Pet owners urged to put their cats and dogs on 'healthier' insect-based diet

Pet owners have been asked to consider the environmental impact of their cat and dog food choices. (Getty)

Pet owners have been advised to feed their cats and dogs an insects to help them live longer.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) says foods containing insects will be healthier for pets than meat-based alternatives.

According to BVA, most animals will accept the change in diet without much resistance.

The insect-based diet is also more environmentally friendly than traditional pet food.

Some UK-based pet food producers already use insects in their products. (Getty)

“There’s a really exciting future for the use of insect protein for companion animals,” Simon Doherty, the BVA president, told the BBC.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity - looking at insects to provide alternative sources of some of the nutrient ingredients we use in pet food diets.”

“You’d still be killing insects but some vegetarians might find that more palatable than killing cows or chickens,” he added.

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Insect foods are already used in fish and poultry farms and help combat climate change by preserving soil and water supplies.

Farmed insect protein is also typically raised on human food waste and produce very low emissions.

Pets are estimated to be consuming up to 20 per cent of all meat globally.

An insect farm in Dole, eastern France, where powdered proteins are made. (Getty)

Some UK pet food firms are already selling pet food with up to 40 per cent insect protein.

But Mr Doherty and the BVA believe that more people need to adopt it in years to come.

He called for a change in attitude which sees humans feeding their pets the same thing they eat.

“They would say that if they were able to have prime steak for themselves, why would they not provide it for their cats and dogs?” Mr Doherty added.

“Actually the danger is that a diet of top steak wouldn’t be nutritionally balanced. It’s much better to buy a balanced pet food, (whether or not it contains insects),” he said.

At the moment some insect-based food in the UK is more expensive than luxury brands of pet food, and up to four times dearer than budget brands.

The high prices are partially caused by the costs associated with setting up high-tech insect farms.

But it is hoped that projected technology advances will see future savings passed onto consumers.

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