Can Dogs Eat Cockroaches? 7 Symptoms You Should Watch For

Can Dogs Eat Cockroaches? Photo of a dog looking to a cockroach.

Of course, your dog had to eat a cockroach that was skittering across the floor, right? You might be feeling grossed out. But, can dogs eat cockroaches? Do you need to panic about your dog eating a cockroach? Here’s what you should know.

Roaches aren’t poisonous as far as the bug itself. However, they can often carry parasites and diseases that can make your dog sick if he eats them. This can also be complicated by the presence of poison that many pest control professionals use to kill cockroaches. All around, eating cockroaches may not be dangerous, but it’s not recommended either.

Are roaches harmful to dogs?

Roaches themselves are harmless to dogs. Like any other, they are a bug and make for a crunchy afternoon snack for your dog! Since they don’t bite or sting, you won’t need to worry about causing swelling in your dog’s mouth or throat as he eats them.

The only possible exception to this is if your dog has an allergy to cockroaches. In this case, he may experience an allergic reaction, which can cause swelling. However, this is very rare, and you can know this by having an allergy test conducted!

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Is it safe for my dog to eat cockroaches?

It’s safe for your dog to eat cockroaches, all things considered. The bug itself can easily be digested (though it may cause some mild irritation), and these skittering creatures are hard to get more than one at a time. The more they eat, the more indigestion symptoms will appear, so keep this in mind.

The two possible complications are parasites or bacteria and secondary poisoning. Of the two, the parasites and bacteria are more likely.

Dogs (and humans) are susceptible to many of the parasites that cockroaches carry on them. The top ones include tapeworms and salmonella. Cockroaches can then pass those on to your dog, and your dog will then have an infestation or infection. The symptoms of these are tough to spot. 

The good news is that eating a single cockroach isn’t often enough to cause a serious problem. Most dogs can easily fight an infestation or infection at its minuscule level, especially since they’ll be up to date on their vaccinations. However, you will want to get a booster shot for your dog next time that he is in at the vet just to be on the safe side.

The second complication is the possibility of secondhand poisoning. Whether it’s a barrier kind of poison or a dust poison that they ingest, both can pass on any poison to your dog when they eat them. If you have a reason to suspect that the cockroach may have been poisoned, calling your vet is a great idea.

The good news is that even in cases where the cockroach died from the poison (and your dog ate it), there isn’t enough to hurt your dog seriously. 

Why do dogs eat roaches?

Dogs have a strong prey drive that isn’t activated very often. When something like a cockroach is scurrying around looking for food, your dog will immediately make it his job to capture it to protect his own territory.

Enabling this prey drive isn’t a bad thing — it’s actually good for their mental health — but chasing and eating roaches is no pet parent’s idea of a good time.

Cockroaches have no nutritional value to them, but many dog lizard brains will see them as a great snack and protein-rich food source nonetheless. So, they eat them!

What to do if my dog ate a cockroach

If your dog’s eaten a cockroach, there’s no reason to panic. Dogs can digest them with mild difficulty and simply enjoy their snack with little to no reaction. This is especially so if you notice that it is only one cockroach!

If you are feeling concerned about it, however, you’ll want to monitor your dog for symptoms of a complication. We’ve gone into more detail on that below for you!

My puppy ate a dead cockroach; should I be worried?

A dead cockroach is an easy grab for puppies and dogs. Puppies tend to have more sensitivities than adults, so you can expect some tummy troubles as your pup tries to digest it.

You’ll also want to make sure that you have him checked for infections or parasite problems, as these can be more serious with puppies.

The other thing to think about is what caused the cockroach to die! These things are notoriously difficult to kill, making them hated by all homeowners and many pest control professionals.

If you suspect that it might be poison, you’ll want to take your puppy to the vet as soon as possible since it is more serious in a puppy.

What if my dog ate more than one cockroach?

It’s much the same. Monitor for symptoms (below) and do what you can to keep your dog from eating any more of them. The more that he eats, the worse the possible complications might be. This also includes bacteria and parasites, as well as simple indigestion.

Symptoms to watch for after a dog ate a cockroach

Top signs of a problem as far as infections or secondary poisoning (or just a bad reaction) include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Dehydration
  3. Lack of appetite
  4. Coughing
  5. Diarrhea and vomiting
  6. Fever
  7. Restlessness

The more of these that your dog shows, the more they struggle with the cockroach. If you have reason to believe that they are not doing well and are in distress, you’ll want to take them to your vet.

The sooner that they intervene, the safer and healthier your dog is going to be, after all. This is especially important if you have a puppy or a senior dog!

Even when it comes to the indigestion symptoms, you’ll want to take your dog in if you notice that they last longer than 24 hours. This is the standard time for a dog to digest the bug and come out in a bowel movement.

Should I let my dog eat cockroaches?

If you’ve concluded that it may be more or less okay to let your dog eat cockroaches, you are correct. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to let them! If it makes you uncomfortable, you can intervene!

There is no nutritional value to a cockroach, and you can quickly meet your dog’s prey drive with toys and other methods. If it makes you squirmy, then you can safely prevent your dog from eating cockroaches! You might want to call in pest control, though.

In the end

Roaches themselves usually are harmless. They can occasionally pass on bacteria and parasites to dogs, but they can receive treatment for this. Poisoning is a possible complication, too. Most dogs just experience indigestion or no reaction at all.

Cockroaches are considered “safe” but not entirely recommended for dogs to eat.

Cockroaches are gross and creepy, but dogs enjoy hunting and eating them. If he does, you’ll want to know what symptoms to watch for and how to spot a budding problem.

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Andre Neves

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.