Is Eating Cockroaches Bad For Dogs?

Dogs descended from wolves who hunt for food; although they are domesticated now, their hunting instincts persist. Some dogs still have a high prey drive urging them to attack and kill tiny animals, including insects. You might have seen your dog eating lizards and cockroaches and wondered if it is safe. You might wonder if your dog could get sick from eating cockroaches.

You can’t prevent bugs from coming in contact with your pet entirely. There are high chances your dog will try to eat a cockroach multiple times in his life. Knowing if eating cockroaches is harmful to dogs or not can put your mind at ease.

Cockroaches In Your House

Cockroaches are some of the most typical bugs in your home and yard. Many types of cockroaches inhabit the United States, including German cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches, and American cockroaches.

Cockroaches prefer damp, warm areas and can survive nearly any temperature — they almost anything, including wallpaper, dead skin, clothing, and paper.

Since cockroaches can thrive even in the worst possible conditions, it can be difficult to eliminate them. They also lay hundreds of eggs in one go, so even two to three cockroaches can cause an infestation in your home. They can enter your home through cracks, vents, and even furniture. If you are buying secondhand furniture for your home, ensure it contains no cockroaches.

Do Dogs Eat Cockroaches?

Scampering cockroaches can trigger the hunting instinct in your dog. Most dogs who sample a cockroach will spit it out and leave it — but some will eat it. In most cases, cockroaches scurry away as soon as they see dogs or humans, so your dog probably won’t eat more than a single cockroach. The idea of your dog eating a cockroach may sound disgusting, but it rarely poses any harm to your pet. However, veterinarians recommend carefully monitoring your dog after it has eaten a cockroach.

Reasons Why Eating A Cockroach Can Harm Your Pet

Generally, it is rare for a consumed cockroach to harm your dog. However, cockroaches aren’t clean and carry a variety of diseases and parasites. Many people also try to eliminate cockroaches from their homes and use poisons to control them.


Cockroaches are the most common insect found in American homes. As a result, many people rigorously try to eliminate them using insecticides and bug spray. Cockroaches who don’t die from the sprays can carry the poison on or within their bodies. Since they are so small, eating a single cockroach won’t cause poisoning for your dog. However, if your dog sniffs the cockroach or comes in contact with his skin, it could cause some issues depending on how much insecticide is still on the cockroach’s skin. Your dog will show symptoms such as difficulty breathing and skin irritation.

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If your pet has eaten a lot of cockroaches, poisoning could occur. Poisoning shouldn’t be your biggest worry. Cockroaches carry parasites and a host of bacteria, which are more likely to harm your pet. If you suspect your dog ate a cockroach covered in toxins, monitor him for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Abdominal pain
  • Respiratory issues
  • Lethargy
  • Poor coordination


Although humans can be sensitive to the allergens in cockroach saliva, shells, and feces, it is uncertain if they can do the same for dogs. There aren’t many studies on the subject; however, cockroach allergens could cause respiratory issues in dogs. This won’t occur with a single cockroach. An infestation could lead to allergic reactions in humans and pets. If your dog has asthma or other respiratory conditions, he could be more sensitive to cockroach allergens.

Allergies in dogs usually manifest as skin conditions regardless of the allergen. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, itchy paws, excessive scratching, and poor coat quality.

Bacterial Infections

Cockroaches harbor many harmful bacteria, including salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus. They can contaminate your pet’s food and water with said bacteria. If your dog eats cockroaches often, it can develop a bacterial infection. Salmonella bacteria can cause gastroenteritis with symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. At the same time, streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria can cause infections in the lungs, skin, genitals, and urinary tract.

Salmonella infections are common in pets who eat lizards and cockroaches. Carefully monitor your pet after the ingestion of a cockroach. Contact your vet immediately if your dog shows any of the above symptoms. Salmonella infections require prompt treatment since the symptoms can progress rapidly.


Dogs carry at least six different parasites, but dogs are highly susceptible to tapeworms. Ingesting a single cockroach is unlikely to make your pet sick. However, if your pet eats multiple cockroaches, it could become infected with Tapeworms. While adult dogs do not show severe symptoms when they have a Tapeworm infection, puppies are very vulnerable. Tapeworm infections in puppies are serious and can cause anemia, intestinal blockages, and stunted growth.

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Another parasite that cockroaches carry is Phylsaloptera or stomach worms. They affect cats and dogs and mainly live in the stomach near the beginning of the small intestine. Once ingested, stomach worms can attach to the stomach lining and feed on your pet’s tissue and blood. Many cats and dogs do not show symptoms until the infection becomes more severe and internal bleeding occurs. Stomach worms can cause symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and weight loss.

What Happens If Your Dog Eats Cockroach Poison?

Most ingredients present in cockroach poison are also present in topical flea/tick ointments. They are called pyrethrins/pyrethroids and may be natural or synthetic. Most dogs are not highly sensitive to these chemicals when used topically.

However, if your dog ingests a large amount of cockroach poison, this could pose a severe threat. An hour after ingesting the poison, dogs will begin to show symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory issues, disorientation, and shivering. If you suspect your dog has ingested cockroach poison, consult your veterinarian immediately. If you wait for symptoms to appear, the condition can become severe.

It is recommended you take precautions when using insecticides. Keep bug sprays out of your pet’s reach, and do not spray them in your pet’s presence. Use bug spray in well-ventilated areas; never spray it directly onto your pet.

What You Can Do

It is impossible to prevent cockroaches from entering your home completely. You should still try your best to keep them out. Seal any cracks, gaps, and vents where cockroaches can enter. Clean your vents regularly, and spray with bug spray if you suspect cockroaches are accessing your home through them. Most insects enter your home looking for food so wipe away any food scraps after eating. Keeping your garbage disposal clean and sealed can also reduce the risk of cockroaches.

If your dog still manages to eat a cockroach, it is usually not a cause for concern. Monitor your dog for any symptoms that indicate an infection. If your dog has a habit of eating cockroaches, this can cause issues in the long term. Consult your veterinarian about how to manage this issue.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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