Have you noticed that your dog has consumed a moth? Are you wondering whether these insects could harm them? Do you need to respond or react in a certain way in a certain time frame? Well, I’m here to ease your concerns. This is what you should know and exactly how you can respond.
So, what happens if your dog eats a moth? Most dogs can eat moths without experiencing any negative effects. Moths don’t carry diseases or parasites and are non-toxic. If your dog eats a moth, your best option is to continue living like normal while keeping an eye on your dog to see if the new found snack does cause them any tummy trouble.
To help set your mind at ease, we are going to take a closer look at moth eating and what you can do to prevent it from becoming a habit.
Why Do Dogs Eat Moths?
Most of the time, when dogs eat moths, it is out of curiosity and exploration. A dog may not know what the moth is, and when the moth flies by, the dog will bite it out of the air. If a moth is crawling, it may activate a dog’s chasing instinct and end up being eaten by the dog. There are also some dogs who eat moths because they enjoy their flavor or the way that it feels to chew them up.
Because They Can
Dogs don’t normally eat moths as a response to hunger.
Instead, they eat them simply because they can.
When a moth is flying above a dog’s head, it may catch the dog’s attention.
Wanting to investigate, your dog might jump into the air and snatch a fluttering moth from overhead.
Puppies also like to chase and sneak up on moths that are in the grass or on the floor.
Along similar lines, some dogs actually end up eating moths without meaning to.
It’s simply a result of catching them. The intention was never to eat them; it just happened.
Sometimes moths are found in dog food, and your dog may eat a moth or moth larvae as a result.
Moths in the home may be attracted to your bag of dog food as a safe place for laying eggs.
The eggs are hard for people to see and often go unnoticed.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae can eat the dog food.
Sine moth eggs and larvae have no distinct flavor, dogs will unknowingly eat the eggs and larvae if it is on their food.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Moths?
It is considered safe for dogs to eat moths and flies. Moths do not carry any known diseases that might make dogs ill and are non-toxic. Even the larvae of moths do not pose any risk to your dog if swallowed. Moths are not parasites, and most will simply be digested by your dog without any effect on their health.
Just like any food, if your dog quickly eats a large amount of moths, they may feel unwell.
This isn’t a direct result of eating a moth but more the result of eating a lot of something new and different to their stomach.
Small dogs may choke or gag if they try to swallow a moth that hasn’t been properly chewed.
While a dog can eat safely, eat moths; if your dog eats lightning bugs (fireflies), caterpillars, or bees, you may want to give your veterinarian a call.
The biggest concern for an owner whose dog eats moths is a personal ‘gross factor’ over watching your dog eat bugs.
Also, having moths in the home can be a nuisance as they tend to flock to kitchens and other cabinet locations and are hard to get rid of even when they are serving as a snack for your dog.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Moth
There isn’t much that needs to be done if your dog eats a moth. If your dog has a sensitive stomach and you are worried about your dog’s health, the best thing you can do is monitor your dog closely over the next 24 hours. If your dog has persistent vomiting, diarrhea, or acts otherwise unwell, it is always acceptable to call your vet for their opinion on the situation.
If your dog swallows a moth, it is not a medical emergency.
You do not need to encourage your dog to vomit, seek emergency treatment, or lose any sleep under normal circumstances.
Instead, make sure your dog has plenty of access to clean water and their usual food sources while monitoring for any changes in their eating habits.
If you suspect that your dog ate a very large number of fully grown moths, you may want to watch them more closely for signs of digestive trouble.
If for any reason, the dog’s stomach cannot break down the number of moths it has eaten, it may experience intestinal blockage that needs help from a vet.
An event like this would be extremely rare, and again, most dogs are completely fine after eating moths.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Moths Going Forward
To prevent your dog from eating moths, you can try several techniques. When you are outside with your dog, keep them on a leash and teach them the ‘leave it’ command. Take your dog on walks and adventures in places where moths are not likely to gather, and avoid having your dog out with you around lights at night (the lights attract moths and other bugs). If you find moths in your dog food, toss out the dog food and purchase a fresh bag.
Leave It Command
The ‘leave it’ command teaches your dog to change its attention from an object or creature in its environment and instead focus on you.
‘Leave it’ is often used for teaching dogs not to chew up valuable items, to drop toys or other objects, and in this case, it can help get your dog to leave a moth alone.
Many times, if you tell a dog to leave the same object alone enough times, it will eventually lose interest in that item altogether.
Consider A Muzzle
While it is extreme, if you truly do not want your dog to eat moths or other bugs while out on walks, you could consider a cloth muzzle that prevents your dog from being able to eat things it finds outside.
Muzzles come in many sizes and styles.
It is important to work with a trainer if you are going to start muzzling your dog and to make sure the muzzle is only worn for safe and appropriate amounts of time.
As mentioned earlier, sometimes dog food can be a host for moth colonies.
If you notice that your dog food has moths in it, it is time to throw the food out and buy a fresh bag.
By removing moth-infested food and other moth-attracting items from your house, you lower your dog’s opportunity to eat moths.
If you have many moths inside your home, consulting with a pest control company might be helpful.
All in all, moth eating is strange than it is dangerous to our dogs and puppies.
That being said, it can be annoying to have your dog going out of its way to hunt and munch on moths.
By training your dog to leave items at your command and keeping moths out of your home, you lower the chances of needing to deal with a moth eating issue.
If your dog does eat a moth, don’t panic or worry; chances are your dog will be just fine.
However, any time that your dog appears to have digestive problems that last more than a day or severe issues that last more than a few hours, it is never a bad idea to call your veterinarian.
Concerned or wondering what other things your dog can/cannot eat. Check out my related guides below:
- My Dog Ate A Bee [What You Now Need To Do]
- My Dog Ate A Wasp [Should You Be Worried?]
- Dog Ate A Spider [Let’s Hope Its Not One Of These 8]
- My Dog Ate A Cockroach [What You Should Do & Need To Know]
- My Dog Ate A Mouse [Do This Immediately – It’s For The Best]
- My Dog Ate A Lizard [Should You Be Concerned & What To Do]
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.