Frequent asked questions (and answers) about insect protein for dogs

1Where does insect protein come from?

Our insect protein comes from the larvae of the Hermetia illucens specie (black soldier fly) or the Tenebrio molitor specie (meal worm). They grow up in insect farms just like other consumption animals (except that they need a tiny fraction of the water, food and space used by any other livestock, and virtually emit no greenhouse gases compare to them).

Each of those little guys is like a downsized transformation factory: their body can turn any average plant-based food into a high-quality concentrate of protein, vitamins and minerals. After only 2 weeks, eggs have become ready-to-be- transformed larvae with very high nutritional properties (similar or higher from those from meat). Like any other meat, Hermetia illucens’ larvae or Tenebrio molitor are used in delicious pet foods and treats.

2Why insect protein is the perfect meat alternative, for dogs, in the XXI century?

We answers with 3 words: Nutritious - Sustainable - Ethical

Insects are increadibly nutritious. Even more nutritious than meat. For the same volume, our insects have more protein (with all 20 amino acids), more iron, more calcium than meat. They are rich in minerals and vitamins, among them vitamin B12, a vitamin that is not found in vegetals, only in meat, fish, milk and eggs. They are highly digestible and free from antibiotics, growing hormones or GMOs.

Insect protein is one of the most sustainable and ecological protein. For the same edible volume, insect farming requires a tiny fraction of water, food, space and time compare to what is needed for livestock farming. It produces almost no greenhouse gas and 100 % of the animal is edible. And what is left (insect frass) is used as fertilizer.

Insect grows in conditions that mimic their normal environment and ways of living. Being millions of them together is what they like! Insect farming implies no animal suffering.

With insect protein, you participate together with your dog to reduce meat consumption, overuse of ressoures and pollution!

3Will my dog like a food made with insect protein instead of meat protein?

Of course! Our insects have a meaty flavor with a nutty tone and are delicious for carnivores like dogs. We also choose all our other ingredients not just because they of their high nutritional quality, but also for their great taste : sweet potatoes, wild berries, oils like sunflower or lin oil, bananas, amaranth…

In our training treats, we also use a little bit of insect fat. It’s rich in essential fatty acids and dogs like it so much, that it makes each bite completely irresistible for them. What a yummy way to treat your best friend!

4Why insects are a good choice for dogs with food allergies or digestive sensibilities?

The most commun type of food sensitivity among dogs is food allergy. It means that a dog is allergic to one or more components of its diet. Symptoms are almost exclusively skin-related (itching and scratching, loss of hair, otitis, skin infection). In 80% of the allergies, at least one type of meat protein is involved (often what is found in the regular diet : beef, poultry, pork, lamb, sometimes fish). For those cases, insect protein is an excellent choice, because it is a protein that the body has never met before. Therefore it doesn’t react to it.

But insects are also a highly digestible source of protein and nutrients. Eat Small has given its dry food WALD to 50 families with dogs, so it could be tested during 7 days. 99% of the owners said that their dog’s poop was well-formed and regular during the test. Some people even said that it was smelling much better than with a meat diet!!!

5Can my dog be allergic to insect?

Yes, it is possible but unlikely. If your dog have a known allergy against crustaceans like shrimps or lobsters (very unlikely) or to fleas or body/ear mites, he can also be allergic to the insect in its food. In these allergies, the allergen is most likely the chitin, an insoluble fiber found within the shell of crustaceans, but also in the exosqueleton of insects or body mites. Cross-reactions between these different allergies don’t occur systematically but it is important to be aware of it.

Another possibility would be that, just like for meat, the immune system of a very sensitive dog eventually sensibilizes to insect protein.

6Is food with insect protein considered as a vegetarien or vegan diet?

No. This because insects are living animals. Nevertheless people use more and more the word entomo-veganism if they don’t eat other animal products than insects (entomo from ancient Greek entoma: insect)

There are three main reasons why people adopt a vegetarian or a vegan diet:

  • Love for animals (livestock farming often implies a lot of animal suffering or questionable practices on an ethical point of view)
  • Environmental reasons (livestock farming is among the top 5 polluting industries)
  • Health reasons (meat or animal by-products are involved in many modern health problems)

Insects are more, or as nutritious as meat. However their farming and consumption don’t involve the negatives points related with meat farming and consumption.

For this reason a diet without meat, but including insects, is often compared with a vegetarien or vegan diet.

7Eat Small’s treats are «cold pressed». What does it mean?

Our 3 lines of training treats (ENERGY, MINDFULNESS and SPIRIT) are cold pressed. It means that the natural ingredients we use to make them have been cooked and pressed together very quickly, at a low temperature (30 degres celcius) compare to what is used to make regular dry food.

This technique preserves the great flavor and the nutritional qualities of our ingredients: Hermetia illucens protein and fat (sooo yummy for dogs), sweet potatoes, brewer’s yeast, rosemary (natural antioxidant) and… the special super food chosen for each line: goji berries, chia & bananas or spirulina. With the cold pressed process, it is almost as if your dog was eating those nutritious and delicious ingredients fresh!!

It was important for us to create treats that would really be enjoyed by dogs. We offer them an intense flavor, while being 100% natural: no additives nor preserving agents.

8It’s been said that insects are disappearing from nature. Do we accelerate this process by using them as food for our pets?
Don’t worry!! Eat Small doesn’t use insects caught from nature. First, not all insect species are edible and second, it would not be allowed for obvious reasons of hygiene, traceability or product quality control. Our food and treats are all made with delicious insect protein that comes from certified insect farms. They meet all European standards of production and hygiene and are 100% free of GMOs, hormones and antibiotics.
9Why is the dog food Eat Small’s WALD intended for active dogs?

Actually, every dog with any activity level can enjoy WALD (read the feeding recommendations).

But WALD is especially good for active dogs, because we have included a high content of insect protein: 30% of Hermetia illucens, which is pure insect power! Also our recipe includes sweet potatoes, a highly digestible source of carbohydrates - to quickly provide the required energy when needed - and amaranth, a delicious source of soluble fibers. Finally our fat level reaches 15%, insuring to sporty and working dogs a continuous energy supply during physical activity.

10For which dogs was Eat Small’s Urban Nature food designed?

We named our exquisite food Urban Nature thinking of dogs that have a city lifestyle. This typical urban dog would most likely live in an apartment and would not necessarily have a garden behind the house to run and play freely. It goes out for walks with its owners and enjoys the green spaces of the city: parks, public gardens, dog parks. He joins his masters for the errands in the neighborhood and waits for them at the shop doors or under the table when they have a drink at a terrace. These dogs have a normal or sometimes low level of activity.

That's why we used less insect content in the Urban Nature recipe than in WALD's formula for active dogs. Urban contains 20% mealworms compared to 30% Hermetia illucens for WALD. The other ingredients are all highly digestible: golden millet, lentils and oat, rich in prebiotics. They ensure a balanced energy intake for a modern urban lifestyle.

11Will Eat Small have a food line for cats?

Yes!Cat food is definitely on our agenda,but it will have to wait a little more.

As many cat owners know, our feline friends have very specific needs for food nutrients and especially protein. Insects are an exceptional source of protein, but for different reasons, the two insect species we work with (Hermetia illucens and Tenebrio molitor) are not the preferred choice for cats.We want to find the perfect insect specie for cats to develop the tastiest, most nutritious food..

12Should a healthy dog, who doesn't suffer from food allergies, be fed on a diet based on insect protein?

Veterinarians say that we shouldn’t give an insect-based food to a healthy dog, to keep it as a possible option for if the dog develops a food allergy in his life. What do we think of this?

The majority of food allergies among dogs are directed against meat proteins. The interest of veterinarians in insect-based food is of course for its potential to be used as an elimination diet for dogs suffering from food allergies.

If an allergy is suspected, the idea is to give a protein that the dog has never eaten in the past in order to: Step 1: diagnose the allergy (new protein => the body no longer recognizes the allergen => symptom resolution = diagnosis) Step 2: keep the dog symptom-free in the long term.

If the dog has eaten different types of meat in the past (e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, pork), these can no longer be used to diagnose an allergy because the body has already been in contact with them. If the symptoms don’t get better with the test, the veterinarian wouldn’t know if it is a false-negative or if the dog has another problem than allergy. With a dog that has already eaten several types of meat, veterinarians must sometimes work with exotic meats (ex: kangaroo) to either make a diagnosis and even to maintain the dog symptom-free afterwards.

Insects are in this sense an interesting source of protein for dogs who have eaten all kind of meats or that are allergic to everything, because the molecular structure of insect DNA is very different from that of mammals. This is why veterinarians prefer to keep insects as a source of protein of last resort for these more problematic dogs.

However, insects also have many other qualities and one very important one is the fact that compared to meat, they are much more environmentally friendly to farm. If we compare the same edible volume (meat and insect), insect production requires almost no food, no water or space and emits virtually no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere compared to meat production. They are therefore a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of high quality protein in a global context where ways must be found to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The meat production industry is one of the major causes of global warming and 20% of the world's meat production is used to make pet food.

We believe that the ecological potential of insects is too important to keep them exclusively to feed allergic dogs. They should be given to as many dogs as possible to help reduce global meat consumption. And if a dog that has eaten insect-based food become allergic to insects, he can switch to a food with meat. He will get the same benefits as a dog allergic to meat who eats insect to control his meat allergy.

Frequent asked questions (and answers) about insect protein for dogs

1Where does insect protein come from?

Our insect protein comes from the larvae of the Hermetia illucens specie (black soldier fly) or the Tenebrio molitor specie (meal worm). They grow up in insect farms just like other consumption animals (except that they need a tiny fraction of the water, food and space used by any other livestock, and virtually emit no greenhouse gases compare to them).

Each of those little guys is like a downsized transformation factory: their body can turn any average plant-based food into a high-quality concentrate of protein, vitamins and minerals. After only 2 weeks, eggs have become ready-to-be- transformed larvae with very high nutritional properties (similar or higher from those from meat). Like any other meat, Hermetia illucens’ larvae or Tenebrio molitor are used in delicious pet foods and treats.

2Why insect protein is the perfect meat alternative, for dogs, in the XXI century?

We answers with 3 words: Nutritious - Sustainable - Ethical

Insects are increadibly nutritious. Even more nutritious than meat. For the same volume, our insects have more protein (with all 20 amino acids), more iron, more calcium than meat. They are rich in minerals and vitamins, among them vitamin B12, a vitamin that is not found in vegetals, only in meat, fish, milk and eggs. They are highly digestible and free from antibiotics, growing hormones or GMOs.

Insect protein is one of the most sustainable and ecological protein. For the same edible volume, insect farming requires a tiny fraction of water, food, space and time compare to what is needed for livestock farming. It produces almost no greenhouse gas and 100 % of the animal is edible. And what is left (insect frass) is used as fertilizer.

Insect grows in conditions that mimic their normal environment and ways of living. Being millions of them together is what they like! Insect farming implies no animal suffering.

With insect protein, you participate together with your dog to reduce meat consumption, overuse of ressoures and pollution!

3Will my dog like a food made with insect protein instead of meat protein?

Of course! Our insects have a meaty flavor with a nutty tone and are delicious for carnivores like dogs. We also choose all our other ingredients not just because they of their high nutritional quality, but also for their great taste : sweet potatoes, wild berries, oils like sunflower or lin oil, bananas, amaranth…

In our training treats, we also use a little bit of insect fat. It’s rich in essential fatty acids and dogs like it so much, that it makes each bite completely irresistible for them. What a yummy way to treat your best friend!

4Why insects are a good choice for dogs with food allergies or digestive sensibilities?

The most commun type of food sensitivity among dogs is food allergy. It means that a dog is allergic to one or more components of its diet. Symptoms are almost exclusively skin-related (itching and scratching, loss of hair, otitis, skin infection). In 80% of the allergies, at least one type of meat protein is involved (often what is found in the regular diet : beef, poultry, pork, lamb, sometimes fish). For those cases, insect protein is an excellent choice, because it is a protein that the body has never met before. Therefore it doesn’t react to it.

But insects are also a highly digestible source of protein and nutrients. Eat Small has given its dry food WALD to 50 families with dogs, so it could be tested during 7 days. 99% of the owners said that their dog’s poop was well-formed and regular during the test. Some people even said that it was smelling much better than with a meat diet!!!

5Can my dog be allergic to insect?

Yes, it is possible but unlikely. If your dog have a known allergy against crustaceans like shrimps or lobsters (very unlikely) or to fleas or body/ear mites, he can also be allergic to the insect in its food. In these allergies, the allergen is most likely the chitin, an insoluble fiber found within the shell of crustaceans, but also in the exosqueleton of insects or body mites. Cross-reactions between these different allergies don’t occur systematically but it is important to be aware of it.

Another possibility would be that, just like for meat, the immune system of a very sensitive dog eventually sensibilizes to insect protein.

6Is food with insect protein considered as a vegetarien or vegan diet?

No. This because insects are living animals. Nevertheless people use more and more the word entomo-veganism if they don’t eat other animal products than insects (entomo from ancient Greek entoma: insect)

There are three main reasons why people adopt a vegetarian or a vegan diet:

  • Love for animals (livestock farming often implies a lot of animal suffering or questionable practices on an ethical point of view)
  • Environmental reasons (livestock farming is among the top 5 polluting industries)
  • Health reasons (meat or animal by-products are involved in many modern health problems)

Insects are more, or as nutritious as meat. However their farming and consumption don’t involve the negatives points related with meat farming and consumption.

For this reason a diet without meat, but including insects, is often compared with a vegetarien or vegan diet.

7Eat Small’s treats are «cold pressed». What does it mean?

Our 3 lines of training treats (ENERGY, MINDFULNESS and SPIRIT) are cold pressed. It means that the natural ingredients we use to make them have been cooked and pressed together very quickly, at a low temperature (30 degres celcius) compare to what is used to make regular dry food.

This technique preserves the great flavor and the nutritional qualities of our ingredients: Hermetia illucens protein and fat (sooo yummy for dogs), sweet potatoes, brewer’s yeast, rosemary (natural antioxidant) and… the special super food chosen for each line: goji berries, chia & bananas or spirulina. With the cold pressed process, it is almost as if your dog was eating those nutritious and delicious ingredients fresh!!

It was important for us to create treats that would really be enjoyed by dogs. We offer them an intense flavor, while being 100% natural: no additives nor preserving agents.

8It’s been said that insects are disappearing from nature. Do we accelerate this process by using them as food for our pets?
Don’t worry!! Eat Small doesn’t use insects caught from nature. First, not all insect species are edible and second, it would not be allowed for obvious reasons of hygiene, traceability or product quality control. Our food and treats are all made with delicious insect protein that comes from certified insect farms. They meet all European standards of production and hygiene and are 100% free of GMOs, hormones and antibiotics.
9Why is the dog food Eat Small’s WALD intended for active dogs?

Actually, every dog with any activity level can enjoy WALD (read the feeding recommendations).

But WALD is especially good for active dogs, because we have included a high content of insect protein: 30% of Hermetia illucens, which is pure insect power! Also our recipe includes sweet potatoes, a highly digestible source of carbohydrates - to quickly provide the required energy when needed - and amaranth, a delicious source of soluble fibers. Finally our fat level reaches 15%, insuring to sporty and working dogs a continuous energy supply during physical activity.

10For which dogs was Eat Small’s Urban Nature food designed?

We named our exquisite food Urban Nature thinking of dogs that have a city lifestyle. This typical urban dog would most likely live in an apartment and would not necessarily have a garden behind the house to run and play freely. It goes out for walks with its owners and enjoys the green spaces of the city: parks, public gardens, dog parks. He joins his masters for the errands in the neighborhood and waits for them at the shop doors or under the table when they have a drink at a terrace. These dogs have a normal or sometimes low level of activity.

That's why we used less insect content in the Urban Nature recipe than in WALD's formula for active dogs. Urban contains 20% mealworms compared to 30% Hermetia illucens for WALD. The other ingredients are all highly digestible: golden millet, lentils and oat, rich in prebiotics. They ensure a balanced energy intake for a modern urban lifestyle.

11Will Eat Small have a food line for cats?

Yes!Cat food is definitely on our agenda,but it will have to wait a little more.

As many cat owners know, our feline friends have very specific needs for food nutrients and especially protein. Insects are an exceptional source of protein, but for different reasons, the two insect species we work with (Hermetia illucens and Tenebrio molitor) are not the preferred choice for cats.We want to find the perfect insect specie for cats to develop the tastiest, most nutritious food..

12Should a healthy dog, who doesn't suffer from food allergies, be fed on a diet based on insect protein?

Veterinarians say that we shouldn’t give an insect-based food to a healthy dog, to keep it as a possible option for if the dog develops a food allergy in his life. What do we think of this?

The majority of food allergies among dogs are directed against meat proteins. The interest of veterinarians in insect-based food is of course for its potential to be used as an elimination diet for dogs suffering from food allergies.

If an allergy is suspected, the idea is to give a protein that the dog has never eaten in the past in order to: Step 1: diagnose the allergy (new protein => the body no longer recognizes the allergen => symptom resolution = diagnosis) Step 2: keep the dog symptom-free in the long term.

If the dog has eaten different types of meat in the past (e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, pork), these can no longer be used to diagnose an allergy because the body has already been in contact with them. If the symptoms don’t get better with the test, the veterinarian wouldn’t know if it is a false-negative or if the dog has another problem than allergy. With a dog that has already eaten several types of meat, veterinarians must sometimes work with exotic meats (ex: kangaroo) to either make a diagnosis and even to maintain the dog symptom-free afterwards.

Insects are in this sense an interesting source of protein for dogs who have eaten all kind of meats or that are allergic to everything, because the molecular structure of insect DNA is very different from that of mammals. This is why veterinarians prefer to keep insects as a source of protein of last resort for these more problematic dogs.

However, insects also have many other qualities and one very important one is the fact that compared to meat, they are much more environmentally friendly to farm. If we compare the same edible volume (meat and insect), insect production requires almost no food, no water or space and emits virtually no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere compared to meat production. They are therefore a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of high quality protein in a global context where ways must be found to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The meat production industry is one of the major causes of global warming and 20% of the world's meat production is used to make pet food.

We believe that the ecological potential of insects is too important to keep them exclusively to feed allergic dogs. They should be given to as many dogs as possible to help reduce global meat consumption. And if a dog that has eaten insect-based food become allergic to insects, he can switch to a food with meat. He will get the same benefits as a dog allergic to meat who eats insect to control his meat allergy.

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