There are several studies on the use of insect proteins as a component of dog’s diets. Scientists and veterinarians around the world have been researching insects as an ingredient for both pet and human food, and the body of research is growing steadily! Digestibility, bioavailability and applicability for dogs with allergies have been studied, namely. Here are a few of the most cited and relevant studies below:
- Effect of an insect protein-based diet on clinical signs of dogs with cutaneous adverse food reactions (2018, Böhm TMSA, Klinger CJ, Gedon N, Udraite L, Hiltenkamp K, Mueller RS.)
- Protein quality of insects as potential ingredients for dog and cat foods (2014, Guido Bosch, Sheng Zhang, Dennis G. A. B. Oonincx, Wouter H. Hendriks)
- Amino acid content of selected plant, algae and insect species: a search for alternative protein sources for use in pet foods (2014, S. McCusker, P. R. Buff, Z. Yu, A. J. Fascetti)
- Nutritional and sensory quality of edible insects (2016, L. Kouřimskáa, A. Adámkováb)
In terms of long-term consequences, some of the most common problems with diets are due to nutrient deficiencies, or an excess of certain nutrients causing a disease process. Since our food has been formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient requirements for healthy adult dogs, it has the appropriate amounts, and ratios of these nutrients to satisfy these requirements. Additionally, it does not have any nutrients in excess of the upper limit that is recommended for healthy adult dogs. Along with our rigorous manufacturing and testing processes, this significantly reduces the risk of animals developing long term consequences related to the nutrient content.
Next, while there are no long-term studies yet, there are several short-term studies assessing the effect of an insect protein-based diet. Many of these have found the diets to be well tolerated in most animals, with very few developing any adverse issues (in similar frequency as other protein sources). It is likely that most animals will tolerate these diets well, and they may even be beneficial to dogs with allergies to existing animal proteins!
The use of insect protein for dogs is a topic that interests veterinarians, as well as leading animal nutritionist researchers. WH is currently setting up a research protocol with one of the leading veterinary faculties in Canada.
So in conclusion, yes there is a lack of long term knowledge, as nobody has yet fed this food for years under experimental conditions and published the results. However, we take measures to ensure nutritional adequacy, and safe production of the products. The potential long-term risks seem to be few, and similar to that of other animal protein sources. We are committed to feeding safe, sustainable, and quality food to our customers, and are leading the scientific front in developing new knowledge in regards to insect protein for dogs with researchers and veterinarians.