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Can dogs eat insect protein?

Can dogs eat insect protein?

Cecilie Hemsen Berg

Insect protein is a hypoallergenic, complete and environmentally-friendly source of protein for our dogs. Black soldier fly larvae, which is the protein used in Nala Health, contain all the 10 essential amino acids dogs need. Additionally, they contain healthy fat, fibre and minerals.

“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.
  • Fiber which is important for gut health.

Being a novel protein, our insect based dog food can be beneficial for dogs with food allergies or -sensitivities.

Is insect protein suitable for dogs?

Protein in dog food must be complete, which means that it contains all 10 essential amino acids. Nala Health uses BSFL in its dog food and this is a complete source of high quality protein. It is also easy to digest, and the amino acid profile can be compared to fish.

The most important thing when formulating dog food is that the sum of all the ingredients is balanced, complete and of high quality. This means that the nutrients are easily absorbed in your dog’s gut (bioavailable) and provide your dog with all the nutrition it needs to thrive. All raw materials should come from clean sources, without the use of pesticides, GMOs, hormones, antibiotics and so on.

Insect protein for dogs

Sustainable, traceable and clean protein

meat production accounts for approximately 60% of CO2 emissions globally. Marine sources of protein also put pressure on the environment with overfishing and unethical fishing methods. Insect protein provides one solution for complete, easy digestible, tasty and sustainable protein for both our dogs and us.

In comparison to other livestock, BSFL needs considerably less land and water. Insects are also more efficient at converting the food they eat into protein and other nutrients. In addition, BSFL emits much less CO2, especially when looking at the CO2 emissions from cattle.

Nala Health‘s BSFL eats clean plant waste from local beer production, resulting in predictable quality. The insects are 100% traceable and the production requires neither the use of growth hormones nor antibiotics.

There are 20 amino acids in total, and 10 of these are essential to our dogs. “Essential amino acids” means that dogs need to get these through their diet. These include:

  • Arginine
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

Some premium dog food brands also add the amino acids Taurine and L-Carnitine as they play an important role in heart health and normal fat metabolism. Nala Health contains these two amino acids as well as the 10 essential amino acids.

Nala Health dog food
Black Soldier Fly Larvae is the main source of protein in 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!