Do Dogs like Insects? a Palatability Test of Insect-Protein Formulated Dog Food | AIChE

Do Dogs like Insects? a Palatability Test of Insect-Protein Formulated Dog Food


Singam, E., Wondercare Veterinary Klinik
Baskaran, G., Wondercare Veterinary Klinik
Law, Y., Protenga
R, P., Subang Jaya Medical Centre
Meat and fish as protein in dog food has a significant environmental footprint (900m pet dogs globally). Insects, particularly Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSF, Hermetia Illucens ), could be a more sustainable protein alternative. A study at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany (Meyer et al., 2019) demonstrated similarity between digestibility of BSF meal and poultry meal in dogs (83.4% vs 83.1%) and revealed a “positive effect on faecal quality.”

Palatability is another success factor for a new ingredient. We formulated an AAFCO-compliant extruded diet with BSF meal as the only animal protein source (40%, no palatant or oil coating) and compared its palatability to an equivalent formula using fishmeal instead of BSF, a premium and a low-cost commercial diet (“Hill’s Science Diet” and “Idol” Lucky Star Brand). Nine healthy adult dogs were selected, familiarised with all four diets over one week and tested individually for three consecutive feedings in their normal environment. For each session, dogs were offered small amounts of two of the diets (BSF vs each of the three controls), introduced by sniffing and then allowed to choose freely. First bite and finishing order were observed.

Results show clear preference for BSF over fishmeal (75% tried and finished BSF first). Initial attractiveness of Premium was higher (63%), but finishing rate was equivalent (82%). Compared to low-cost, BSF was slightly preferred (52%) and more dogs finished the BSF diet (89% vs 78%). Overall, our results suggest good palatability of insect protein-based diets for dogs.