Can Dogs Eat June Bugs? Symptoms You Should Know About

Can Dogs Eat June Bugs? Photo of a dog with a June Bug by its side.

Dogs love to chase bugs and will quite often eat their catch, too. Can dogs eat June bugs? How dangerous are June bugs for dogs? Here’s what you need to know!

June bugs can cause a mild concern to dogs if they eat several of them at one time. They do not bite or sting, so there is no harm from the bug itself, but they can cause indigestion in your dog since they aren’t digestible. Complications include vomiting and diarrhea, but an intestinal blockage is possible, as is a parasite infection. Rarely, secondary poisoning is possible, too. Below is everything that you need to know!

What happens if my dog eats a June bug?

More than likely, they’ll simply enjoy their leggy, crunchy snack. Their powerful jaws and strong teeth will crunch up the bug before swallowing it. You’ll most likely notice that your dog will want something to drink right after eating one since they can stick on the way down and give them a scratchy throat.

Other than that, they can have a few complications if they eat too many June bugs (more on what determines “too many” a bit later), which we’ll go over next!

What are the possible complications of my dog eating a June bug?

If your dog eats a June bug, mainly if he eats more than one, you can have a few complications to watch for in your dog’s health. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • Parasites
  • Intestinal blockages
  • Secondary poisoning

Dehydration

When your dog eats enough June bugs that he’s dealing with indigestion, this leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Depending on his indigestion, those symptoms can be long-lasting and severe. Dehydration can then set in as a result, which is considered a severe health condition in dogs.

If your dog does become dehydrated due to vomiting and diarrhea, he will need emergency intervention from your vet. Dehydration can be fatal if left untreated.

If your dog is experiencing digestive concerns, especially if they’re coupled with these signs of complications, for longer than 24 hours, you’ll want to take him in for an expert’s opinion.

Parasites

Since June bugs are known to feed off the feces of other animals, they can transmit parasites to your dog if they eat them. Since these are common, most dogs are vaccinated against many of the most common types, but it is still something to watch for. If you think that your dog might be dealing with a parasite, you’ll want to bring him to the vet to receive treatment. The sooner, the better, since some parasite problems can be stubborn!

Intestinal blockages

June bugs have hard shells that cover a large part of their bodies. These crunchy shells are often a part of why dogs enjoy eating them so much (more on that later), but this can cause a problem. Dogs aren’t able to break down those shells, which means that they’ll just pass right through the digestive system.

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Depending on how much your dog has chewed them and how many they’ve had, these indigestible shells can come together and form an intestinal blockage in their digestive tract. This will form an obstruction, which will need surgery very quickly!

Symptoms of a blockage/obstruction include:

  • Restlessness
  • Constipation
  • Signs of discomfort
  • Lack of appetite

If you suspect that your dog is dealing with a blockage, you’ll want to get him into the vet as soon as you can!

Secondary poisoning

This is not often a complication that you hear about, but it’s one that you need to keep in mind! Many people will use some sort of pesticide or insecticide to treat their lawns and homes. Since June bugs will burrow into your soil, this means that they, too, can be coated with that insecticide. 

This will be poisonous to your dog. If you suspect that your dog may have eaten a bug that may have come into contact with the insecticide, get your dog to a vet immediately and bring any information you have on the insecticide used.

Why does my dog like eating June bugs?

It seems so gross that your dog will just start chowing down on those big beetles that make most of us run and duck for cover. However, dogs do find them fascinating for several reasons, including:

  • Curiosity
  • They like the crunchy feeling of the shells
  • They are lacking protein in their diet

Curiosity

Dogs have powerful senses of smell and hearing. When they find June bugs rasping around and generally flip-flopping around, they’ll be intrigued as to what these noisy bugs are. This, in combination with their delicious smell, will make them want to check them out. Dogs eat many things for this reason, and it’s considered a normal behavior!

They like the crunchy feeling of the shells

Dogs use their mouths like humans use their hands. Just like kids would squeeze and play with the shells of June bugs, dogs will chomp and chew on them. Some will then spit them out if they don’t like the shells, and others will simply swallow them.

Some will simply check them out once and then decide that they’re not fond of them. The other side is that dogs may like the shells’ crunchy feeling, which will lead them to more of a drive in the future to find them!

They are lacking protein in their diet

A dog’s lizard brain knows that bugs are a good source of protein. If they lack this in their diet, they’ll find it elsewhere — like in June bugs — instead. 

Most dog food will have the protein needed, but it is something to consider. Check with your vet on suggestions for brands and portion percentages so that you can get your dog on a healthy diet that gives them what they need.

How many June bugs can a dog eat?

Eating 1 or 2 June bugs is often okay for your dog, assuming they are not a tiny dog breed. As you can imagine, the smaller the dog, the less they will need to eat. That benign said, Great Danes still should stay under 3 June bugs. Anything above 3 at a time will start to run the risk of a complication in small, medium, and large dogs. These will create digestive upset, and the shells can quickly come together to form that obstruction.

All in all

For the most part, June bugs are between harmless to mild concern. The most common concern is digestive upset, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and occasionally dehydration.

In rare cases, eating too many June bugs can lead to a blockage or cause secondary insecticide poisoning, so you’ll need to know what to look for with possible symptoms of these complications.

For all of the best reasons, June bugs should be avoided if at all possible for your dog’s digestion and health. This is also a good idea if your dog has a sensitive stomach or is prone to digestive concerns.

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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.