10 Bugs That Are Dangerous for Dogs to Eat

Most bugs are safe for dogs to eat, but you'll definitely want to keep them away from these 10 harmful insects.

Published June 24, 2023
Chihuahua sniffing a bug.

It happens every time you take your dog out: they somehow manage to find a bug walking across the sidewalk and hoover it up. Why do dogs love to eat bugs so much, and are these creepy crawly snacks dangerous? The good news is that some insects are fairly safe, but there are a few bugs dogs should never eat. Learn about the 10 bugs that are off-limits, so you can keep your pup out of harm's way.

Why Some Dogs Eat Bugs

The biggest reason dogs eat bugs is out of curiosity. Puppies explore and experience the world through their mouths, and most adult dogs never learn to kick the habit. When they come across a bug scurrying across the sidewalk, their desire to eat it is usually simply fueled by the thought, "Huh, I wonder what that tastes like."

Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Bugs?

It's safe for dogs to eat some bugs. Ants, flies, moths, and even the occasional June bug won't do much to your dog. In fact, insects can provide them with a little extra protein in their diet. But if your dog gets too many or ingests the wrong kind of bug, it could give them an upset stomach or even harmful parasites.

Fast Fact

Can dogs eat stink bugs? They can, but stink bugs contain aldehydes (the substance responsible for their "stinky" odor), which taste really bitter and can cause a dog to vomit.

Bug Species Dogs Should Never Eat

Even though most aren't a big deal, some bugs are downright toxic to dogs. They either contain poisons that will make your dog very sick when ingested or they can sting or bite your dog and cause an allergic reaction. Don't let your dog snap at or try to eat the following bugs:

  1. Venomous spiders
  2. Fireflies
  3. Bees
  4. Wasps
  5. Caterpillars
  6. Beetles
  7. Crickets
  8. Cockroaches
  9. Fleas
  10. Mosquitoes

Parasites from Eating Bugs

Unfortunately, your dog can get a parasitic infection from eating certain bugs. Some insects are intermediate hosts for parasites, which means if your dog eats them or interacts with them, they can become infected with a different type of bug. Some of these parasite-carrying bugs include:

  • Fleas: Dogs can get tapeworms from eating fleas.
  • Crickets or cockroaches: Dogs can get stomach worms from eating these common bugs.
  • Mosquitos: Dogs can develop heartworms if an infected mosquito bites them.

Train Your Dog to Avoid Bugs

There are some bugs that are safe for dogs to eat, but that doesn't mean they should. There's always a chance they could go after a harmful bug that could bite or sting them. It's best to train your dog to avoid eating all bugs using a reliable command like "Leave it" or "Drop it." With positive reinforcement training, you can keep your dog safe from nasty bugs.

10 Bugs That Are Dangerous for Dogs to Eat