my dog ate a cockroach

Let me guess.

You’re probably here because your dog ate something you hate.

Well, 2 years ago, I had the same question:

“What will likely happen if my dog ate a cockroach?”

Yup, a cockroach. 

A tiny insect with spiky legs that can run up to 3 miles an hour and has been around since the dinosaurs.

What on earth were our dogs thinking, right?

And before we scratch our heads in unison, let’s take heed from Dr. Jennifer L. Summerfield of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB):

so as long as [your dogs are] acting normal, you shouldn't need to worry.

While this is such a relief to hear, it’s vital to know the risks of dogs eating cockroaches in large amounts, including the following threats:

  • Risk of secondary poisoning
  • Accidental roach poison ingestion
  • Potential bacterial and parasitic infection

In this blog, we also included what you need to do if your dog ate a cockroach according to Pet Poison Helpline, with the following reminder:

The sooner an exposure or poisoning is addressed, the easier, less expensive, and safer it is to treat.”

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

what to do if dog eats cockroach

Can dogs eat cockroaches?

Dogs should not eat cockroaches due to the bacteria, diseases, or poison they carry that can harm your pup.

Dogs eating cockroaches may not immediately show signs of intoxication. 

However, take your dogs to the vet if you notice them experiencing extreme weakness, muscle tremors, or diarrhea.

Why Do Dogs Eat Cockroaches?

Dogs may eat cockroaches out of curiosity or when their prey drive is in full swing.

And just like any creeping thing, your dog’s knack for chasing roaches can lead them into trouble.

Chances are, your pups will see these insects as a reward after chasing them endlessly.

What to Do When My Dog Ate a Cockroach

When your dog ate a cockroach but seems fine, what you can do this time is to still pay attention to your pup’s body reactions.

If cockroaches carry poison, signs of intoxication can show in more or less 1 hour.

And in cases of parasite or bacteria-carrying roaches, signs of infection can show in 12 hours or more — even weeks for some.

Whichever the case may be, here are some vital things you can do when your dog ate a cockroach:

Watch for signs 

Dogs eating cockroaches can happen anytime.

While you can take preventive measures, there comes a time when you bump into your pup munching on something crunchy on the floor.

And, the thing with some dogs is they don’t always show signs of trouble immediately.

So, better be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

If you notice your dog not acting its normal self, don’t hesitate to visit your vet immediately.

Or might as well follow the next option below.

Call the Pet Poison Helpline

Not only in severe cases but for your dog’s safety, call the Pet Poison Helpline via (855) 764 – 7661.

The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24/7 animal poison control center known as the only licensed veterinary contact center in the world.

In cases of emergency, the Pet Poison Helpline suggests the following instructions:

  • Remove your dog from the area immediately.
  • Check your dog for any breathing difficulty or abnormal reactions.
  • Do not give any at-home medications or self-remedies.
  • Avoid forcing your dog to vomit without consulting your vet or Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Call Pet Poison Helpline or contact your vet immediately.

Can cockroaches make dogs sick

My Dog Ate a Cockroach: Is it Harmful?

Dogs eating cockroaches, especially in small portions, may not cause them harm.

But the fact that roaches are one of the dirtiest insects out there is concerning.

What more when ingested, right?

So, here are some reasons why cockroaches are harmful to your dogs:

1. Risk of Secondary Poisoning

What do you usually do when you encounter a roach on your way to the kitchen?

Well, for me, the first thing that comes to mind is to smack it with a slipper or spray it with an insect killer.

Yup, the presence of cockroaches harnesses my inner ninja once in a while.

While insect sprays can make getting rid of them pretty easier, some roaches are just tough enough.

And unfortunately, your dogs are vulnerable to secondary poisoning by accidentally munching on a sprayed roach.

When this happens, you may notice the following symptoms of secondary poisoning in your dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Skin irritation
  • Incoordination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Shaking or muscle tremors

If your dog shows any of the signs of poisoning, call your vet or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. 

Relevant Read6 Cleaning Products That May Be Poisoning Your Dog

2. Allergies Due to Cockroach Saliva

While this 6-legged pest is posing a poisoning alarm in your dogs, roaches can also cause them skin irritation and other allergies.

Although allergic reactions occur more commonly in hoomans, the roach’s saliva, shells, and feces can still potentially harm your pups.

And symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs include the following:

3. Potential Bacterial Infection

Salmonella infections are common in dogs that eat cockroaches and lizards.

Not only that, this bacteria can contaminate your dog’s food and water, too.

And when your dogs get salmonella infection from eating cockroaches, they may suffer from gastroenteritis or inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

And this gut problem often shows the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Meanwhile, dogs that eat cockroaches are also prone to streptococcus and staphylococcus infections, which cause irritation in your pups in the following areas:

  • Skin
  • Lungs
  • Genitals
  • Urinary tract

4. Parasitic Infection

Cockroaches also carry parasites like tapeworms.

It may not cause an alarm in adult dogs — except for too much ingestion — but puppies are the most vulnerable subject of infection.

And this causes the following conditions in your puppies:

  • Anemia
  • Intestinal blockages
  • Reduced growth rate

Another parasite that roaches carry is the stomach worms or the phylsaloptera.

Once ingested by dogs, this worm lives and sticks itself to your pup’s stomach lining and feeds on its tissue and blood.

This parasitic infection may come unnoticed in your dogs.

But in severe cases, like internal bleeding, your Fidos may have the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

Relevant Read4 Common Types of Worms in Dog Poop

My Dog Ate A Cockroach: Can They Sense Roaches?

With over 300 million scent receptors in their nose, there’s no wonder why dogs like to chase and torment cockroaches.

And not just that, your pups also have amazing hearing abilities of 60 Hz than us, hoomans.

When your Fidos detect a roach on their radar, you may notice the following body language:

  • Sniffing
  • Focused movements
  • Heads tilted to one side
  • Raised ears, moving from side to side

While cockroaches don’t necessarily cause chaos with their tiny movements, dogs can bolt into action when they see one.

And right before you know it, your Fidos are already enjoying a little midnight treat.

Note: Not all dogs eat cockroaches.

Some pups tend to play with cockroaches when they see one creeping on the floor.

Relevant Read: TOP #116: How Getting Rid of Mice and Insects Could Poison Dogs

What if my dog eats a poisoned roach

My Dog Ate A Cockroach Poison: Is it Toxic?

Cockroach poison is toxic to dogs. 

And according to the National Pesticide Information Center, the boric acid content, even in DIY insect killers, is harmful to pets.

Caution: Doses greater than 631 mg of boric acid per kilogram of body weight are considered to be hazardous.

Surprisingly, pets like dogs and cats are attracted to eating cockroach baits due to their sugar content and appealing taste.

Although the toxicity is formulated for small insects, it’s still harmful to your dogs once ingested in large doses.

But if your dog has stomach sensitivity, then watch out for the following symptoms of poisoning:

  • Seizure
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in the throat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Skin redness or irritation

However, in severe cases, liver or kidney failure can occur.

What to Do When My Dog Ate Cockroach Poison

When your dogs come into contact with a cockroach poison or have eaten it, the following instructions can help:

  • Rinse your dog’s mouth immediately with clean water.
  • Clean other body parts that may have had contact with the poison.
  • Call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.
  • Do not force your dog to vomit unless instructed by a professional.

My Dog Ate A Cockroach: FAQs

Can cockroaches make dogs sick? 

Cockroaches can make dogs sick, especially when ingested in large amounts. 

Roaches carry bacteria, parasites, and poison which can lead to stomach upsets in your dogs.

And in severe cases, your dogs can suffer from secondary poisoning if they ate a cockroach that was sprayed with an insecticide.

Are cockroaches poisonous to dogs?

Cockroaches can be poisonous to dogs, especially when eaten in large amounts.

That’s because insect-killing sprays can stay on the roach’s body and cause secondary poisoning in dogs.

When this happens, your dogs can experience vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremor, or excessive drooling.

Don’t hesitate to contact your vet immediately.

Can dogs get parvo from cockroaches? 

Dogs can get parvo from cockroaches. These insects can carry the virus from one place to another.

That being said, the parvovirus can survive on surfaces like carpets, clothing, and playgrounds. 

And especially in a heavily roach-infested house, your dogs are at risk.

What if my dog eats a poisoned roach?

Dogs eating poisoned cockroaches can cause them harm when ingested in large amounts.

The toxicity in roach insecticides may be minimal to harm your dog, but this can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive drooling in dogs with stomach sensitivity.

Check with your vet when you notice your dogs aren’t in their normal state after cockroach ingestion.

Can dogs be allergic to cockroaches?

Dogs can be allergic to cockroaches due to the insects’ feces, saliva, and shells.

And symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs include itchy paws, poor coat quality, non-stop sneezing, and excessive scratching.

Some dogs with asthma even experience respiratory issues when they come in contact with cockroaches.

Can dogs get worms from eating cockroaches?

Dogs can get worms from eating cockroaches, including tapeworms and stomach worms.

These parasites live in your dog’s stomach lining and feed on its body to survive.

While symptoms can be difficult to detect at first, your dogs can experience diarrhea, weight loss, bloated abdomen, and fecal worms.

And in severe cases, your pups can suffer from internal bleeding.

can dogs eat cockroaches

My Dog Ate A Cockroach: Before You Go…

Sharing this blog with you brings back the time when my dog ate a cockroach 2 years ago.

Oh, how can I forget that dreadful day?

As a newbie pup parent, I couldn’t help but get paranoid over my furry buddy, who happily ate the insect I hate the most.

Luckily, there were no signs of trouble after hours, days, and weeks of monitoring my pooch.

But, one thing I did back then that I think helped my dog was to seek my vet the day after.

And during our visit, my vet gave my pup a vitamin shot just to be sure.

Fortunately, weeks before the cockroach-eating spree happened, I got my dog vaccinated with an anti-parvo shot, too.

So, this gave me a sort of assurance that my naughty furball’s system can fight against the parvovirus that roaches carry.

The bottom line: It’s vital to have regular visits to your vet and not skip your dog’s vaccinations.

You’ll never know what they’ll eat next, right?

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Compassion for pets is fuel to Lenin's lifelong mission. As a fur mom to a Havanese dog and 6 stray cats, Lenin sees the joy in rescuing and giving pets a chance at a forever home. Even in her career as a freelancer, Lenin focused on writing everything about pets — from breed profiles to nutrition down to some of their interesting facts.