The thought of accidentally ingesting a bug or fly is disgusting to us, but when it comes to Fido…not so much. Dogs are natural scavengers and enjoy catching prey, which can include flies. These insect snacks are the source of disgust and wonder from most dog owners. If you’ve ever wondered if eating flies can harm your dog, you are not alone.

The team at SunriseBoulevard Animal Hospital wants to explain this behavior and what you should know about dogs ingesting insects, spiders, and other unappetizing things.

Insect Snacks

If your dog eats the occasional insect, it is usually not a cause for concern. The majority of insects are non-venomous and won’t pose any danger to your dog. Flies are pretty commonplace as dog treats because they are fun for your dog to catch in midair. You’ve probably seen your pup snapping wildly at an annoying fly. 

There are some insects and arachnids, and critters that you should not allow your dog to eat. These are:

  • Stink Bugs cause gastrointestinal upset
  • Ladybugs irritate the mouth and tongue and can cause ulcers
  • Earthworms, slugs, and snails all can cause lungworm
  • Bees, hornets, and wasps (of course) can sting your dog and cause a reaction
  • Cockroaches and fleas carry parasites
  • Spiders like the brown recluse and black widow contain venom
  • Scorpions and some snakes are also venomous
  • Certain caterpillars and centipedes will cause harm

Unless doused in insecticide, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, and most bugs are fine for your furry friend to sample.

Deterring Your Pet From Eating Bugs

If your dog becomes compulsive about scouring the floor and air for something to snack on, call us. This may signal a health problem or an anxiety issue, as compulsive behaviors are related to certain forms of anxiety and stress in pets. 

If you find the bug eating a bit repulsive, you can do a few things to curb their appetite:

  1. Make sure your dog is getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Spring is a great time for those morning and evening walks.
  2. Provide plenty of enrichment, which includes toys, dental chews, and treat-dispensing puzzles. Change out the old toys with new ones when your dog gets bored with them.
  3. Secure screens in windows and doors to keep flying things from coming into the home.

Make sure your pet is on a monthly flea-tick and heartworm program throughout the year as certain parasites carry disease.

Can Eating Flies Harm My Dog?

If you would like more information on your dog’s curious cuisine, we can provide the answers. Most dogs do like to eat flies, so don’t worry too much if you see it. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your pet’s wellness examination, or have any other questions about pet safety, we are here for you