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Can Dogs Eat Bugs? Insects Your Dog Can & Can’t Eat (2024)

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can dogs eat bugs insectsYou’ve probably noticed your pup hunting and snacking on bugs when you’re outside. It may seem strange, but can dogs eat insects? As natural predators, it’s only normal for our furry friends to indulge in the occasional bug snack – however, not all of them are safe! To ensure your pooch is healthy and happy, we’ll explore which bugs are okay for them to munch on, as well as those they should avoid.

We’ll also look at potential risks associated with insect consumption and how best to monitor their outdoor activities.

Key Takeaways

  • Bugs dogs eat outside can pose various risks, including gastrointestinal issues, intestinal parasites, vomiting, respiratory issues, mouth ulcers, tapeworms, and stomach worms.
  • Some bugs, such as spiders and bees, can be venomous and dangerous for dogs.
  • Fleas can transmit tapeworms to dogs.
  • While bugs can provide dogs with protein, fats, and vitamins, it is important to monitor their outdoor eating and limit their exposure to certain bugs to prevent potential health issues.

Bugs That Dogs Should Avoid

Bugs That Dogs Should Avoid
Welcome! When it comes to bugs, there are certain ones that dogs should avoid. These include stink bugs, which can cause gastrointestinal issues; earthworms and slugs, which contain lungworms; ladybugs, whose ingestion may result in mouth ulcers; cockroaches and fleas that carry parasites; as well as spiders and bees with their venomous stingers.

Paying attention to the types of insects your pup is consuming is critical for his or her health.

Stink Bugs (GI Issues)

You should watch out for stink bugs, as they can cause gastrointestinal issues in your pup. Fleas and tapeworms may be the result of consuming them, so check with your vet if you suspect any ingestion.

Stink bugs can contain intestinal parasites that could lead to mouth ulcers or vomiting. A flea infestation is also a risk; their stomachs may suffer from too many of these insects.

Earthworms/Slugs (Lungworms)

Avoid earthworms and slugs, as they can carry lungworms that could cause harm to your pup. These parasites are usually present in their throats if ingested, leading to respiratory issues. To prevent this from happening, it’s best to keep them out of their diet and always contact your veterinarian if you think they’ve eaten any harmful bugs such as flea tapeworms or ladybug ulcers caused by cockroach parasites.

Ladybugs (Mouth Ulcers)

Ladybugs may cause mouth ulcers in dogs if eaten, so make sure to keep an eye out for them. Their mouths contain tapeworms from fleas and stomach worms from roaches or beetles, which can lead to parasites.

Cockroaches/Fleas (Parasites)

Cockroaches and fleas can be dangerous for your pup, as they may contain parasites that could cause stomach upset. Sanitation risks should be minimized by eliminating bug access and using flea prevention methods.

Diet moderation is key; vet consultation is recommended to determine the best over-the-counter options if another parasite is suspected. For example, a stomach worm infection from this parasite causes vomiting in dogs.

Spiders/Bees (Venom)

Spiders and bees should be avoided at all costs, as their venom can cause serious harm. Black widows and brown recluses are poisonous. Bee stings in the mouth are dangerous.

Potential Dangers of Eating Bugs

Potential Dangers of Eating Bugs
Although dogs often eat bugs out of curiosity or for the protein, it is important to understand that there are some potential hidden dangers. Tapeworms from fleas, stomach worms (Physaloptera) from roaches and beetles, as well as pesticides and parasites in bugs can all cause health issues if ingested by dogs.

It is therefore necessary to monitor what your dog eats outside and contact a vet immediately if they become sick after consuming a bug.

Tapeworms From Fleas

Fleas can transmit tapeworms to your pet, so be sure to use flea prevention. Tapeworms are parasites that feed off the food in a dog’s diet, and they can make their way into a dog’s system if he ingests an infected flea.

Dogs who eat insects, such as grasshoppers or beetles, may also get tapeworms from them as well – so it is important to keep this in mind when feeding your pet commercial dog food or treats containing bugs.

Stomach Worms (Physaloptera)

Stomach worms, like Physaloptera, can cause vomiting in dogs if they are ingested. Signs of infection include loss of appetite and weight loss. A vet consultation is necessary to identify symptoms and determine the best treatment options for your dog.

Dietary changes may be recommended, along with preventative care such as deworming medications or special dog food that kills multiple worms in their throat or stomach when eaten by the pet. To prevent a worm infection, it’s important not to let pets eat items from their mouths that could contain larvae eggs from insects such as cockroaches or beetles.

Pesticides and Parasites in Bugs

Be aware that some bugs may contain pesticides or carry parasites, which can be dangerous to your pet if ingested. Fleas and cockroaches are common culprits for parasitic infestations. Ladybugs, spiders, and worms can also introduce parasites into your fur baby’s system.

Our pets have an instinctive urge to eat bugs outside of their dog food, but it’s important to take them to the vet immediately if they become sick after eating a bug. This could indicate a parasite infection. It’s up to us as owners to monitor what our pets eat outdoors and ensure that we use flea prevention to prevent any potential risks associated with ingesting pests.

Monitoring and Preventing Bug Consumption

Monitoring and Preventing Bug Consumption
It is important to be aware of the potential dangers associated with a dog eating bugs, especially when they are outdoors. To ensure your pet’s safety, it is best to monitor their activities and contact your vet immediately if there are any signs of sickness after consuming an insect.

Monitoring Dog’s Outdoor Activities

It is important to keep an eye on your pup while outdoors, as some bugs can be harmful if consumed. Use flea prevention and monitor the types of bugs they’re eating – flies, crickets, and grasshoppers are mostly okay.

But limit june bugs due to their exoskeleton; avoid slugs which carry lungworms; don’t let them eat ladybugs or stinkbugs too much for upset stomachs. Our dogs may eat insects out of curiosity or for protein since it’s not always in their dog food! Monitor what they consume during the hunt and contact a vet immediately should sickness follow bug ingestion.

Immediate Vet Contact if Dog Gets Sick

If your pup has ingested something potentially hazardous while exploring outdoors, don’t hesitate to reach out to the vet right away. Monitor for symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting and provide bug prevention measures like flea treatments.

Different bug types require different safety protocols. Flies are harmless, but venomous spiders should be avoided at all costs! Some bugs may cause stomach issues if eaten in large quantities, so monitor what a dog eats outside closely.

To ensure their safety when it comes to bugs dogs eat and their venom, contact the vet immediately if any adverse reactions occur after consumption of an insect or spider.

Using Flea Prevention

To ensure your pet stays safe, use flea prevention regularly. Fleas pose a dangerous threat to both cats and dogs, carrying various parasites that can cause vomiting or other illnesses. Pet insurance may help offset the cost of treating any bug-related diseases in case of an emergency.

For some pets, bugs are also a source of proteins and vitamins. However, it’s important to be aware that certain insects could contain pesticides or carry disease-causing organisms like tapeworms from fleas, which require over-the-counter treatment.

Monitor what your pet eats outside and only allow them to consume known safe bugs, such as flies, moths, ants (avoid fire ants), beetles (in moderation), locusts, and butterflies. These bugs are rarely eaten by animals and provide little protein value for dogs or cats compared with more traditional sources found in dog food formulas.

Understanding Dogs’ Instinct to Eat Bugs

Understanding Dogs
You may be surprised to learn that dogs have a primal instinct to hunt and eat bugs. This behavior is not only driven by curiosity but also because insects provide an important source of protein in their diet.

It’s essential, however, for pet owners to take care when it comes to bug consumption as some species can cause serious health issues if ingested.

Primal Hunting Instinct

You can think of a dog’s instinct to eat bugs as an ancient hunting reward system. It’s a primal urge that has been encoded into their DNA for centuries, allowing them to instinctively know the nutritional value of certain insects and how best to digest them.

Flying insects, such as flies, are usually safe for dogs due to their lack of spines or hairs. However, creatures like the monarch butterfly may provide some nutrition but should be watched carefully in case they contain toxins from plants they have fed on.

Dogs will often rely on this natural hunting instinct when looking for food sources if traditional dog food isn’t available. It’s important, though, that owners keep track and ensure any bugs eaten are safe before allowing consumption.

By understanding these primal instincts, we can rest assured our pets won’t go hungry no matter what environment they find themselves in!

Bugs as a Source of Protein

Dive into the fascinating world of canine nutrition and discover why your furry friend may be drawn to bugs as a source of protein. Bugs provide essential nutrients for dogs, such as fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins.

They are also rich in minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron. However, there can be dangers associated with bug-eating. Digestive issues can arise from earthworms or snails/slugs, while ladybugs can cause teeth ulcers.

Ingesting cockroaches or fleas may expose dogs to parasites or pesticides, requiring veterinary care.

Safe Bugs for Dogs to Eat

Safe Bugs for Dogs to Eat
You may be wondering which bugs are safe for your dog to eat. Flies and moths, while harmless, should only be eaten in moderation as they do not provide much nutritional value. Ants provide protein and can generally be considered safe. However, it is important to note that fire ants should always be avoided due to their venomous bite.

You might also consider allowing your pup some beetles if you have a larger breed of dogs. Just remember that caution must still take place when feeding these insects as there could potentially arise health issues from over-consumption of them.

Lastly, locusts are nontoxic, but because of their hard exoskeletons, it is best if they too are consumed in small amounts or skipped altogether due to potential stomach upset after eating them.

Harmless Flies and Moths

Flies and moths may seem harmless, but remember that canines find them irresistible – so keep your pup away if you want to avoid a crunchy surprise. Bees in the mouth are particularly dangerous as they can sting, while flea tapeworms and stomach worms from roaches or beetles could make your dog sick.

The exoskeleton of insects is not easily digestible either, so it’s best to stick with proper dog food for nutrition instead of bugs or insects! Flies and moths are mostly safe though; just don’t forget about other hidden dangers when feeding your pet these critters.

Non-poisonous Ants (Avoid Fire Ants)

Ants are mostly safe to eat; however, it is important to avoid fire ants as they can cause inflammation. To ensure safety and prevent lungworms or other parasites, monitor what your dog eats, use flea prevention, and take them to the vet if concerned.

Ants provide protein, but their venom has the catch of potentially causing anaphylactic shock in dogs, with the most common symptom being difficulty breathing.

Safe Beetles (in Moderation)

Beetles can be a tasty treat for your pup, but moderation is key to keeping them safe from potential harm. Eating safely means avoiding bugs with exoskeleton risks, like cockroaches and grubs. Keep an eye out for flea tapeworms in bug parasites, as well as spiders and bees/wasps – all of which require protective gear when handling.

Beetles are mostly harmless, but crickets should also be kept under control in dog food portions due to their high protein content. Tips for moderation include observing what they eat outside and reducing consumption if any signs of upset stomach or illness occur following ingestion of beetles or other insects.

Nontoxic Locusts (Limit Due to Exoskeleton)

Locusts are a safe bug for dogs, but their exoskeleton can be tricky. When consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet with flea prevention, they provide valuable protein while avoiding an upset stomach.

If you’re uncertain, contact your vet before giving locusts to your pup – or try milkweed bugs instead! Spiders and bees/wasps should be avoided.

Bugs Dogs Shouldn’t Eat

Bugs Dogs Shouldn
It’s important to be aware of the types of bugs that your dog should not eat. These include bugs that eat feces, such as crickets, cockroaches, grubs, and caterpillars; venomous bugs like black widows, brown recluses, or any spider; and overeating ladybugs, stinkbugs, or cicadas, which can cause an upset stomach.

Additionally, slugs may carry lungworms, so it is best to avoid them altogether.

Avoid Bugs That Eat Feces (Crickets, Cockroaches, Grubs, Caterpillars)

It’s important to avoid crickets, cockroaches, grubs, and caterpillars as they feed on feces – yuck! Inspect fur for parasites regularly; trim claws and check the mouth for any signs of insect ingestion.

Practice preventative care with milkweed products specifically designed for dogs and cats. Cockroaches can carry lungworms that cause vomiting in pets, while grubs are a potential source of tapeworms.

Caterpillars may contain pesticides or other toxins harmful to animals, so caution is advised when dealing with these insects.

Avoid Venomous Bugs (Black Widows, Brown Recluses, All Spiders)

You should never let your pet near any types of spiders, particularly the dangerous black widows or brown recluses, as their venom can be deadly. Venomous bugs pose a hidden danger to our pets’ safety and nutrition; toxin avoidance is key for a successful bug diet.

Pet insurance may help cover vet visits in case of accidental ingestion, but prevention is best. All spiders, including black widows and brown recluses, are poisonous – no exceptions! Be sure to keep an eye on what your pet eats outside so they stay safe from these potentially lethal creatures.

Avoid Overeating Ladybugs, Stink Bugs, Cicadas (Upset Stomach)

Overeating ladybugs, stink bugs, and cicadas can lead to an upset stomach for your pup. Avoiding sensitivities or pests in the ground is key to pest prevention. Monitor what they eat while away from home and their dog food too.

Slugs as Carriers of Lungworms

Slugs can carry a lungworm parasite, which may cause vomiting if ingested by your pet. Ancylostoma parasites are found in slugs and earthworms, as well as snails and milkweed caterpillars. Stomatitis is an infection of the mouth caused by a parasitic roundworm contracted when eating these pests.

Deworming medications should be used to treat this problem quickly before it becomes severe for your pup! Avoid giving slugs to Fido – even though they look harmless, they could contain dangerous lungworms.

Can Dogs Eat Grass?

Can Dogs Eat Grass
Though many bugs are safe for your pup to consume, it’s important to remember that grass is their go-to snack when they’re out and about!

Though there are some risks associated with eating grass, like pet insurance may not cover certain health problems related to grazing on lawns treated with pesticides or insecticides, you can minimize the chances of a negative reaction by avoiding black widows and brown recluses.

Fire ants should also be avoided as much as possible due to the potential for a painful sting. As an alternative treat, milkweed plants provide good nutrition without any risk of harm.

Additionally, earthworms, snails, and slugs should never be eaten since these can contain parasites which could cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs if ingested.

June bugs or beetles may eat feces but even then they’re generally safe if your dog eats them infrequently; however, excessive consumption could cause stomach upset in some pups too – same goes for stinkbugs, cicadas, and caterpillars!

Grasshoppers, crickets, and other types of bugs usually make great snacks though because most do not carry diseases and often provide essential protein and minerals needed by active pets!

Other Non-Bug Items Dogs Should Avoid Eating

Other Non-Bug Items Dogs Should Avoid Eating
Aside from bugs, there are other items that your dog should not be eating. For instance, crayons and antacids can cause digestive issues in dogs. Poop can make them sick due to bacteria or parasites. Rocks and socks may get stuck in their intestines, and shoes contain a lot of toxins.


Crayons may seem harmless, but they can lead to an upset stomach if your pup doesn’t pass them quickly enough. Crayon ingredients like wax and pigment compounds can be toxic when ingested by dogs. As with any potential hazard in the home, it’s best to keep crayons away from curious noses or mouths.

Ingestion of crayon toxins could cause digestive issues as well as more serious problems depending on the amount eaten – so seek veterinary help immediately if you suspect ingestion of these hazards! Be sure to also watch out for other items that may be harmful such as milkweed, caterpillars, cockroaches, grubs, and beetles, which should all be avoided.

Keep your pup safe and happy by being aware of possible dangers around the house, including certain kinds of art supplies like crayons!


Avoid letting your pup indulge in the deliciousness of poop as it can contain parasites that could easily make them sick. Pet waste, especially from dog parks or litter boxes, should be avoided at all costs.

Flea medication is recommended to prevent any risk of infection, and milkweed can help expel worms like earthworms, snails, and slugs which carry lungworms.

Socks, Rocks, and Shoes

Socks, rocks, and shoes should be off-limits for your pup. These items can cause serious stomach issues if ingested. Milkweed, earthworms, snails, and slugs also pose health risks to dogs. Stink bugs may upset their tummies if overindulged in, as well as crayons containing antacid ingredients.

Shoes contain sharp objects that can puncture the intestines, while rocks are a choking hazard.


Antacids should not be on the menu for your pup as they can cause serious health issues. Allergies, toxicology, diet, and nutrition must all be considered when determining if an item is safe to feed. Medications like antacids are especially dangerous because of their high potency levels.

Benefits of Pet Insurance in Managing Potential Health Issues

Benefits of Pet Insurance in Managing Potential Health Issues
Investing in pet insurance can be a lifesaver for managing any unexpected health issues due to bug-eating, so don’t wait until the last minute to get it – like putting off buying that umbrella until it’s raining cats and dogs!

Pet insurance helps cover costs of vet bills for those unanticipated visits or treatments. Some policies even provide coverage on preventive care such as vaccinations and parasite control.

With increasing pet costs, investing in a good policy can help protect your four-legged friend from potential milkweed ingestion or cockroach infestations leading to lungworms, vomiting episodes caused by parasites, and more.

It is also important to note that these medical expenses are not covered under basic homeowner’s coverage, which is why getting specialized pet safety plans is highly recommended.

Think long term when planning for your furry companion’s health needs; protecting them with adequate policy coverage now could save you time, money, and stress later down the road!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I tell if my dog has eaten a dangerous bug?

Don’t worry, with proper monitoring, it’s easy to tell if your dog has eaten a dangerous bug. Look out for signs like vomiting or mouth ulcers and contact your vet immediately if you’re concerned.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction to bug consumption?

Allergic reactions to bug consumption in dogs can cause a range of symptoms, from hives, like an army of ants marching beneath their skin, to vomiting and diarrhea, like a storm raging through the gut.

Does eating bugs provide health benefits for my dog?

Yes! Eating certain bugs can provide protein, essential vitamins, and minerals. Some even have probiotic effects to aid digestion. Monitor what your pup eats and consult a vet if signs of an allergic reaction appear.

Is there a way to prevent my dog from eating bugs?

Monitor your dog’s outdoor activities and use flea prevention to reduce their exposure to harmful bugs. If you are concerned about what they ate, take them to the vet. Avoid venomous spiders, slugs with lungworms, or insects that feed on feces.

Are there any natural remedies for treating bug-related illnesses in dogs?

Try natural remedies such as probiotics, digestive enzymes, and garlic to help your pup with bug-related illnesses. Monitor the diet and avoid bugs that may cause harm. Visit a vet if concerned about long-term effects or symptoms worsening.


It’s no surprise that dogs are curious about bugs – they’re part of the natural world, and dogs have an instinct to hunt. While some bugs can be a healthy and tasty snack for your pup, there are a few you’ll want to watch out for.

Stink bugs, earthworms, slugs, ladybugs, cockroaches, fleas, spiders, and bees can all present a hazard to your dog’s health.

To minimize the risk, make sure you monitor your pup’s outdoor activities, use flea prevention, and contact the vet immediately if your dog shows any signs of illness. With a bit of caution and common sense, your pup can enjoy the occasional bug snack without issue.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.