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Insect Pet Food: Transforming Pet Nutrition?

insect pet food article cover image

Insect ingredients add nutritional properties and health benefits to pet foods for dogs and cats

More and more people are bringing dogs and cats home these days. This has caused the need for pet food to skyrocket.

But why the sudden surge in pet ownership?

Well, it's a mix of things like people having more money, smaller families, and people living alone. Plus, urban areas are getting busier, and we're living longer.

All these factors are making pets a bigger part of our lives.

dog with bowl

With more and more pets and people around, traditional pet food sources are starting to look unsustainable

As pet parents, we want what's best for our furry friends. We're always on the lookout for top-quality products to keep them healthy and happy.

However, the demand for pet foods with lots of animal protein is straining the natural resources. With more and more pets and people around, traditional pet food sources are starting to look unsustainable.

This is a real concern, especially when we think about the future.

What is the environmental impact of producing pet foods?

Now, let's talk about why we should be a bit concerned about our pet food choices.

Sure, we all want the best for our dogs, but did you know that the way pet food is manufactured can have a big impact on the environment?

dry kibble

Pet foods made from traditional animal proteins can have a significant environmental impact

Studies show that making traditional pet food, especially the kind with lots of animal protein, isn't so great for the planet.

Conventional pet food production contributes to between 1.1% to 2.9% of all the emissions from agriculture worldwide every year.

Also, making traditional pet food takes up a lot of land and uses enormous amounts of fresh water. Around 41 to 58 million hectares of land and 5 to 11 cubic kilometers of water every year.

Factors that determine the pet food we choose

When we're shopping for pet food, we often think about things like price, convenience, and what's on the label. But it's also important to consider what's actually in the food.

cat on shoulder

More and more pet caregivers are starting to change their traditional pet foods for more sustainable and natural ones

Some ingredients might sound healthy, like 'natural,' but they might not be as good as they seem. And those fancy packaging and ads?

They're designed to catch our eye, just like with human food. So, while grain-free and 'natural' pet foods might sound great, we need to think about whether they're really the best choice for our pets and the planet.

So, what's the deal with insects and pet food?

Turns out, insects are actually a pretty interesting solution to some big problems we're facing.

Insects are like little nutritional powerhouses, packed with protein (25% to 70%), healthy fats (10% to 50%) and antioxidants that pets need.

Not only that, but pet foods with insects help to protect the immune system of dogs and cats and improve their intestinal health.

mealworms in hand

Insects such as mealworms are used in pet food formulations due to their high protein content and many health benefits such as antioxidant effects

Furthermore, insect farming can be better for the planet than traditional farming methods. Compared to raising other animals, insect farming can use way less water and land.

Plus, insects can be fed on organic waste, such as brewers' bagasse, and all types of agricultural by-products.

This means lower substrate costs. Also, their carbon footprint may be smaller than that of other animals. This means less pollution in the air.

Petfoods with insects are here to stay

Now, pet owners are catching on to the idea of using insects in pet food. They're realizing that insects offer a sustainable and nutritious option for their furry friends.

You might start seeing labels like 'natural' or 'grain-free' on these foods, along with added bonuses like antioxidants and probiotics.

cat and dog cuddling

Insect ingredients are posing a new paradigm for the future of the pet food industry

So, whether you're worried about food allergies or just want to do your part for the environment, insects are a smart choice for diversifying protein sources in pet food.

With the trend moving towards natural foods with human-grade ingredients, incorporating insects into pet diets is a win-win for everyone involved.


Bosch, G. and Swanson, K. S. (2020). Effect of using insects as feed on animals: pet dogs and cats. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 7(5), 795 – 805. DOI 10.3920/JIFF2020.0084

Kępińska-Pacelik, J. and Biel, W. (2022). Insects in Pet Food Industry—Hope or Threat? Animals, 12(12), 1515. DOI 10.3390/ani12121515

Valdés, F., Villanueva, V., Durán, E., Campos, F., Avendaño, C., Sánchez, M., Domingoz-Araujo, C. and Valenzuela, C. (2022). Insects as Feed for Companion and Exotic Pets: A Current Trend. Animals, 12(11), 1450. DOI 10.3390/ani12111450


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