5 years ago I read about the legalisation of insects for use in aquafeed in the EU and was blown away by the potential that insects possess to transform our consumption habits and pose a viable solution to aspects of the global food crisis. 

Last year I began researching the pet food industry and was equally astounded to learn of the strain that pet food is having on our resources, with pet food constituting 25–30% of the environmental impacts from animal production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides in the US alone.[1] 

However, I found that not only does the pet food industry pose an environmental strain, it is also dangerously unhealthy; the majority of dry dog food is void of fresh ingredients, carcinogenic and engineered for a shelf life of up to 2 years without refrigeration.[2] These unhealthy foods are directly responsible for continually increasing rates of cancer, obesity and diabetes in dogs.[3] Meanwhile, recent research has shown that dogs fed a freshly-prepared diet could live, on average, 32 months longer than dogs fed commercial dry dog food.[4] Eating a fresh, varied diet is clearly the better choice for our own nutrition, so why are we not extending this logic to our canine friends? 

With these findings in mind, I spent 12 months researching and developing a potential solution to provide dog parents a selection of recipes designed to let their dog thrive, and not just survive, without sacrificing the planet. In the end, I founded Tuggs – a dog food startup creating freshly-prepared dog food in a sustainable way using black soldier fly insects alongside other meat and vegetables. 

Cod Crew
Our ‘Cod Crew’ recipe, made of fresh turkey, insect and veg

Tuggs meals are gently cooked as you would in your kitchen using fresh, human-grade ingredients before being frozen to lock in nutrition and delivered right to the consumer’s door. No additives or preservatives ever, with our secret super power (insects) providing a sustainable edge to our product. 

Furthermore, our proprietary algorithm and subscription service lets dog parents enjoy personalised health plans for their companions, with tailored meals that help them hit the ideal weight.

I will be using this blog to post the research that led me to found Tuggs and hope it can become an interesting area for the discussion of dog nutrition.


Harry (founder)

[1] Gregory S. Okin. Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (8): e0181301 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181301

[2] The Dog Nutritionist. 2021. “Processed dog food contributes to Cancer” – Fact. | The Dog Nutritionist. [online] Available at: <https://thedognutritionist.com/blog-the-dog-nutritionist/canine-cancer> [Accessed 23 April 2021].

[3] Mitchel, Julian. The Startup Delivering Healthy Dog Food Straight To Your Door. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/julianmitchell/2017/04/27/ollie-the-startup-delivering-healthy-dog-food-straight-to-your-door/?sh=61b772e92d5a

[4] Lippert, Gérard. Sapy, Bruno. Relation between the domestic dogs’ well-being and life expectancy. 2003. https://www.ukrmb.co.uk/images/LippertSapySummary.pdf

Further reading:

Southby, A., 2021. More than half of all dogs in the UK are obese. [online] SurreyLive. Available at: <https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/more-half-dogs-uk-obese-19577552> [Accessed 23 April 2021].

Paws & Claws Pet Medical Center. 2021. Quick Facts About Cancer | Paws & Claws Pet Medical Center. [online] Available at: <https://pawsandclawsvet.com/quick-facts-about-cancer/#:~:text=Cancer%20is%20the%20leading%20cause%20of%20death%20in%2047%25%20of,while%20cats%20get%20fewer%20cancers.> [Accessed 23 April 2021].

The Dog Nutritionist. 2021. “Processed dog food contributes to Cancer” – Fact. | The Dog Nutritionist. [online] Available at: <https://thedognutritionist.com/blog-the-dog-nutritionist/canine-cancer> [Accessed 23 April 2021].