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Are Insect-Based Dog Foods Safe?

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(Picture Credit: Jaromir Chalabala / EyeEm)

Every dog parent wants the best diet for their companion. And in a new age with plenty of research into canine nutrition, it seems like it should be easier than ever.

However, with many trendy dog diets that fall out of style, just like human diet trends, it can be hard to know what’s the best thing for your furry best friend and what’s a fad. New on the scene for curious pet food buyers is an interesting source of protein – insect-based pet foods. But is a dog food made from crickets or larvae safe and healthy for your pet?

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Insect-Based Foods – A New Arrival in Pet Nutrition

There are now several brands of insect-based dog foods on the market – ranging from Jiminy’s cricket-based foods to MindfulMeals’ food comprised mainly of black soldier fly larvae. For some, the variety of insects provided can just make picking a nutritionally complete food more complex.

The main argument in favor of insect-based diets is that they’re more sustainable than meat-based diets. When compared to livestock farming, insect farming requires far less land per gram of protein. Additionally, since insect-based diets are based on unique animal protein sources, they are also considered hypoallergenic. This means that they can be a good option for pets that suffer from food allergies or intolerances. Common allergies for dogs are to proteins like beef or poultry. However, there is some uncertainty regarding insect-based food for pets.

Many experts believe that a raw food diet is more biologically appropriate than an insect-based diet. “While sustainable pet food may not be as biologically appropriate for our pets as the ancestral diet, there is some promise in this type of pet food,” said Dr. Amber L. Drake, Professor of Biological Sciences and Veterinary Medicine. Some believe that while there’s no inherent harm in insect-based diets, pet parents should consider feeding them in conjunction with more traditional protein sources.

The Best Pick for Your Pet

There’s still  much more to learn about insect-based diets. However, as a pet parent you, naturally want to provide the safest and healthiest diet for your dog. Feel uncertain about insect-based foods? Consider trying out dog treats (but not a full diet) made from insects. This way, you can still lessen your environmental impact.

Our knowledge of canine nutrition has evolved over time, and we’ll likely only keep learning more. Many experts recommend rotational diets for dogs – you may not feel like making insect-based dog food your pet’s primary diet, but it could still factor in to healthy feeding habits for your pup.

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