One minute you are walking or playing with your dog, the next you see or notice that they have eaten a lizard. What do you do – is it a cause for concern? Naturally, you’ll be concerned, but this is how you should approach it.
So, what should you do if your dog has eaten a lizard? You should watch your dog closely in the hours that follow. Look out for digestive upset including diarrhea and or vomiting. If your dog does show any signs of sickness, or other symptoms like lethargy, unsteadiness or difficult breathing take them to a veterinarian right away. Otherwise, they should be okay.
Perhaps not what you were expecting for the day ahead or not what you thought you would be doing right now several hours ago.
But this is just typical of dog ownership, isn’t it?
They eat all kinds of different things they shouldn’t.
It seems that almost anything is on the menu for a dog.
If they get an opportunity, they’ll likely take it.
You need to be so careful.
Nevertheless, back to lizards specifically.
Let’s see how problematic they can be when consumed by our dogs!
What Will Happen If My Dog Eats A Lizard?
What will happen if your dog eats a lizard depends primarily on what type of lizard they ate, how much of them they ate, among other factors like the age and size of your dog.
It is therefore context-dependent.
However, most of the time dogs do appear to be okay.
At least according to a whole host of anecdotal reports from fellow dog owners.
Some dogs proceed to throw up the lizard.
Others go about their day without any discomfort or without any issues at all.
But that does not mean that dogs never experience negative side effects.
There are poisonous lizards out there, and even in lizards that do not carry any poison, they can transmit other harmful things to our dogs.
As we will soon see in the section below.
Dogs can get sick from Lizards; whether they get eat or bitten by a poisonous or non-poisonous lizard. The severity of symptoms however does depend on the circumstances and time to recovery will depend on context.
And here is why.
There are three main potential issues with lizards.
They could be carrying any one of the following:
Lizards, among other reptiles, often carry a lot of bacteria.
And one of the most commonly carried types of bacteria is salmonella.
In fact, many reptiles often naturally carry this on their skin or in their guts.
And it can quite easily transfer over to your dog.
This can cause gastroenteritis (where diarrhea and vomiting are likely).
And a dog does not necessarily need to eat a lizard to contract Salmonella either.
It can be through just simple contact.
While they are somewhat rare, poisonous lizards do exist.
Of course, this depends on geographical location, but wild poisonous lizards are known to roam freely in parts of North/South America and other continents such as Australia.
They are often native to desert regions, and primarily inject their poison via biting.
While relatively rare, it is something to be aware of.
It is a possibility.
Poisonous lizards are capable of killing a dog or putting them in a critical life-threatening condition too.
In the case of a bite, you may even notice bleeding, teeth left in your dog, or localized swelling.
From there, the onset of symptoms including but not limited to could develop:
- Breathing difficulties,
- Glassy or bloodshot eye
Lizards can also carry intestinal parasites, which can be transferred to your dog following consumption.
Roundworm, Hookworm, and Pinworm are common, with Roundworm perhaps the most likely.
If your dog eats a lizard with parasites, then chances are they will transfer, develop and proliferate in your dog too.
Again, you’ll need to look out for symptoms such as:
- Swollen abdomen,
- Nutritional deficiencies.
- Weight Loss,
Some symptoms are therefore seen in the short term, like dehydration, others more long-term, like nutritional deficiencies and weight loss.
What To Do Now Your Dog Has Eaten A Lizard
If your dog has eaten a lizard then you will need to closely monitor your dog, watching out for any discomfort or symptoms that develop. You will need to pay close attention to differentiate their response.
Sometimes, dogs will not present with any symptoms – and in that case, little to nothing needs to be done.
Other times, a dog may only suffer from light, one-off vomiting to throw up the lizard.
In such an instance, keeping your dog hydrated and well-fed may be all that needs to be done.
But in more serious situations, where your dog begins to suffer from other accompanying symptoms – you should absolutely call your vet. And right away.
If you suspect the lizard was poisonous, you could always contact the Pet Poison Hotline too.
In fact, this is generally advised if you do suspect your dog has eaten anything they shouldn’t have or are generally unsure of what to do and how to approach it.
And remember, symptoms could come on very shortly after the incident, as could be the case in the consumption of a poisoned lizard, or even longer-term in the context of intestinal parasites.
And as symptoms of bacterial infection, poisoning, and intestinal worms all overlap – trying to identify and diagnose yourself is not generally a good idea.
Besides, if treatment is required, it will likely differ depending on the context.
Vets may proceed to induce vomiting in your dog (depending on your dog’s age, weight size, when they ate the lizard, etc).
Or they may administer intravenous or subcutaneous fluids to keep your dog hydrated. This often follows more intense bouts of diarrhea or vomiting.
Otherwise, if they notice or suspect parasites, they may prescribe or advise deworming medication.
Sometimes they will closely monitor your dog and advise that nothing needs to be done.
With whatever your vet decides to do, it is essential that you continue to support your dog at home.
After any digestive upset and to ensure they have a robust and resilient digestive system forward, you can look to provide them with daily probiotic and prebiotic supplements.
This is the one my vet recommended to me from Amazon:
- Support Fido's Tummy - These functional soft chew supplements have a base of pumpkin and papaya (sources of enzymes) plus probiotics for digestion, bowel, and immune support to care for canine pets.
- Features Clinically Studied DE111 Probiotic - This chewable functional supplement contains DE111, a clinically studied Bacillus subtilis that supports proper digestive function and the immune system.
- Six-Strain Probiotic Powder Blend - These chewables contain six probiotics (live bacteria) that support gut function and proper gut flora for support against occasional diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
- Supports Doggy Gut Flora - Probiotic Bites help support microflora for occasional gastric distress (constipation, indigestion, gas, bloating) support and digestive tract health for your doggie.
- Treat Fido to Tasty Immunity Support - The DE111, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. brevis, L. fermentum, and L. lactis help animal immune response for small, medium, and large breeds.
This will generally help your dog overcome and prevent any future bacterial infection by supporting and boosting its immune system.
A healthy, fully-functioning digestive system also has a range of other positive health-promoting effects – so it is certainly worth the investment.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating A Lizard Again
Chances are, there is little you could have done to prevent your dog from eating a lizard this time round.
Besides these things happen.
Sometimes it’s entirely out of our control.
That being said, here are a few simple tips to try to prevent incidents like this from happening again in the future:
- Harness your dog: whenever you are out on a walk, or in an area/environment that could contain wild animals/reptiles like lizards.
- Keep an eye on your dog and be aware of their location at all times, even if it is in the backyard,
- Consider getting a lizard/ reptile repellent to help minimize lizards visiting your property. This is a great one to get from Amazon
- Teach your dog the “leave it” command to stop your dog from going near or attempting to eat lizards and other wild reptiles/animals/feces etc. You can teach this command with treats, time and practice. First have your dog sit still. Then, place a treat in front of them on the ground in view of your dog, then say the command “leave it.” If they do, reward your dog with a different treat and it is left on the ground. With practice and consistency, this can ensure your dog leaves any lizard or item you want them to by calling the “leave it command”.
- Have treats on hand to call your dog whenever the opportunity to come into contact with a lizard arises.
Should you be concerned if your dog has eaten a lizard… perhaps.
It really is going to come down to the type of lizard your dog has eaten and if and what they could be carrying.
Thankfully, poisonous lizards are relatively rare.
But as they do exist, and there could be a possibility, it does mean you may need to remain vigilant and act promptly if necessary.
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.