Can Dogs Eat Bugs: Toxic and Safe Insects to Digest

Why does my dog eat bugs? Dogs are inquisitive animals, but they also have a knack for sniffing and munching on anything they come across—bugs are often the least of a dog owner’s problems considering canines’ pica tendencies!

But can dogs eat bugs without any health repercussions? Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about, but there are some toxic bugs out there, though.

Keep reading to find out which ones you’re supposed to be on the lookout for.

Can Dogs Eat Bugs

Is it bad for dogs to eat bugs? Whatever dog breed you have, the action of a crawling spider, wiggling caterpillar, or flying bug will stimulate your dog’s interest and excite its hunting instincts.

Moths, stink bugs, and flies are just a few insects that canines will likely ingest when given the opportunity.

There are different types of bugs, though. Some have defense mechanisms such as spines, stingers, or an unpleasant pungent taste. These organisms are well known for possessing bristles that can irritate the skin, like butterfly caterpillars. One of the monarch butterfly’s most notable characteristics is its foul taste.

Fortunately, our pets pick up on which bugs they can and cannot eat quite fast. Let’s see which ones are toxic and which ones aren’t.

Did you know that according to insect population data, there could be up to 30 million species of insects and a third of them are endangered? Take a quick look at our insect population statistics article for more information on insects.

When Is It OK for Dogs to Eat Bugs

Although it may seem unusual to consider household bugs as a protein source, that seems to be exactly what they are–a small snack. Eating grubs, crickets, and even ants has even become prevalent among people, and it’s a common practice in certain cultures.

So, when dogs do eat bugs, should you worry? Like humans, dogs may not get enough protein from commercial dog foods alone, so an extra treat wouldn’t harm them.

Starting off small—dogs can eat flies. Both ants and flies are safe for dogs because they include a lot of protein and vitamin C. Depending on where your dog’s food dish is stored, it’s not unusual for it to discover these bugs crawling all over it—and there are no reasons to panic when they eat one of those.

Moths are also completely safe for the dog to eat. It might seem gross, but to them, this is just fun and games.

If you’re an arachnophobe, you’ll not enjoy this because spiders are next on the list.

Spiders are a relatively common household bug that nearly every puppy will encounter at least once. Fortunately, spiders are not intrinsically hazardous to your dog unless they’re venomous, but you’re not likely to host one of those in your house—hopefully!

Other bugs that dogs can safely ingest are:

  • June bugs,
  • Stink bugs,
  • Asian lady beetle, and
  • Cicadas.

To put it more accurately, these bugs are not highly toxic if eaten in small quantities. If you find your dog chomping on many of these bugs at once, you should contact a vet because it will most likely cause stomach problems.

What Bugs Are Toxic to Dogs

It’s sometimes the insect’s food rather than the insect itself that poses the biggest risk to your dog. Milkweed is particularly harmful to dogs and monarch caterpillars regularly consume it. It can damage the dog’s heart and cause nausea and vomiting. They also taste terrible, so if your dog sniffs them out after eating them once, it will probably avoid this particular bug in the future.

Cicadas and stink bugs, for example, may gather in vast numbers, and a dog can easily mistake them for a meal. Allowing a dog to ingest a significant amount will upset its stomach and may even require surgical removal, which isn’t something you want.

Needless to say, our four-legged friends should not consume bees or wasps. We’re sure that most of you have seen those silly images of dogs and cats with swollen snouts. Although it looks cute, it may cause problems for your furry baby, so keep your dog away from bees and wasps at all times.

Parasites are often found on a bug; these are especially common in cockroaches because they come into constant contact with poop. Therefore, ingesting them, especially in large quantities, would definitely cause difficulties for your dog’s digestive system.

What about grasshoppers; can dogs eat grasshoppers? Due to their jumping nature, your dog might be tempted to chase them and catch them with their mouths, but just like a cockroach, they carry parasites with them, so it’s best to steer clear. Grasshoppers in agricultural areas have probably also come across pesticides or toxic fertilizers that are poisonous if consumed.

So, what sort of symptoms of toxic bug ingestion should you be looking out for? Different bug ingestions manifest different sensations in your pup’s body. Here are some common signs:

  • A sore or painful mouth,
  • Stomach ache, salivation, puking, and diarrhea,
  • DNA of a parasite,
  • Laziness, and
  • A decrease in appetite.

If any of these symptoms keep showing up, keep an eye on your dog during playtime to see what might cause this.

How to Stop My Dog From Eating Bugs

Training your dog to do this is similar to stopping it from engaging in activities you don’t want it to do:

  • Teach it a basic “no” or “leave it” command;
  • Increase play time with your pup’
  • Keep an eye on your dog when it’s playing outside;
  • When taking a walk, use a shorter leash to have more control over where the dog goes.

Patience is key—your dog will need time to learn what is OK to ingest. Most dogs will avoid eating bugs that are bad for their stomach after making that mistake once.

While we’re on the topic of dogs eating gross things, did you know they eat their poop sometimes too? Yuck! If you have this problem with your pup, this article has all you need to know about what to put in dog food to prevent it from doing that.

Key Takeaways

So, can dogs eat bugs? For the most part, a bug or two is not dangerous.

However, if your dog spots a group of bugs somewhere and eats them, the bug overload will seriously affect its gastrointestinal system.

There are some exceptions, of course. Bugs filled with parasites or poisonous should be avoided at all costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are june bugs harmful to dogs?

Given that june bugs are not poisonous or toxic, they are safe for dogs to eat. However, if your dog eats a larger amount of bugs—just like any other non-toxic bug—it will get an upset stomach.

Can a bug make a dog sick?

There is still the underlying threat of parasites, but most bugs aren’t toxic unless taken in vast amounts.

Why does my dog like to eat bugs?

They do this due to their playful and curious nature. They like to explore the world around them every time they go out, and sometimes they’ll spot a bug flying and catch it with their mouths.

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