If your dog is darting around your yard randomly, you may notice that he’s chasing a grasshopper! Can dogs eat grasshoppers? Are those dangerous? Read on to find out!
Dogs can, and regularly do, eat grasshoppers. Between their size and their erratic movements, dogs see them as a fun treat to catch!
Grasshoppers in and of themselves are safe for dogs to eat. Still, they can be the “transportation method” for potential dangers, including insecticides/pesticides, parasites, worms, and intestinal blockages.
Below is the information you’ll need and want to help keep them safe!
Why do dogs eat grasshoppers?
Dogs have notoriously strange tastebuds. You may notice that they are prone to eating some bugs and not others. Grasshoppers tend to be amongst the bugs that they enjoy the most. Some think it’s because of the “hunt” since they will work hard to get away from your dog. Others think that it’s because they simply taste good or have a high protein count.
The bottom line is that no one really knows why dogs eat grasshoppers, but it’s mostly just general interest! Dogs check things out with their mouths, so many of them are just curious about what the grasshopper feels like. Their lizard brain also leads them to seek and then eat their prey. Since they hunt the grasshoppers down and capture them, this biological instinct may lead them to eat their prey simply because it rewards their effort!
What happens if my dog eats a grasshopper?
Any potential complications will depend mostly on how many grasshoppers your furry friend ate. If he ate just one, then he should be fine. If he ate 2 or 4, complications are more likely. These potential complications include:
- Secondary poisoning
Compared to humans, most dogs have sensitive stomachs. Having several grasshoppers puts a lot of strain on their digestive tract, and this can cause them to feel nauseous. Grasshoppers are rich food sources, so their stomachs will certainly be upset if they “overeat” on top of this rich food source.
As they struggle to digest this snack, their system will struggle even at the best of times. Dogs can’t really break down/digest bugs, including grasshoppers, so this indigestion will cause diarrhea and often flatulence! If your dog eats 2 or 3, this taxes his system more, and these symptoms are more likely.
Both nausea and diarrhea often last up to 24 hours until your dog has gotten it out of their system. While you might think that this will be enough to prove to them that they shouldn’t eat these hoppy treats if they want to avoid this in the future, it often is not.
Another possible complication, mainly if he ate several grasshoppers, is that he may end up with a blockage! This would be a jumble of chewed-up bugs, essentially (gross, we know) that will get stuck in the intestinal tract and won’t budge. This is a severe complication and will require an emergency trip to the vet to be removed.
If you have reason to think that your dog is suffering from a blockage, keep in mind that this is not something you can “wait out.” If left untreated, a blockage in the intestines can kill your dog.
Above, we talked about how grasshoppers can sometimes be a transportation method for parasites and worms. This is mostly because grasshoppers and many other bugs can feed off of feces. Since feces is teeming with parasites and worms, amongst other things, these can transfer to your dog when he eats them.
Since dogs get vaccinations for many common parasites, this will help give them immunity. However, you will want to have him checked out if you notice that there are worms in his poop or he shows any danger signs (more on that later).
This is the worst complication. It can happen with a single grasshopper, but it is more common with 2+ grasshoppers. If the eaten grasshopper has spent any time on a property sprayed with a pesticide or an insecticide, it will carry it with them. This will then transfer to your dog and can poison them.
Will my dog get sick from eating grasshoppers?
It’s very possible that your dog can get sick from eating grasshoppers. This is especially likely if he ate 2+. It’s normal for healthy dogs to have nausea and diarrhea for 24 hours after eating a few grasshoppers.
If your dog is older, has a sensitive stomach, or is just small in size, you may notice these symptoms even if your dog has eaten one grasshopper.
Can a dog die from eating a grasshopper?
If you’re panicking because you saw your dog eat one grasshopper, take a breath! One grasshopper often has so mild a reaction in dogs that you don’t need to panic. While all mentioned risks are still possible, they are less likely and less severe with eating a single grasshopper, even less if you get your dog to spit it out!
My dog ate a grasshopper: what symptoms should I watch for?
Knowing what to look for will, give you the best chance to spot any possible complications sooner rather than later. Since time is always a really important factor, watching for symptoms is essential! Common signs of a problem include:
- Signs of distress
- Excessive panting
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of consciousness
- Disorientation and confusion
Whether one or all of these signs, they often indicate that something more serious is going on. It could be the beginning of an obstruction or something more time-sensitive, such as poisoning. Regardless, don’t wait to get him into the vet. The sooner, the better.
You’ll also want to take him to the vet if you notice that he is still dealing with diarrhea and nausea even well after the 24-hour mark. If you want to call first, that’s okay. Some may tell you to wait 48 hours before bringing him in.
It’s a good idea to call your vet anyway just so that they are on alert that you may need to bring your dog in later for an emergency appointment. While they have you on the phone, they may even give you some advice on what to do or watch for. Great for peace of mind!
Can dogs eat cooked grasshoppers?
Generally, cooked grasshoppers tend to be the “safest” option compared to raw ones. Since they’re bred and processed for food use, they’d have no insecticides or parasites to worry about!
However, they are almost always seasoned since humans won’t just sit down to a stewed bowl of grasshoppers (ew). These seasonings are never good for dogs, and quite a few of them are downright dangerous.
The safest thing is never to feed your dog cooked grasshoppers unless you are certain that they are just literally grasshoppers that are cooked!
To dogs, grasshoppers are simply snacks they get to chase. In most cases, grasshoppers are safe snacks for dogs if they only eat one or possibly two.
However, grasshoppers can pass on parasites and insecticides to your dog, which can cause complications. Eating too many can also cause intestinal blockages.
Dogs enjoy hunting grasshoppers, so they are prone to eating them. Eating one is often relatively danger-free, but understanding the concern and what to watch for is essential!
As a responsible pet parent, you’ll want to know what to look for and when to worry!
Have someone with a dog who is prone to eating every bug possible? Consider sharing this with them!