Pet care tips: Cockroaches, fly larvae and crickets – pet food goes vegan via insect protein foods and treats

Sustainably raised cockroaches, fly larvae and crickets will soon become a vital (and seemingly delicious) part of what our pets eat, in a dramatic shift to a vegan diet.

Sustainably raised cockroaches, fly larvae and crickets are set to become a crucial part of what our pets eat, in a dramatic (and seemingly delicious) shift towards the canine and feline equivalent of a vegan diet.

Traditional meat-based diets are giving way to insect protein as more is learned about its health benefits, in the biggest shake-up to what our furry friends have been eating for decades.

Insect-based pet treats have only recently become widely available in Australia, with meals or dry food expected to follow by the end of the year, according to the US and UK. United.

“We are seeing interest in insect-based treats growing among pet parents in Australia looking for organic and more sustainable alternative food options,” said Chief Veterinarian Dr Teagan Lever. at Pet Circle.

“Early studies suggest that insects such as crickets, cockroaches and fly larvae have similar protein content to ingredients commonly used in pet foods like poultry meal and fishmeal.

“Because of their efficient use of food and small footprint, insects could be a more sustainable source of protein in pet food than meat and fish. Alternative protein sources such as chicken feathers are already used in some commercial pet foods, and provided the diet is complete and balanced, insect protein could be used in the same way.

According to research from the RSPCA, Future Market Insights and Animal Medicines Australia, our pet industry is worth over $31 billion a year. Food costs account for a third of that figure, with insect products expected to contain 7% by the end of the year and increase by 10% year-on-year over the next decade. .

Golden Retriever Archie is a puppy whose owner Erin Adams is very conscious of what he eats.

“We are learning more and more about how to help our pets live long and healthy lives and, just like us, what they eat plays a huge role in that,” Ms Adams said.

“We’re not feeding Archie all or nothing, he gets a bit of everything, and insect protein is a smart choice not only for him but also for the environment.”

Dog food brand ONE (with everything) is one of the first Australian pet companies to produce insects, with its Black Soldier Fly Larvae protein made in Melbourne. Founder Martin Pike said owners align their pet’s diet with their own.

“With the megatrend of pet health and longevity, we have seen that Australian families increasingly want to provide their pets with only naturally delicious and highly nutritious snacks,” he said. declared.

“Insect proteins provide precisely that – providing more digestible nutrients than many meat-based proteins.”

However, this revolution in pet nutrition comes with a warning.

“Owners of dogs and cats should not give their pets ready-to-use insect products for other animals, such as food for reptiles and birds or bait for fish, because they are not complete and balanced and may also contain ingredients that are unsafe for dogs and cats,” Dr. Lever said.

ANIMAL OWNERSHIP STATISTICS

It is estimated that there are around 31 million pets in Australia.

Around 70% of Australian households own a pet, with dogs (around 42% of households) being the most popular, followed by cats in around 27% of households.

Dog ownership has exploded since 2019, with over a million more dogs in Australian households, bringing the total number of dogs in the country to around six and a half million, in addition to over four million cats, more of 6 million birds and about 12 million fish.

Our pet industry is worth over $31 billion a year. Food costs account for a third of that figure, with insect products expected to contain 7% by the end of the year and increase by 10% year-on-year over the next decade. .

On average, pet owners spend $3,200 a year per dog and $2,100 per cat, mostly on food, veterinary services, and health care.

*Source RSPCA and Animal Medicines Australia

Learn more about insect protein for your pet

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Marie R. McCraw