Research Discovers Nutritional Benefit For Dog Dental Health In Black Soldier Fly

Mar 24, 2024

When it comes to pet care in the pet industry, innovation often comes from some unexpected sources. That may be a great thing, though, as recent research from the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed suggests that using insects,  specifically black soldier fly ingredients, in dog food could help improve their dental health. It’s a compelling case when you factor in how doing so could also make a big dent in helping protect the environment.

Dental issues in dogs are all too common, affecting about 80% of them by the time they turn three years old. Science continues to discover the connection between dental health and overall well-being is strong, and that drives the search for solutions that help both dental health in dogs as well as their overall health better.It turns out that Insects, with their lower environmental footprint and nutritional benefits, offer an intriguing solution.

Insects For Dog Nutrition: Sustainable Nutrient Sources?

The pet food and treat industry has increasingly embraced insect-based ingredients as part of a broader shift toward sustainability and environmental stewardship. Insects like crickets and the black soldier fly (BSF) are gaining popularity not just for their nutritional benefits but also for their minimal environmental impact as well. More pet product manufacturers (and pet parents) have become more aware of the environmental costs associated with traditional livestock farming, which include high water usage, land degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, insects are a low-impact resource, requiring significantly less water, land, and feed to produce the same amount of protein as cattle or chickens.

Crickets, for example, are well-known and loved for their high protein content and have been a staple in the diet of pets in some cultures for centuries. They’re easy to farm and harvest, reproduce quickly, and convert feed into protein much more efficiently than traditional livestock. Similarly, the black soldier fly (BSF) has emerged as a standout in the insect farming industry. Not only does it have a remarkable ability to convert organic waste into high-quality protein and fat, but it also thrives in a variety of climates, making it an excellent candidate for sustainable mass production.

More About The Black Soldier Fly

The black soldier fly, originating from tropical regions but now found globally due to its adaptability, is particularly intriguing as a resource for pets because of its lifecycle and the benefits it offers. Unlike some pesky insects, BSF larvae are not vectors for diseases and are considered safe for animal consumption. Their larvae are harvested before they turn into flies, processed, and then used as a protein source in pet foods and treats. This process is sustainable and contributes to waste reduction by utilizing organic byproducts that would otherwise go to landfill.

Can My Dog Eat Insects Safely?Photo: A man is about to eat a cricket on a skewer for protein.

For pet owners concerned about the safety and suitability of BSF for their dogs, it’s reassuring to know that these insects are a natural part of many animals’ diets in the wild. Dogs are omnivores with a digestive system capable of processing a variety of foods, including insect protein. The nutritional profile of BSF is impressive, offering a rich source of amino acids, fats, and minerals essential for a dog’s health. The study from researchers in Brazil found that a diet incorporating Black Soldier Flies can reduce the bacteria responsible for bad breath while promoting beneficial oral microbes. This positively impacts a dog’s oral microbiome, and that in turn helps keep their gut health in good shape too.

Researchers believe this is notable, considering that the typical dog diet does not actively contribute to dental health and can even exacerbate issues without proper dental care.

The shift towards insect-based ingredients in pet food and treats represents a trending forward-thinking approach to pet (and human!) nutrition and environmental responsibility. By incorporating ingredients like crickets and black soldier fly larvae into pet products, the industry offers health benefits for pets and contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly food system. As awareness grows and more pet owners seek out sustainable options, we expect to see an increase in the variety and availability of products featuring these innovative ingredients.

Bernie’s Charming Chompers: More Than Just Fresh Breath

The referenced study shows the importance of oral health for dogs, and points out how diet can influence not just their breath, but also their overall dental well-being. That’s something we considered when we created Bernie’s Charming Chompers. The black soldier fly (BSF) protein may be a breakthrough in supporting canine dental health, but it’s not the only path to a brighter smile and fresher breath for your pet.

When creating dental treats for our dogs, we wanted to be innovative as well. We didn’t love many of the ingredients in the popular dental chews for dogs, and we wanted to make something that also helped their gut health improve. It wasn’t just about fresh breath for us, but overall health and wellness in our dogs’ mouths and guts.  Compare the ingredients we put in Charming Chompers to a typical dog dental chew, and you’ll see what we mean.

Charming Chompers offers a blend of ingredients that contribute to good oral health that starts from the inside and goes out. We can’t stress enough how important gut health is in relation to oral hygiene in dogs. A balanced gut microbiome can impact everything from dental health to immunity, mood, and energy levels.

That’s why we used a healthy base of sweet potato, real turkey, and beneficial additions like pumpkin, yogurt, and blueberries. These ingredients are sources of fiber, prebiotics, and postbiotics, which are all crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. When your dog’s digestive system is thriving, it’s less likely to develop oral disease.

So, while the exciting findings about BSF point to its broader potential for diet to affect dental health, we believe Charming Chompers offers a complementary approach. We focus on gut health as the starting point for oral hygiene to address the root cause of dental problems while also providing a nutritious treat dogs enjoy.

 While studies reveal innovative ways to improve our pets’ health through their diet, we will continue to align with science. We do so by offering our practical answer that benefits not just oral health but overall wellness. It’s our multi-faceted approach to pet health, because we consider gut health as the essential for keeping our furry friends happy and healthy.

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