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Is It Okay for My Pet to Eat Bugs?

Even if your pet is completely satisfied with her dog or cat food and a daily treat, she’s still likely to hunt bugs inside and outside your home—and maybe even eat them. It may be gruesome to watch your feline feast on a helpless moth or see your dog wolf down a juicy grasshopper, but this behavior is natural. As long as it doesn’t lead to unusual symptoms, eating the occasional bug isn’t likely to hurt your pet. Of course, there are some inherent risks in allowing your pet to eat bugs, so consider the following.

Venomous or Toxic Bugs

Spiders, caterpillars, ladybugs, fireflies, and stinkbugs are examples of insects that could irritate your pet’s gastrointestinal tract or even lead to serious health issues in the case of black widow spiders and other more potent insects. If you spot dangerous critters around your house or see your pet attempting to eat one of these venomous or toxic bugs, consider seeking professional extermination services.

Stinging or Biting Bugs

Bees, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, spiders, and horseflies are examples of biting and stinging insects that could injure your pet’s face, mouth, or tongue as she attempts to eat them. Not only could this be painful for your pet, but it could cause an allergic reaction.

Insecticide Toxicity

If you have an insect problem, be careful about the way you handle it. Bug bait can be deadly to pets, whether they ingest it directly or eat a poisoned bug they find. That’s why you should seek pet-friendly ways to rid your home of pests, such as flypaper and diatomaceous earth. You can also call a pet-friendly exterminator for help.


Dogs and cats most often contract worms by eating the feces of an infected animal, but consuming a cockroach, beetle, cricket, flea, or grub that has eaten infected feces can also pass parasites to your pet. Fortunately, getting rid of Physaloptera, tapeworms, and other parasites is usually straightforward, but it’s obviously best to avoid this problem in the first place. Year-round parasite prevention and steering clear of feces-eating bugs are your best bets for keeping your pet worm-free.

The Bottom Line

In general, it’s typically safe for pets to eat houseflies, grasshoppers, ants, moths, and other non-venomous, non-stinging household and garden-variety insects. Cats can often instinctively tell which bugs to avoid, and the nasty taste of a stinkbug may turn them off from bug hunting forever, but you may not want to put that to the test. To cover your bases, consider discouraging your pet from gobbling up bugs of any kind.

Contact Germantown Vet with Any Concerns You Have

You may be worried that your pet ate something she shouldn’t have if she starts vomiting, gagging, having trouble breathing, or showing other signs of an allergic reaction or gastrointestinal distress. If you notice any startling problem with your pet, don’t hesitate to visit Germantown Vet Clinic. We’ll diagnose the problem and help restore your pet to full health.

For answers to other pet health questions, or to schedule an appointment for your dog or cat, please contact Germantown Vet at (240) 252-7467.

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