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Can dogs eat insect protein?

Can dogs eat insect protein?

Cecilie Hemsen Berg

In the quest for sustainable, hypoallergenic, and nutritionally rich protein sources for our dogs, insect protein has emerged as a front-runner. The black soldier fly larvae, a primary ingredient in Nala Health’s dog food isn’t just another protein source; it’s a superfood. Packed with all 10 essential amino acids that dogs require, this protein powerhouse also boasts beneficial fats, fibre, and essential minerals. Dive in as we explore the multifaceted benefits of insect protein and its transformative role in canine nutrition.

“Black soldierfly larvae are the perfect source of protein for dogs as they contain all the 10 essential amino acids dogs require as well as healthy fats, fiber and minerals”.

Animal nutritionist Andreas Durand
Insect protein for dogs

Benefits of insect protein for dogs

In addition to being sustainable, BSFL is an excellent source of important nutrients. BSFL contains, among other things:

  • Complete protein, i.e. all 10 amino acids dogs need.
  • More zinc and iron than lean meat.
  • More calcium than milk.
  • Good fatty acids.
  • Dietary fibre for maintaining digestive health.

Furthermore, as a unique protein source, our insect-based dog food proves especially advantageous for dogs strugling with food allergies or sensitivities.

Is insect protein suitable for dogs?

Dog food must contain complete protein, meaning it should encompass all 10 essential amino acids. Nala Health, in its dog food formulation, relies on Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) as a rich source of complete, high-quality protein. Notably, BSFL offers ease of digestion and a protein profile comparable to that of fish.

The important consideration when crafting dog food lies in achieving a harmonious balance of ingredients that are both complete and of superior quality. This balance ensures that the nutrients are readily absorbed in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, guaranteeing bioavailability and providing your dog with the comprehensive nourishment it requires for optimal well-being. All constituents of the formula should originate from pristine sources, free from pesticides, GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, and similar contaminants.

Insect protein for dogs

Sustainable, traceable and clean protein

Meat production is responsible for approximately 60% of global CO2 emissions, while marine protein sources exert environmental strain through overfishing and unethical fishing practices. Insect protein offers a compelling solution for a complete, easily digestible, delectable, and sustainable protein source, benefiting both our canine companions and ourselves.

Compared to traditional livestock, Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) require significantly less land and water. Insects are also incredibly efficient in converting their food into protein and essential nutrients. Moreover, BSFL emits substantially lower greenhouse gasses, particularly when compared to cattle.

You are what you eat: Nala Health’s BSFL thrives on clean plant waste sourced from local beer production, ensuring consistent quality in our protein. Our BSFL is produced in EU-approved facilities and is completely traceable. Growth hormone and antibiotics are also not needed, resulting in a cleaner end product. Among the 20 amino acids in existence, 10 are considered essential for dogs, necessitating their inclusion in their diet. These vital amino acids include:

  1. Arginine
  2. Histidine
  3. Isoleucine
  4. Leucine
  5. Lysine
  6. Methionine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Threonine
  9. Tryptophan
  10. Valine

Though not essential, some premium dog food brands often supplement their products with the amino acids Taurine and L-Carnitine. These are crucial for heart health and normal fat metabolism. Nala Health takes pride in including not only these two essential amino acids but also the complete roster of 10 essential amino acids, ensuring comprehensive nutrition for your beloved dog.

Nala Health dog food

Insects globally

Approximately 2 billion people use edible insects as part of their daily diet (entomophagy). Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) are currently among the most popular commercial insect-based sources of protein for both dogs and humans. Mealworms and crickets are also used. All in all there are about 1900 edible insects in the world.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has said that using insects in our diet will both improve our nutrition and help us towards a more sustainable future. Agriculture is among the greatest contributors to global warming, emitting more greenhouse gases than aeroplanes, cars, trucks and trains combined mainly due to methane released by cattle, nitrous oxide from fertilised fields and CO2 from the cutting of rain forests to grow crops and raise livestock. Agriculture also has a negative impact on biodiversity and wildlife.

Edible insects contain many healthy, high-quality nutrients for your dog, and more and more research shows the different benefits edible insects can have, also for dogs with food allergies and food sensitivity. More products made from insects for dogs and humans are coming on the market, and it is both a positive and an interesting development that we are keeping our eyes on!