Our messaging on parasites is pretty strong – and for good reason. Vector-borne illness from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks are flat-out terrible. But just because bugs can be bad for pets, it doesn’t mean we can always stop them from playing with or hunting them. 

Pets that eat bugs are sometimes okay, but otherwise the experience can be painful (ever watched a dog try to eat a wasp?), not to mention disgusting and unsettling. So, what should a concerned owner do?

They’re So Crunchy!

We have our guesses as why pets take to eating bugs. Not only do insects move erratically or unpredictably, but they are delightfully crunchy. Whether they’re bored, hungry, or a combination of both, pets that eat bugs are usually fine.

Until They’re Not

Stinging bugs are obviously to be avoided, but not all pets know this instinctively and learn the hard way. Bees, wasps, hornets and other stinging insects can cause painful problems for pets, including stings to the face, mouth, or tongue. We recommend having a good pair of tweezers in your pet first aid kit in order to pull stingers out of the face or, more commonly, their paw pads. Call us for emergency help.

Additionally, severe allergic reactions can be triggered. Keep an eye out for any facial swelling, redness, or irritation, and any changes in the digestive habits. 

Toxic Bugs!

Most pets that eat bugs are usually okay after their initial shock at how bad the bug tasted. That being said, however, there are lots of bugs out there that give off a toxic flavor in self defense. Certain types of spiders, caterpillars, fireflies, ladybugs, and stink bugs can cause irritation to your pet’s mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Watch for nausea, vomiting, and excessive salivation.

If you commonly see poisonous spiders around the house, it may be worthwhile to apply a pet-safe spider spray or contact a qualified pet-friendly exterminator.

Flies and Bloodsuckers

Flies and mosquitoes inspire our distaste just by being themselves, but when we see our furry best friends chomping them down with relish it can all be a little much. Beyond the gross factor, these bugs probably won’t cause your pet too much trouble going down (or coming out the other end).

About the Other End

It isn’t unusual for a pet to present worms after eating the feces of an infected animal. They can also get tapeworms from various types of bugs like fleas, cockroaches, beetles, grubs, and more. If your pet is not up to date on their monthly parasite protection, we can help.

To All the Pets That Eat Bugs

It may be beneficial to train your dog to “leave it” when they see a bug, or try to get their mouth on one flying through the air. 

If you have further questions about animal behavior, health and safety, and general wellness, our team is always here for you at Blue Valley Animal Hospital.