Do insects smell attractive to dogs? A comparison of dog reactions to insects and commercial feed aromas – a preliminary study

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Abstract

The goal of the present study was to investigate the olfactory attractiveness of air-dried insects used as aromas to dogs. The trial consisted of 35 adult dogs (20 males, 15 females) aged between 12 months and 7 years (mean = 3.6), varied in terms of breed, kept as companion animals. The dogs had free olfactory access to selected unprocessed dried insects, i.e., mealworm (Tenebrio molitor), Turkestan cockroach (Shelfordella lateralis), black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), and tropical house cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus), as well as commercial dried and pelleted dog feed, which was used as a control treatment. Samples (100 g) were located separately in non transparent closed boxes with 5 perforations in the cover (7 mm each) to improve the intensity of the aromas without direct contact with the tested samples. The box was recorded as chosen when the dog showed interest in it for more than 15 seconds continuously per each attempt (3 attempts per dog). The presented study shows that the selected insect species were chosen as frequently as the control group (P=0.03). However, in terms of preferences by dog gender, Tenebrio molitor was favored more often by males than by females, which preferred Shelfordella lateralis. The current preliminary data suggest that the olfactory features of the selected insect species may be attractive to dogs.

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