When your dog is outside, either in your backyard or as you’re walking along, your dog is likely to want to explore their surroundings. Dogs use their nose and their mouth to take in their environments, and you’ll likely notice that your dog likes to put things in its mouth.
Dogs are naturally very curious about their surroundings, and they explore this curiosity with their mouth and their nose so it’s very normal for your dog to chomp on things he comes across.
There are some things that are completely safe for your dog to put in its mouth when you’re outside, but that doesn’t mean that everything your dog eats is safe.
Bugs will be flying or hopping along and they will likely grab your dog’s attention. If your dog is quick enough, he may even be able to snap up one of these critters – but is it harmful for your dog to eat it?
Grasshoppers are common in our environment so it’s very likely your dog will come into contact with them at least once. Will your dog try to eat it?
Chase it? If your dog happens to be quick enough to grab one, and you can’t get it out of your dog’s mouth in time is it dangerous? Here’s what you need to know about your dog eating a grasshopper.
So, why do dogs eat bugs?
Well not all dogs eat bugs, but many dogs who do are simply just curious and may even do so as an attempt to play with the bug.
They will see these little guys crawling or flying around and have this desire to play with them. As we know, dogs play with other dogs and can get a little mouthy so in the process of trying to play with bugs they will nip and chomp a little. This could end with your dog just eating the whole bug.
Can my dog eat grasshoppers?
It’s probably not a pretty scene to watch your dog as he chomps down on a grasshopper while out in your backyard or on a walk, but grasshoppers on their own are not a danger to your dog if he eats one.
As a bonus, they’re just a little extra protein in your pup’s diet if he likes to chase and eat these little guys.
Now, that doesn’t mean grasshoppers aren’t dangerous. Wait – you said they aren’t. Well naturally they are not harmful for your dog, however they can carry pesticides and fertilizers from nearby fields they have visited. These additional things can be very toxic to your dog. Additionally, grasshoppers can carry parasites and roundworms.
In the same category would be other bugs like moths and flies – if your dog is quick enough to catch one and doesn’t spit it out, eating it won’t do any harm to your dog.
The bad news
There are some bugs in our environments that are a slight concern or even a worry if your dog decides to eat one of them.
In the month of, well, June, these bugs are very common in South Western Ontario. They don’t harm humans but they can be a pain especially for getting caught in hair and clothing while you’re outside.
They aren’t especially toxic to dogs, so if your dog eats one you don’t have to rush him to the vet’s office to have his stomach pumped. However, eating these little guys can upset your pup’s gastrointestinal tract and lead to vomiting, diarrhea or even both.
Additionally, if your dog does eat too many of them it can led to an intestinal blockage in your dog because the shells on this bug are not digestible and won’t break down in your dog’s stomach.
Stinging Insects – like bees and wasps
Like humans, dogs can have an allergy to bee or wasp stings. The sting of these kinds of insects can have the same affect on dogs as they do humans: extreme swelling in the area that they were stung.
As a bonus, dogs naturally do not have the biological response that humans do where our throats will close up due to an allergic reaction. Because they lack this response, any reaction your dog has to a sting will mostly be mild and will pass quickly.
We all know that dogs like to snap at insects as they buzz around and crunching on a bee or wasp will likely result in them being stung in the mouth. Their mouth will likely swell up for a day or so and they will likely drool a whole lot more than they normally do. Hopefully, after one sting, your pup will lean the lesson and won’t be trying to eat bees any time soon.
Most spiders – especially in South Western Ontario – are not harmful for your dog to eat. If you live in an area with poisonous spiders it is important to keep your dog away from them as they can make your dog very sick.
What bugs are harmful to my dog?
Bugs that are harmful to your dog will vary depending on the region you live in, but a general rule is that bugs which feed on feces are ones that are best to avoid.
These bugs can include crickets, cockroaches and grub-like insects. Eating these kinds of bugs can cause stomach worms in your dog. Additionally, fleas can cause tapeworms and mosquitos can lead to heartworm. Thankfully, most vest recommend vaccines and monthly doses of prevention against fleas, ticks and heartworm so that your dog stays safe.
PRO-TIP:the more colourful the insect, the more likely it is to be toxic for your dog.
There are some bugs that are right out toxic for your dog to eat, and they should be avoided at all costs.
Almost all caterpillars are especially dangerous to your dog. The caterpillars that turn into monarch butterflies will eat milkweed, and that contains a substance that is poisonous to dogs and can harm their heart.
Other caterpillars cause intestinal problems and painful internal reactions, including digestive issues.
It’s important to keep an eye on your dog and if he eats a caterpillar at all then you should bring him into your vet. Many of them in South Western Ontario are not poisonous, but they can still cause internal upset with your dog so it’s always best to be safe.
Slugs and Snails
You should keep your dog away from these little guys. They typically carry the larvae of a parasite known as lungworm. If your dog eats a slug or snail that is carrying this disease, they could get a respiratory disease or even internal hemorrhaging.
The bottom line
We can’t monitor our dogs every minute of every day, no matter how much we try. As your dog is outside playing, he might eat a bug or two and for the most part there really isn’t anything to worry about.
If you want to be as safe as possible, you can make it part of training your dog to not eat anything that isn’t fed to them in their bowl although this would require a lot of training, likely from when they are a puppy.
The best option, since we can’t monitor our dogs 24/7, is to teach your dog to just ignore the bugs.
You might also like to read about: Can Dogs Eat Croutons?
What to do if your dog eats a bug?
If you’re too late and you catch the last part of your dog chomping on an insect, don’t panic. You will need to keep an eye on your dog for the following day or so to make sure they are ok.
If your dog starts to vomit or has diarrhea, keep an especially close eye on them. If you’re really worried about your dog’s health you can always call your vet or bring them into an emergency vet.
Our dogs are always going to be naturally curious about the world around them, and allowing them to explore their surroundings will make them a happy puppy. It helps them to understand the world on their own terms, so why limit their curiosity?
The best thing to do is to watch them as much as you can and try your best to monitor what they’re eating. If you catch them putting something in their mouth that they shouldn’t, you can immediately try to get them to spit it out so they don’t swallow the bug.
If your dog does end up eating a bug, it’s likely going to be a little extra protein in their diet and will not be much to worry about. If your dog happens to eat a bee or a wasp, their face may be a little swollen and they might eat funny for a couple days – time to laugh and snap a few pictures! – but they will be ok at home, with careful monitoring.
Let your dog enjoy the great outdoors – let them run, play and jump so they can really enjoy being a dog!
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