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Is Insect Dog Food Healthy? A Guide to Novel Protein in Pet Diets

Published date: 19 June 2024

At first glance, insect pet food might seem like a strange concept. After all, do our furry friends really want to eat bugs and grubs?

Well, most owners have likely already spotted their cat or dog chasing down and munching on a fly, moth or sometimes unfortunately a bee. It is natural for our pets to eat insect protein, their wild ancestors most certainly did and continue to munch on many different insect species.

Insect protein is becoming more common in pet food so here is all you need to know about this fabulous novel protein source.

What Insects are used in pet food?

Our flagship insect brand Yora was launched in 2018, and since then the pet food world has exploded with other insect brands.

The quality and type of insect used hugely varies across the industry. Several different insects and terminologies can be found in pet food.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL)

This is the most digestible and protein-rich form of insect meat, and they have the optimum calcium: phosphorus ratio. Using a combination of Fresh Whole Grub and Dried Insects provides our furry friends with a delicious and nutritious dinner.


Dried yellow mealworms are found in many pet foods. They are very digestible but don’t have as great an amino acid profile as BSFL. Mealworms also don't have the best calcium:phosphorus balance.


These are digestible and have a fairly good level of protein. Crickets do lack some of the minerals found in BSFL.

Unnamed Insect

Much like unnamed meat ingredients (dried poultry, meat and animal derivatives) the quality of unnamed insects is going to be hugely variable.

Alongside the insect quality being vastly different across the industry, it is also important to pay attention to the other ingredients used in insect pet food brands. Remember the best insect diets will also contain a balance of digestible carbohydrates, healthy oils, prebiotic fibres and joint care supplements.

Can both Dogs and Cats eat insect diets?

Insects form a part of both dogs’ and cats’ natural wild diets. Wolves and wild cat species have been seen predating upon many different insect species. However, insects aren’t just part of wild animal diets. Did you know around one-third of the global human population consumes insects?

Of course, we wouldn’t advise gnawing your dog’s Yora Insect Dental Stick. However, it is important to keep in mind that insects, despite not culturally being consumed in the UK are a huge important source of protein worldwide. The benefits they provide humans’ daily diets are certainly seen in our dogs and cats’ health.

What are the benefits of using insects?

Many dogs and cats will benefit greatly from using an insect diet. The right diet can improve the health of your furry best friend and be especially beneficial to allergy sufferers.

So, what makes insect protein so fantastic for pet health?

• Insects are a novel source of protein- our pets are exposed to chicken, beef and lamb in so many foods, treats and even medications. Insect protein is rarely used across the industry so very unlikely to trigger an immune reaction. An ideal protein source for allergic pets or those that are more sensitive.

• Insects support brain health- black soldier fly larvae contain lauric acid. This is a natural fatty acid that is also found in coconut oil. This has been found to improve cognition in older dogs and promote healthy skin and coat.

• Insects support joint health- Black soldier fly larvae naturally contain glucosamine. This is a joint-supportive compound that aids in rebuilding damaged cartilage. Think of this as the glue that sticks the joint together! Learn more about the importance of joint care.

• Insects promote bowel health- insects are very gentle on the digestive system, resulting in easier processing and much better-quality stools. Insects also have some anti-microbial properties which will promote healthy gut flora and reduce bad bacteria.

Insects are a healthy and nutritionally balanced choice for our dogs and cats. They are especially great for sensitive animals, pets with allergies and of course environmentally conscious owners. Insects are much better for the planet than traditional meat sources, so if you are looking to be more ethical in your choices, Yora is the brand for you. 


Written by Lucy Marcham

Lucy teaches all aspects of the Pets Corner curriculum and specialises in animal nutrition, ensuring that our staff have the right knowledge and understanding of pet diets to assist customers with confidence and care.