Thursday, September 10, 2015

4 Dangers of Letting Your Pet Eat Bugs

Most dogs and cats like to eat bugs on occasion. It's just in their nature and something they like to do. Fortunately, my dog is not that into eating bugs although I have seen her mouth a few of them before. My cat is an avid bug hunter, and she has left me a couple of bug "gifts". I've never actually seen her consume a bug before, so I don't know if she ever eats them or not.

depositphotos/daniaalexa

For the most part, it seems harmless if a dog or cat eats a bug. However, there are a few dangers lurking when it comes to dogs and cats eating bugs. It's definitely a behavior you should try to deter your pets from doing. 

Stings and Bites

Many bugs such as bees, wasps, and hornets can and will sting a dog or cat. If your pet is trying to catch a stinging bug, it's likely they will be stung. Most bee stings in dogs and cats occur on the face, or even worse, in the mouth. 

depositphotos/kellyplz

This is dangerous because some pets can be severely allergic to bee stings and can go into anaphylactic shock. This is a medical emergency and veterinary care should be administered immediately. For information on what to do if your dog is stung by a bee, check out this post

There are also biting bugs, like spiders, that pose a threat to dogs and cats. The two most dangerous venomous spiders that come to mind are black widows and the brown recluse. Both of these spiders have a harmful and potentially fatal bite. Fortunately, they are usually hidden well and may not be easy for pets to spot. Spider bites also need medical attention from a veterinarian. 

Bugs That Are Toxic

Some types of bugs are toxic when ingested and can cause stomach upset. Most toxic bugs cause GI inflammation or possibly oral lesions. The types of toxic bugs you should watch out for include caterpillars, ladybugs, and stinkbugs. Generally speaking, the more colorful a bug is the more likely it is to be toxic. 


Many caterpillars are brightly colored to warn predators that they don't taste good. Of course, our dogs and cats may not have gotten that memo. 

Parasites

As if eating bugs wasn't gross enough already, your dog and cat can become infected with parasites from eating bugs. Two of the more common parasites that I've personally seen dogs and cats infected with are Tapeworm and Physaloptera. 

Tapeworm is a very common parasite for dogs and cats. Luckily, it's not too serious or life-threatening. Dogs and cats become infected with tapeworm by ingesting a flea that is carrying the parasite. That's one reason why it's important to use flea prevention on your pets. 

Tapeworms are large enough that you can visibly see their segments in your pets' stool or around their anus. They look like white grains of rice. Treatment is easy and there are over-the-counter options available for getting rid of tapeworms

depositphotos/fancyfocus

A less common parasite is Physaloptera, also known as a "stomach worm infection". Dogs and cats can both become infected with Physaloptera from eating cockraoches, grubs, beetles, crickets, or other bugs who eat feces. 

Physaloptera can infect your dog or cat with just one worm 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. 

In one particular case of Physaloptera that I can remember, a patient was sent to a specialist for chronic vomiting. After an endoscopic exploration of the dog's stomach (a gastroscopy), a single Physaloptera worm was discovered. 

Insecticides

Harmful insecticides are often used to kill bugs. There's no telling which bugs may have toxic insecticides on them, and which ones don't. That's why it's best to NOT let your dog or cat eat bugs. You don't want them getting sick from eating bug poison. If you have a dog or cat that likes to bugs in your home, you should probably refrain from using poisonous insecticides and try a more natural bug-killing approach

If you have a cat who is indoors only, they may be at less risk of ingesting a bug who's been sprayed with an insecticide. Still, there is some risk since bugs come from outside most of the time. 

Does your pet like to eat bugs? Stay safe and keep your dogs and cats away from bugs! 

23 comments:

  1. Spoilsport! Now you have my human on High Bug Alert! And she is also wondering if Binga's undiagnosed digestive issues could be Physaloptera - we don't have so many this year, but usually we have a lot of crickets around.

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    1. The dog I mentioned above had been doing the chronic vomiting without other signs that he was ill for quite a while. The doctors were out of ideas and options so they sent him over to a specialist. I loved that about these particular doctors. They were not afraid to get patients to specialists when they needed it.

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  2. thanks for a great post! it came in time... today we had a bug-adventure... fortunately I was fast enough to get the bug before Easy used it like bubble gum....

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  3. I agree that this IS a great post! I never knew that ladybugs are toxic...who would think that since they are so cute and pretty?
    Cody is our resident bug-hunter (Dakota stands behind him and watches), I usually am able to catch Cody before he eats a bug but I am sure there were times I missed him eating a fly or something. Thankfully it is mostly flies and moths that he chases and moths are big enough for me to grab before he does (if I am around!)
    catchatwithcarenandcody

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    1. I think most of the time, we're pretty safe with the bug eating. I know Callie likes to hunt bugs too... her previous people told me she does. Shiner will mouth at flies that buzz around her, but she's really not a great bug catcher.

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  4. Yikes! I didn't know all that. I never worried too much about bug eating, unless it was stinging bug like a hornet. We always get lady bugs in our house in the fall, but at least none of the animals seem to have any interest in that.
    But Luke definitely likes to chase and eat grasshoppers, and our beagle Kobi used to as well. I didn't see them on your list, but I'm guessing it's best to discourage him from that too.

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    1. I haven't heard anything about grasshoppers before either. Some people eat them actually. (I read way too much about how to eat bugs when I got sidetracked on this blog post lol...) But supposedly, they are safe when you cook them. Which I'm sure Luke isn't going to cook his ;)

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  5. I don't eat bugs anymore. I ate on once and foamed at the mouth because it was pure yuck!

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    1. Oh no! Well, at least you learned your lesson!

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  6. UGH! When I see my pets trying to eat a bug, I always stop them.
    Reminds of this one time my husky Lexus turned my night into a horror movie. Ok, so I am terrified of spider.... TERRIFIED! And one night, she jumped off the couch, ran to a spot on the floor and I saw her put something in her mouth, I called her over to me to see what she had, and she literally walked over to me, and spit a very LARGE spider out of her, and it hit the floor, still alive and crawled under my couch!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  7. Bailie likes to hunt flying bugs with cat bro Bert, but hasn't had any success catching them. Mom never likes us to eat them.

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  8. shiner...thiz iz a grate post.....we haza LOTTA cricketz round heer rite now & frank lee we dinna noe we could get that P werd ewe used.... frum em ~~~~~~ ♥♥♥

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  9. There are a few things here I've never considered. Thanks.

    Our dogs mostly kill flies. They don't eat them, just kill them and run to me for praise. Probably something I shouldn't be rewarding. Yikes.

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  10. Thanks for this info. We usually don't eat the bugs we find. We just play with them til they're deaded. 'Cept flies...we have been known to eat them.

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  11. I had no idea that ladybugs were toxic. Thank you for this info.

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  12. Taffy kept trying to eat Cicadas, even catching them in mid air with them buzzing in her mouth! Mom had a cat that got tapeworms from eating bugs, I only eat food. Love Dolly

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    1. Tapeworms are very common and they get them from eating fleas. Although, they are very small so it's usually just accidental ingestion with grooming. Shiner had a case about a year or two ago =/

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  13. Bain will kill them, but he's learned that they don't taste good if you eat them. Lol!

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    1. Lol - Shiner will *try* to kill them sometimes... but I guess she doesn't really care for them either. I used to know this dog that would have a buffet when June Bug season hit. They would fly into the garage with us and she would start catching and crunching them up as fast as she could (gross!).

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  14. Great post! It's always good to know details about WHY something is bad for you. :)

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  15. Sigh.... Mommy won't let us eat bugs. We get water bugs here which are related to cock roaches. We hunt them down and she flushes them down the toilet! We don't get the prize.

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  16. I'm guilty of this. I get Bain to catch small moths and flies. He doesn't seem to eat them though, he likes the chase and shakes his head when he catches it.

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