It is not uncommon for you to see your dog chomping on bugs when you are hanging out in the backyard or at the park. It seems pretty natural, after all, they are predators. But is it safe for your dog to eat bugs? We did a little bit of research and found these answers for you.
For the most part, it is safe for our pets to eat most bugs.
Snacking on an insect every now and again should be just fine. Even though we think it is pretty nasty, for them, it’s all about the hunt and the reward of the catch. It really is a tip of the hat to their primal instincts.
However, not all bugs are created equally. Some come with protective gear, whether spines, stingers or an irritating noxious taste. Like the caterpillar, they are notorious for having spines and hairs that can cause local irritation, and one of the monarch butterfly’s claims to fame is its terrible taste. Luckily our pets learn quickly what bugs are okay to chomp on and which ones are not.
Bugs that our pets should avoid:
- Stink Bugs – affect the gastrointestinal system if eating in large doses
- Earthworms, snails, and slugs – can give our pets lungworms
- Ladybugs – irritate the mouth and tongue and can even cause ulcers because of their discharge
- Cockroaches and fleas – transmit intestinal parasites to your pet if eaten.
- Spider and bees/wasps – both can transmit their venom if they are ingested because they can still bite or sting them in the mouth.
In general, our dogs can eat flies, June bugs, grasshoppers, crickets and bugs of the like are pretty safe for our pets too.
Be careful of parasites
Even if the bugs aren’t too bad to eat in general, there is still the hidden danger of parasites. Your dog can become infected with parasites from eating bugs.
- Tapeworm is a very common parasite for dogs and cats. If your dog eats a bug with a flea that is carrying the parasite, he could end up with tapeworms. That’s one reason why it’s important to use flea prevention on your pets. Thankfully, they are not life threatening and are not hard to treat. Treatment is easy and there are over-the-counter options available for getting rid of tapeworms.
- Physaloptera is another parasite that is a little less common. It is also known as a “stomach worm infection”. This parasite can be found in cockroaches, grubs, beetles, crickets, or other bugs who eat feces. They infect your dog with one or multiple worms that live in your pets’ stomach. Your pet may not exhibit any signs, but the most common symptom is chronic or acute vomiting.
Basically, most bugs are not terrible for our pets to eat. They usually figure out pretty quickly which bugs hurt their stomachs or are dangerous. But it is important to always pay attention to what your dog is snacking on when you’re outside. You never know if it may be a poisonous bug or a bug with worms. If your dog begins to act sick after ingesting a bug, make sure to contact the vet immediately.