To your surprise and astonishment, you’ve seen your dog eat a cockroach. But should you be concerned and is there anything you now need to do in response? Here is what you need to know.
So, what should you do if your dog has eaten a cockroach? You should closely monitor your dog in the following hours. While cockroaches are not inherently dangerous to a dog, and likely will not make them sick, they could be carrying either poison or disease. Both of which can make your dog sick. If you notice negative symptoms contact a veterinarian as soon as you can.
To you and me, the thought of eating a cockroach is entirely disgusting.
In fact, for some of you reading you may not even be able to go anywhere near them.
For dogs; that simply is not the case.
And it’s only natural that you are concerned.
They are a pest after all.
The most common type of household pest in North America, by the way.
So the chances of your dogs coming across them are actually quite high.
Making you landing here today is quite an important one.
Besides, you probably will have ran this search at some point anyway.
Nevertheless, let us now explore what eating cockroaches truly means for dogs so that you find out what you need to know, for good.
Not just this time but any incident going forward.
Do Dogs Like To Eat Cockroaches?
Dogs do like to eat cockroaches if given the opportunity, just like any moving creepy, crawly, bug, or insect. This is due to their naturally high prey drive where chasing is an instinctual behavior and one they automatically resort to.
In fact, there are countless reports and instances from owners who relay that their dog has eaten a cockroach – or some other bug.
You only have to run a few online searches to find them, visit a few of pet forums, peruse Reddit or just speak to fellow friends, family, or neighbors who have dogs.
And most of the time, there is a real panic and worry about whether what they have eaten is safe.
Fair enough really.
In fact, it’s the right mentality to have.
And soon we will be covering the dangers cockroaches specifically can pose to our dogs.
Can being the important word here.
Nevertheless, what you should know is that:
- Cockroaches are a very common and widespread pest,
- Dogs will chase and eat them when they can.
Eating them is all part of the game. It’s the reward for the effort.
And you’ll be surprised at how capable dogs are at detecting and finding cockroaches.
Again, we’ll be covering this shortly – so keep reading!
Are Cockroaches Poisonous To Dogs?
Cockroaches are not inherently poisonous to dogs. In fact, they comprise mostly of protein and are eaten in some cultures as a staple food or delicacy. That being said, it is not recommended that you allow or help your dog eat cockroaches – they can carry poison, toxic substances, disease or bacteria that could harm your dog.
Assuming we lived in a world where an insect could go about their lives without coming into contact with a whole host of dangerous substances in their environment.
In that world, cockroaches would be perfectly fine for a dog to consume.
That’s because cockroaches do not inherently carry anything that could harm a dog.
But that is just not the reality.
Instead, the cockroaches that we find in our homes are subject to all sorts of potentially harmful substances.
Either that they come into contact with naturally, or as a result of human intervention trying to control and/or eradicate them.
And this is where they can become problematic.
Very problematic in some cases.
As we shall now see in the following section.
When Can Cockroaches Harm A Dog
Cockroaches can harm a dog through three different instances; they are carrying disease, parasites or have been poisoned.
Let us now explore each one to give you an idea of the dangers:
Cockroaches move freely in their environment and often pass through drains, sewers, and wet damp conditions. As they feed on feces as well as any other food sources (like rotting garbage) they can find, they can pick up bacteria that cause disease.
Worse still, ingested bacteria can survive in the cockroach’s digestive system for months or even years, and are passed on if they are consumed or through their droppings.
So, if your dog is unfortunate enough to consume one of these diseased critters, they will likely develop negative symptoms – ranging from digestive upset (gastroenteritis), diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and general weakness.
As a widespread pest that people are keen to get rid of, its common for cockroaches to be carrying poison on them.
Besides, the intention of a lot of these poisoning products is to not kill the cockroach there and then.
Instead, the intention is that the cockroach goes back to its nest and spreads it with other cockroaches.
And if you don’t put roach poison down, your neighbors might be.
Just remember cockroaches roam freely and will go from house to house regularly.
And as you can imagine, roach poison is toxic.
Thankfully, the dosage required to kill a cockroach should be low enough not to cause serious illness in your dog should they proceed to eat one.
That being said, negative symptoms can arise so you do need to monitor closely and contact a vet promptly if you do notice any adverse signs.
Digestive upset being the main one to watch out for, which can result in dehydration if not managed.
Cockroaches Carrying Parasties
Lastly, cockroaches are often a source of parasites – often carrying the Physaloptera spp. (the stomach worm). Roundworms are also common in cockroaches too.
Both of which can be transferred over to your dog if they ingest a roach carrying them.
And these worms will attach to a dog’s stomach and intestinal lining – causing an infection of the digestive tract and stealing important nutrition.
Vomiting, dark feces and general lethargy are all symptoms to watch out for.
Thankfully parasites can be treated with a course of antibiotics or other treatment provided by a veterinarian if contracted of course.
Do Cockroaches Stay Away From Dogs?
Cockroaches will naturally stay away from dogs and dogs can deter new cockroaches from claiming residence in your home. Although, dogs are unable to remove or eradicate established populations or any existing infestations in your home.
You’ll need other means for that.
And as we can see above, we should never use our dogs as natural pest control against these, either.
But, the good news is that cockroaches will naturally attempt to stay away from your dog.
That doesn’t mean they won’t still be present though.
They’ll likely just be concealed.
Cockroaches can enter a house in various different ways – literally any opening you can imagine.
When inside, they will actively look for damp, warm areas.
They can also live off a range of substances – even wallpaper!
And here comes the challenge.
Dogs have an incredibly strong sense of hearing and smell.
And they are incredibly capable of detecting cockroaches when they are present.
Listening out to them, smelling them.
Sounds crazy but it’s true.
So, if your home is harboring even a small population of roaches, your dog may be listening out for them.
And will likely take the opportunity to chase, or eat them, given the opportunity.
What To Do Now Your Dog Has Eaten A Cockroach
If your dog has eaten a cockroach, there is little you can or should do in the immediate realm of time other than to monitor your dog closely for sickness.
And sickness will likely present itself in 1-24 hours after ingestion if they are too.
Digestive upset, lack of appetite, lethargy, perhaps vomiting in more extreme cases.
And if any symptoms do present themselves, you should contact a vet or the Pet Poison Helpline.
While your dog will unlikely need treatment, it’s important to get your dog checked and monitored.
They may even need to help keep your dog hydrated through to the fluid loss they lose through diarrhea or vomiting.
And if your dog has contracted some form of parasite or worm, they may be able to detect it early and provide you with deworming medication.
Or at least, let you know when to check for these parasites in your dog at a later stage or advise you on what to watch out for.
But otherwise, your dog may just go about its normal business.
You may not even notice anything changes following the ingestion.
In fact, that’s likely for most of you reading.
Dogs do eat cockroaches; unfortunately, it’s just a result of their high prey drive and keen desire to play or eat!
Thankfully, cockroaches do not often pose a significant threat.
Nevertheless, they can still cause adverse reactions and symptoms.
And sometimes, you may indeed need the help and support of a vet.
So, the best way to approach the eating of a cockroach is this.
Sit tight, monitor closely, and contact a vet if and when.
Remember, if in doubt call a medical professional.
Besides, in the immediate realm of time, dogs can suffer greatly from abdominal pain and dehydration.
A vet may be able to support your dog during this time.
Long term, the complications of any ingested worms is certainly worth the checkup.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.