Sometimes, when flies, June bugs, stink bugs, and moths come into your home, you notice that your dog likes to eat them. He may chase them or start chomping at the air in order to catch them.
While it's cute, you wonder why your dog engages in this behavior and if bugs are toxic to dogs. You don't want your little friend getting sick because he suddenly had a craving for a beetle or butterfly.
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Learning why your dog eats bugs as well as stopping him from eating bugs that are indeed toxic to dogs will help you figure out what to do when he wants to eat insects.
Why dogs eat bugs
Dogs eat bugs because they are curious. They see this tiny thing flying around or crawling on the floor and they feel the need to go after it. Dogs love moving objects like balls and toys, so it only makes sense that they'd go after bugs as well. Your dog may also like how the bug tastes or the way it crunches in his mouth, as gross as that may sound.
Your dog has probably eaten plenty of things that aren't dog food, like paper, shoelaces, sand, and socks. You likely didn't see him eating these objects and only found out afterwards when he went to the bathroom. At times, dogs will go hide and eat something unusual, like when they eat insects. It's all part of being a dog. However, some insects are toxic to dogs, and you should try to keep your dog from eating them.
Bugs that are bad for dogs
You should watch out for bugs that eat feces. If your dog eats these bugs, they could get stomach worms. Bugs that eat feces include cockroaches, crickets, caterpillars, fireflies, Asian Lady Beetles, and grubs.
June bugs are harmful to dogs because dogs can't digest their shells. If your dog eats too may June bugs, it can cause intestinal blockage, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While stink bugs are not toxic to dogs, the smelly secretions from stink bugs can irritate your dog's gastrointestinal tract and result in excessive drooling and/or vomiting.
Spiders are a concern, since some are venomous. If your dog eats a Brown Recluse or Black Widow spider, he may get sick. If he eats a butterfly, then he may also feel unwell since Monarch butterflies eat milkweed, which is toxic to dogs.
Earthworms, slugs, snails, fleas, bees, and wasps also need to be avoided, since they can cause your dog to become sick, too.
Can dogs eat flies?
If your dog eats flies, it's not a big concern. Though household flies can transmit more than 65 diseases to humans, your dog has a short and acidic digestive tract that can kill off bacteria that the fly carries. Fruit flies, gnats, and drain flies are not really harmful either, and it's pretty unlikely your dog will get sick from swallowing some.
Other concerns surrounding bugs
There are some other concerns with dogs eating bugs. For example, if you put poison out to kill bugs and the bug eats that poison or is covered in it, it could become toxic to your dog when he eats it. For this reason, it's best to keep your dogs out of a room when you're treating it for insects.
If your dog goes after a venomous spider or a bee or wasp, he could get stung. Fleas could bite him as well. Before letting your dog run out into the yard, you may want to treat it with pet-safe chemicals that will kill off any harmful bugs like fleas, spiders, bees, and wasps. Again, only use chemicals that are not harmful to your pup and keep him out of the yard until you're done.
There is no real reason why dogs eat bugs except that dogs are naturally curious animals. If you notice that your dog is more lethargic than usual, vomiting, has diarrhea, is excessively drooling, or acting strange in any other way, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. You should ask your vet how you can keep your dog away from bugs in the future and if there are any positive dog training techniques you can use to teach him. Then, you can protect him from getting sick from bugs in the future.