Can Dogs Eat Mealworms? Are Mealworms Safe for Dogs?

Mealworms may not look like the most appealing food option, but they have great nutritional value. The larvae of the darkling beetle primarily reside in dark and moist places. Also used as chicken or fish feed in some countries, mealworms are generally considered safe for humans and most animals. But what about our furry friends? Can dogs eat mealworms?

Dogs, like their owners, are omnivores and can benefit from both meat and plant-based diets. Some of them can be dangerous for the canine when it comes to insects. While humans can cram down the holometabolous insect without any hazards, are mealworms harmful to dogs?

Can dogs eat mealworms?

Yes, dogs can eat mealworms. Mealworms add a decent amount of protein and fats to your dog’s diet. They are not poisonous and do not have any side effects on your dog.

Mealworms have an umami flavor and a nutty aftertaste. Your furry buddy will love to munch on the crawly bugs. They are an ecologically friendly nutrient-dense food option for your dog. You can either add mealworms to dog food or even use them as food toppings in other meals for the canine.

What are the health benefits of mealworms for dogs?

Mealworms are great for a dog’s health. They offer a wide variety of essential nutrients for your fido to live a healthy lifestyle. Some health benefits of mealworms for dogs include:

  • Source of Protein: Mealworms are about 20 percent protein in live form and a whopping 50 percent protein in the dried state. They are a great source of protein necessary for healthy muscle and bone growth in dogs. A 100g raw serving of mealworms would account for around 20 grams of protein for the dog.
  • Source of Fats: While it’s true that excessive fats are bad for dogs, fats are still an essential component of a dog’s diet to maintain normal body function. A single mealworm is about 13 percent fat in a dried state and 28 percent fat in fresh form. A 100g raw mealworm serving offers around 12 grams of fats.
  • Source of Iron: Mealworms are also a good source of iron. The availability of iron in mealworm is slightly less than that in beef. Iron helps in forming hemoglobin, which is responsible for circulating oxygen throughout the dog’s body.
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What type of mealworm is best for dogs?

Mealworms come in dry and fresh states. Fresh mealworms are alive, while freeze-dried mealworms are dead.

Dried mealworms are richer in proteins and fibers compared to alive ones. They are healthier for dogs compared to fresh mealworms. Dried mealworms are also easier to consume for the pooch as they don’t wiggle. Furthermore, dried mealworms are easier to store and last longer without refrigeration.

Can you grow mealworms at home?

Buying packaged mealworms can be a costly option to feed your dogs.

The good news is that you can breed mealworms in your house. You can start your mealworm colony by buying as few as 150 mealworms from the pet store.

Follow these easy steps to grow mealworms in your home and establish a cost-effective method for your furry companion’s continuous supply of mealworms.

  • Take a small plastic container and fill it 2 inches deep with cereal crumbs, oats, or cornmeal to make the bedding for the worms.
  • Place the container in a cool and dark place away from direct sunlight.
  • You can also feed them raw potatoes to keep them fresh and healthy. Make sure to replace the potato every fortnight.
  • Ensure the presence of a heat source in winters. The ideal temperature for mealworms to thrive and reproduce is 77 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

It will take about 3 months before the mealworms are ready to be harvested. This way you can grow mealworms in your house for very cheap. The more mealworms you start with, the faster they will multiply.

What other insects are safe for dogs to eat?

Dogs are curious creatures. Even if you don’t provide them with insect-based foods, they are quirky enough to find and swallow some insects on their own. Besides mealworms,  some other insects that are safe for dogs to ingest. Some of the insects that are non-toxic for dogs include:

  • Junebugs
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Flies
  • Moths
  • Termites
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On the other hand, Insects that can be poisonous to dogs include:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Stink bugs
  • Caterpillars
  • Ticks
  • Cockroaches
  • Spiders

Related FAQs to mealworms and dogs!

Is it okay for my dog to eat dried worms?

Dogs can eat dried worms that are not toxic to them. Mealworms are harmless to dogs and can be eaten. Earthworms, on the other hand, are not ideal for pooches.

Can mealworms make dogs sick?

Mealworms will not make your dog sick. They will add nutritional value to your dog’s diet if they eat them regularly.

Can a mealworm bite the dog?

Yes, mealworms have mandibles, but they are so tiny that if they do bite your dog, your dog will not notice it.

What pets can eat mealworms?

Birds, lizards, and fish mostly eat mealworms. Moreover, your pet dog and cat can also safely eat them.

Can dogs eat dried mealworms?

Yes, your dog can eat dried mealworms. Dried mealworms are better for dogs compared to fresh mealworms. Furthermore, dried mealworms offer a higher nutrient content and are easier to store long-term.

Can dogs eat crickets?

Crickets are safe for dogs to eat. They can even provide your fido with a bit of protein intake. No need to worry if your dog occasionally chases down and swallows a cricket.

Recapping our view on whether dogs can eat mealworms!

Mealworms can be a natural delicacy for your dog. They might look creepy, but the miniatures do not harm your pooch. They are also free of any additives or preservatives that can negatively impact your dog’s health.

You can go ahead and purchase some packaged mealworms for your pooch, or you might as well grow them in your home (mealworm watching sounds like a fun activity).

Photo of author

Immad Amir

Immad has a black Labrador who is his first child. With no prior experience of how to take care of his pooch, Immad started researching about what dogs love to eat. This blog is a journal of all the research Immad has done regarding a pet's diet.
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