1/17/2019 12:00:00 AM
Would you feed your dog food made from insects?
It may not sound very appetising, but new UK company Yora is one of several brands to develop pet food incorporating insect protein.
The company claims to offer the world's "most sustainable" dog food, made from oats, potato, kale, seaweed, chicory and grubs. The insects are fed on food waste in the Netherlands and they reach full size in just 14 days, so there's no need for growth hormones or antibiotics.
Yora says the hypoallergenic kibble is packed with essential protein, fats and minerals and looks just like traditional dog food.
Pets are estimated to eat 20% of the world's meat and fish, and the link between meat production and emissions of CO2 and methane is well established, so finding an alternative food source could be good for the planet.
Compared to farm animals, insects use a fraction of the water and land. They are high in protein, fats, minerals and amino acids.
Yora also claims they are easier to digest than chicken, making the food ideal for pets with sensitive stomachs.
So is an insect-based diet good for your dog?
BBC News asked pet diet expert at the Royal Veterinary College, Aarti Kathrani, who gave a cautious "yes".
"Insects can be a very useful source of protein," she said. "More studies are needed to show how much of these nutrients can actually be absorbed by a dog's body -- but some studies suggest that insects can provide nutrients for dogs."
TV vet Dr Rory Cowlam said the new food "provides a healthy, high protein alternative to conventional kibble".
And Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, told HuffPost UK: "Dogs are versatile omnivores, so as long as the diet meets their nutritional requirements there's no reason why they can't eat an insect protein-based diet."