Green Crunch
Fly Larvae

We applaud all the new companies looking at alternative protein sources to feed our production animals and our pets. We have chosen not to include insect-based dog food diets in our list of sustainable foods that we recommend for dogs, for the reasons listed below:

Are Insect-Based Diets Hypoallergenic?

For dogs needing an animal protein free diet, the only one that is truly free of all animal proteins, is a vegan dog food diet. Yora insect-based dog food lists chondroitin as one of its ingredients which is sourced primarily from avian cartilage.

That is why dogs with an intolerance to chicken protein (a common intolerance in dogs advised to eat chicken and rice when their intestines are at their most inflammatory); will react to Yora due to the presence of the chondroitin.

Dogs with the most common allergen that we see – an allergy to house dust mites, have shown to react to the chitin in dog food that uses insect-based foods.

Are Insect-Based Diets Truly Palatable?

When we think of the smell of fly larvae, think of what maggots in your bin on a very hot summer’s day smell like…..then yes, the palatability for dogs is good as dogs are drawn to strong smells (even if we find them very offensive!)

It is the owner that has to choose the food however and keep the food in their pockets on walks and this is where plant-based foods with their distinctive herby smells of basil and oregano really top the popularity for owners!

What of the safety of Insect-based vs Plant-based dog foods?

When considering what the fly larvae used in insect-based foods are fed which is not going to be freshly sourced vegetable matter, but rather the waste matter to make it a cost-effective way to produce the insect protein; these waste materials come with the added concerns of mycotoxins and bacteria.

All insect-based protein used in pet food has to undergo stringent ‘detoxification’ prior to being added to the food to ensure that there are no toxicities to dogs and cats that come especially from mycotoxins. These are not present in plant-based foods sourced from fresh ingredients.

 

Which is more sustainable – insect-based or plant-based pet food?

It was while attending the Glasgow Small Animal Pet Food Symposium in March 2024, that the true cost of insect-based protein was made clear.

Entocycle (now listed on the stock exchange) attended the Symposium to talk about insect-based pet proteins after Sustainable Pet Food Association and raw vet . They are one of the biggest producers of fly larvae protein for the pet food market. What a surprise after they showed us the dangers of the use of meat in pet food accounting for so much global biodiversity loss due to intensive farming….but went on to tell us that the fly larvae intensively farmed by them for their protein, were fed from palm kernels from the palm oil industry!

Just as the use of animal byproducts in pet food encourages the production of more animals to be intensively farmed as a price is put onto every part of the animal; so too will the use of palm kernels encourage yet more extensive palm oil production and even further dangerous biodiversity loss.

 

What is more cost-effective – Insect Protein or Plant Protein Dog Food?

Considering that the insect-based protein has to undergo ‘purification’ of all bacteria and mycotoxins, as well as be processed to ensure not just safety for pets but also palatability, there is a vast difference in price.

We have chosen raw food company Wilsons based in Scotland as an example fo this price disparity. In 2022, they launched a cold-pressed vegan dog food at the same time as launching a cold-pressed insect-based dog food.

Both foods have almost identical nutritional value as shown from their website, so dogs would be receiving the same nutrients from both foods, but at a cost if choosing insect protein as shown below –

Wilsons insect-based dog food

2755 kcal/kg  Analytical Constituents:

Crude protein 26%, crude fat 12%, crude fibre 5.7%, raw ash 8%, moisture 12%, calcium 1.4%, phosphorus 0.9%.

Wilsons vegan dog food

3234 kcal/kg Analytical Constituents:

Crude protein 25%, crude fat 10%, crude fibre 2.8%, raw ash 7.7%, calcium 1.2%, phosphorus 0.74%.

BVA Review of Vegan Dog Food

BVA Review of Vegan Dog Food

It has been over a year since the BVA said it was launching a review about vegan dog food in light of all the positive health benefit studies that have been published over the last 2 years

Who is MARS Petcare?

Who is MARS Petcare?

How did they go from producing Snickers, Mars, Bounty bars, Pedigree, Royal Canin and Whiskas to be the fourth largest privately held company in the US?

The Great Protein Debate – Beef or Beans?

The Great Protein Debate – Beef or Beans?

Dr Sue Paterson, RCVS President and Senior Vice President of the European Society of Veterinary Dermatologists interviews Dr Arielle Griffiths about Sustainable Pet Foods

Plant Ingredients in Dog Food

Plant Ingredients in Dog Food

An enormously positive article about the use of plant-based proteins in pet food written by PhD Veterinary Scientist Jelena Suran in February 2024

Hills Pet Food Vets Sued

Hills Pet Food Vets Sued

Colgate-Palmolive’s Hill’s pet food unit has been hit with a proposed class-action accusing it of conspiring with vets to disparage grain free and plant-based diets