs because protein is an essential nutrient for dogs and is necessary for building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and maintaining a healthy immune system. Dogs have different protein requirements depending on their age, breed, activity level, and overall health. For example, puppies, pregnant and highly active dogs may require more protein to support their growth and energy needs, while older, senior, or less active dogs may require less. Additionally, too much protein for dogs can be harmful, because it can place excessive stress on the kidneys and liver, which are responsible for filtering and eliminating waste products from the body.



Breeding dogs for more than 35 years brought me to my mission – to understand and create the best products for pets. I’m ready to share my long-tested and thoroughly created pet care system with you!


                                                                                            - Janita J. Plunge


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