Pets, in general, adore the outdoors. Nowadays, even cats are being put on leashes and taken outside on walks.
And when it comes to dog walking, we have absolutely no doubt that you’ve been accosted by the scene of your dog catching a fly or a bug with their mouth, then screaming at them to open their mouth and “spit it out,” more times than you care to count. But, alas, it’s often too late!
So, can your dog be harming themself when they eat a fruit fly or a mosquito? That is what we will discuss in-depth today.
Are Flies Toxic to Dogs?
The short answer is no. Most flies are non-toxic to pets, or at least that’s the case for regular house flies and the flying insects you usually encounter when outdoors.
So, this hunting habit rarely causes health issues or life-threatening conditions simply because, more often than not, your pet only ends up getting one or two flies or insects. These small amounts hardly ever cause harm.
Yet, keep in mind that not all bugs are safe for dogs to eat. Yes, flies are often safe to consume, but other bugs can cause your dog temporary gastric upset, vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, along with a bunch of other symptoms.
So, for educational purposes, we’ve listed them out for all our pet owners out there:
- Asian Lady Beetles
- Spiders (Brown Recluse & Black Widow)
- Monarch Butterflies
- Stink Bugs
- Bees (Sky Raisins) and Wasps
- Red Ants
Now, we’ll list the bugs that are safe for dogs to eat. Just keep in mind that we’re still speaking about one to three bugs, maybe five bugs tops, but that is our maximum.
An overhaul of insects as dog food is bound to cause, at the very least, some of the symptoms we’ve discussed earlier. So, make sure that your dogs eat insects in moderation.
And as always, immediately contact veterinary medical services if your dogs start exhibiting any signs of sickness, even if they’ve just consumed one of these non-toxic insects:
- House Flies
- Fruit Flies
- Drain Flies
- June Bugs
- Lightning Bugs or Fireflies
Can a Dog Get Sick From Eating Flies?
If your dog eats insects, will he/she get sick? We’ve already discussed how this depends on the species or type of insects that the dog has ingested.
Also, keep in mind that flies can carry and transmit around 65 different diseases to us humans, including typhoid fever, and our dogs are no different.
So, if flies are swarming your dog’s food bowl, it’s definitely a must for you to throw out the food and vigorously clean the bowl, then change the position of the food bowl to prevent this fly attack from happening again.
Moreover, if your dog has had a big haul of flies, his/her G.I.T. system might not be able to properly deal with such a quantity. So, this meal might end up causing irritation or other health problems.
What Happens When a Dog Eats a Fly?
Most dogs suffer no issues when it comes to eating flies, so why do some bugs cause a bit of trouble?
The acidic fluid in the dogs’ G.I. T digests everything as a general rule. So, any parasites, larvae, or anything that the fly or the bug could’ve been carrying will be broken down and digested, which is why things can go downhill.
So, let’s expand a little more on how that can unfold.
Having an upset stomach is the most common way for your dogs to express that they might have overdone it. According to the symptoms (mild, moderate, or severe), dog owners can either deal with this on their own with some over-the-counter drugs that will relieve the dogs. Or, they might need to pack them up and go see the vet to ensure that everything’s all right.
Tapeworms are present in abundance on fleas, and they’re one of the most common parasites for both cats and dogs. Unfortunately, they do have an exhausting set of symptoms. Yet, treatment is available and relatively easy to administer. And, mostly, tapeworms will be discovered during your monthly vet checkup.
Heartworm disease is one of the most horrible things that can ever happen to our furry little friends. Although there’s more than one source for the heartworm larvae, mosquitoes do carry them.
So, if your dog has attacked and successfully conquered a mosquito that’s carrying heartworm larvae, they’ll, unfortunately, be affected. Thus, they might require extensive treatment.
This isn’t directly related to whether or not your dogs eat bugs, but it’s somewhat related. Some dogs, specifically sporting breeds or working dogs, need two to three hours of exercise daily, which isn’t necessarily the case for other dogs.
These breeds get excessively bored when they don’t get their proper exercise. So, what they do is they figure out their own ways of filling time with anything that they view as exercise, which definitely includes a nice game of insect chasing.
Unfortunately, this might carry over with your dog to the time when there isn’t an insect or a fly to chase. So how will this dog behave? First, you’ll find them chasing flies that don’t exist, which is a sign of O.C.D. This will, sadly, require heavy treatment and maybe even a few primary scans to determine how the vet will proceed.
Physaloptera / Stomach Worm Infections
This is another type of parasite carried by bugs that feed on feces, such as cockroaches, crickets, and beetles. When your dog ingests one of these bugs, the parasites start to multiply, and they start causing your dog to get sick through severe vomiting.
Swelling mostly happens when dogs consume or come in contact with stinging insects. So, you’ll mostly be faced with a swelling issue if your dog approaches a bee or a wasp, and you’ll need to see the vet!
If your dog has fixated on bees and spiders as their other prey, you might very well expect symptoms of poisoning to appear on your little friend.
Keep in mind this could be incredibly dangerous depending on the species of spider that your dog has approached. So, don’t take these things too lightly.
A fever and some vomiting aren’t usually what could be considered severe symptoms, but they can easily be deadly if caused by venom.
Why Do Dogs Enjoy Eating Bugs and Sky Raisins?
Another critical question is why do dogs eat bugs? Why can’t they just ignore bugs and go on with their life skipping the risk of parasites and vet visits? Well, first of all, dogs don’t think like that.
To them, this is a sport, specifically if they’re working or hunting dogs. So it’s more of an instinct for them to chase anything that is moving around. After all, they do chase their own tails, so what are you expecting?!
The bottom line is that dogs get a lot of excitement and pride out of it, especially when they do actually overthrow their prey.
Another thing is that some dogs actually do like the feel and taste of bugs in their mouth. That, of course, doesn’t go for the stink bugs, as they do leave a terrible taste in their mouths. So they’ll learn quickly not to approach this specific fly ever again.
How to Stop My Dog From Eating Flies?
It’s safe to say that 99.9% of dog owners would like their canine buddies to stop eating bugs, especially because it’s so hard to keep an eye on them all the time.
Besides, if they come to you exhibiting any symptoms, you might not even think about the fact that they may have ingested a toxic bug. So, what can you do to keep your pets from eating this fly or that bug?
Logically, the first thing you can start with is training. Whenever you see your dog roaming around a household fly or chasing a cockroach, be very stern with them. “Leave it” is the order you’re going to use, and make sure that you stick with your resolve every time you see your dog around any type of bug.
Another thing that you can do is try to eliminate bugs as much as possible from your home environment. Now, let’s be realistic, that can never happen 100%, and you must keep in mind that most pesticides are toxic for pets.
Consequently, you’ll need to search for pet-friendly pesticides that won’t harm your dog when you spray it.
Wine, Yeast, or Beer Catchers
Some bugs like the sweet flowery smell and taste of wine, while others are more attracted to the calmer taste of yeast or beer. So what you’re going to do is mix some wine, yeast, or beer with some water and some dish soap.
Next, put it either in the wine bottle, opened of course, or on a flat surface plate or container in your front or back yard.
The bugs will be attracted to the scent, and they’ll land on them. The dish soap will then prevent them from leaving, and you can dispose of them accordingly. Just make sure that your dog isn’t around when you do it.
To recap, is it a problem that your dog is catching flies with their mouths? No, as long as it’s done in moderation and as long as your best friend isn’t going after toxic bugs.
So, always keep a vigilant eye on your pets, and refer to a professional vet if anything looks to be out of order.