Best Alternative Protein Sources for Dogs

Best Alternative Protein Sources for Dogs

Like most pet owners, you are likely interested in ensuring that your dog gets all they need from their dog food and dog treats. Your concerns will be nutrition, savory satisfaction, health and enjoyment. You may be surprised to know that beef, chicken and pork are not the only protein sources available for your canine friend.

Why Alternative Protein Sources for Dogs?

As a dog owner, you may be wondering why is there a need for alternative protein sources for dogs? After all, domesticated dogs have been eating animal protein for decades. Here are the reasons why alternative protein sources are excellent for canine companions.


Environmental Land Impact

The animal protein industry represents a tremendous burden on the environment. Many say that it is unsustainable in the long-term. The World Resource Institute has studied the impact of animal protein on the environment’s resources in depth. Their studies show that, for instance, the production of beef imposes a 20% increase in greenhouse gas emissions over other sources of protein, such as plant protein, per unit. And, 20 times more land resources are required to produce beef. Beef production has a tremendous environmental footprint. A whopping quarter of the earth’s land is currently utilized as pasture for grazing cattle. To put it more clearly into focus, if cattle were counted as a populated nation, it would be #3 behind China and the U.S. in a ranking of the earth’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. Since greenhouse gas is directly connected with global warming, it’s easy to see that animal protein—and beef, specifically—has a huge negative environment impact.

Beef is extremely inefficient to produce, as cattle consume a huge amount of calories and protein in order to produce a relatively small amount of calories and protein

Water Resource Intensive

The water footprint of livestock ranching is astounding. An estimated 1,799 gallons of water is needed to produce one pound of beef. For comparison’s sake, a family of four consumes about four hundred gallons of water, daily. If that same family consumes four hamburgers, that number goes up to about 7,000 gallons of water. When one considers that a dog can easily consume a pound of beef in a day, the idea of alternative protein sources for dogs makes a whole lot of sense. Note that a single pound of pork is not much better, coming in at 576 gallons of water required.

Food Safety Concerns

Traditional proteins like beef have a long history of issues with food safety. The environments where mass beef production takes place are typically crowded and a breeding ground for bacteria. Beef processing plants face a wide range of health issues. This is one main reason why cattle are fed antibiotics; both ranchers and beef protein producers know full well that bacterial infection is a real threat. And it isn’t just human beef that is a concern. In 2022, there have been no less than seven dog food recalls, and the year is only half over. In 2021, there were 17 recalls of dog food due to safety concerns. The FDA has itself named 16 brands of popular dog food that are linked to canine heart disease.  These “grain-free” dog foods are all animal protein-based, which shows once again that alternative protein sources for dogs should be considered.

Jiminys cricket crave dog food is a great alternative protein source for dogs. Insect proteins made from crickets are ideal for dog gut health

Benefits of Insects as Best Alternative Protein Sources For Dogs

One of the great things about insect protein is that it is prebiotic (great for gut health), nutritional and hypoallergenic. Insects are high in protein. They are readily cultivated and harvested using very little land and water resources. They are a naturally-occurring protein source that is available throughout the world.

There are over 2,000 edible insects on the planet. Here in the U.S. we are only just realizing the enormous potential of insects as an alternative protein source, for dogs as well as humans. With so much to be gained from using insects as a protein source for dogs, it makes sense to explore the benefits of two specific kinds:

Cricket Protein For Dogs

Of the 2,000 edible insects, crickets rank high on the list of attractive insect protein sources for canines. Cricket harvesting is  very humane. Crickets are first put into a temperature-induced hibernation state. This happens only after they have reached between 75% and 80% of their natural life. Crickets are a clean protein and a complete protein. They provide all nine essential amino acids required by canines. Gram for gram, crickets offer more protein than beef and other insects. Crickets are antibiotic-free, and cultivated in a healthy, non-crowded and non-chemical environment. Crickets are nutrient-dense. They have more B12, magnesium and iron than beef, and they are a great source of Omega 3s and 6s. Crickets contribute to a healthy gut. The exoskeleton offers prebiotic fiber, which helps keep canines’ digestive systems functioning healthily.

Grub Protein For Dogs

A second great insect protein source for dogs is grubs. Grubs are nutrient-rich, and are, like crickets, a complete protein. This protein source meets AAFCO standards for fatty acids, choline and the B vitamins. Grubs provide a hypoallergenic food source for dogs that is readily digested and supportive of a healthy digestive system.

The concept of ingesting insects for food is largely foreign to the U.S., but in the rest of the world, insect protein is highly valued, even for humans. In fact, over 25% of the world’s population consumes insects. That amounts to roughly 2 billion people. Isn’t it time you considered alternative insect protein for your beloved dog? Shop with us today.