Let’s face it, dogs sometimes do things that gross us out. Watching your dog chow down on a cockroach, cricket, or grasshopper is enough to make your stomach turn, but, fortunately, this behavior is natural for dogs and, in most cases, will not cause any harm to them. Eating a grasshopper now and then may even give your dog a small protein boost.
That being said, allowing your dog to eat bugs at all is a risky business and is best avoided to be on the safe side. In this guide, we’ll explain why dogs eat bugs and which bugs are potentially dangerous to them.
Why Do Dogs Eat Bugs?
Though dogs have been known throughout history for going after much larger prey like game birds, rabbits, and even badgers, this doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy chasing smaller fry just as much when the opportunity presents itself.
If you catch your dog in hot pursuit of a bug, it’s because they’re natural hunters with a prey drive, and so they enjoy the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of capturing something.
Dogs are also curious animals and often like trying out new and exciting things. This might occasionally mean a particularly crunchy or juicy-looking bug tantalizes your dog’s hunting instincts.
Are Grasshoppers Toxic to Dogs?
If your dog has eaten a grasshopper, don’t worry. Grasshoppers are not toxic to dogs and it’s unlikely that your dog will suffer serious consequences after eating one. If your dog eats a large number of grasshoppers, it may end up with an upset stomach and symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
Moreover, when dogs eat a large number of bugs, it can cause a bezoar to develop in the stomach that might require surgical removal. It’s pretty unlikely that your dog would be able to get their paws on a large number of grasshoppers, though.
Which Bugs Are Dangerous to Dogs?
Snacking on the odd bug or two every now and again is pretty normal dog behavior, but it’s important to be aware that some bugs have the potential to pass on parasites to your dog and/or cause gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions.
Insecticides are also something to watch out for as these are toxic to dogs, so be careful how you choose to approach pest control in your home. Read on to find out more about how certain bugs can make a dog sick.
Some insects can infect dogs with parasites like lungworms, tapeworms, and Physaloptera (a type of worm that infects the stomach). Potential parasite-causing insects include cockroaches, grubs, fleas, crickets, and beetles because these insects eat feces that may be infected with parasites.
Slugs, snails, and earthworms have the potential to cause lungworms. For these reasons, it’s important to keep up with your dog’s parasite prevention treatments and try to prevent your dog from coming into contact with the said critters.
Toxic bugs can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. These include ladybugs, Asian ladybeetles, fireflies, stinkbugs, caterpillars, and spiders. In some cases, dogs can become seriously unwell after eating certain critters, particularly black widow spiders.
Stings and Bites
Your dog might get a nasty shock if they consume insects that bite or sting. This can cause symptoms like swelling, redness, itchiness, drooling, limping, and biting or pawing at the affected area.
In some cases, dogs can experience allergic reactions as a result of being bitten or stung, in which case they need to be treated immediately. Bugs that can sting or bite include bees, wasps, hornets, horseflies, mosquitoes, and spiders.
A quick recap before you click away—grasshoppers are not toxic to dogs and your dog is very unlikely to become unwell after eating one or two. It’s not a good idea to let your dog eat a large number of grasshoppers, though, as they might end up with an upset stomach or a bezoar. Fortunately, it’s unlikely that your dog will chow down on a load of grasshoppers at once.
If your dog has eaten a bug and has developed unusual symptoms including (but not limited to) more than one episode of diarrhea and/or vomiting, difficulty breathing, collapsing, drooling, weakness, or basically any other symptoms that are worrying you, please contact your vet for advice. It’s always best to be on the safe side.