In the middle of the night, you hear a commotion in the kitchen.
You get up to investigate and find your dog with his nose in a crack in the floor, wagging his tail furiously.
Before you can shoo him away, he snaps up something and swallows it, and almost instantly, your dog vomits the cockroach.
That gets you thinking, can dogs eat cockroaches?
Truth is, dogs can eat cockroaches, but it’s not safe for them to do so.
Cockroaches harbor diseases and parasites, which can be transferred to your dog if eaten.
Additionally, cockroaches contain a chemical called quinine, which is toxic to dogs.
This article will discuss what happens if a dog eats cockroaches, the dangers of doing so, and how to prevent your dog from hunting these pests.
Why does my Dog Like to Eat Cockroaches?
Most dogs who eat cockroaches do so because they’re curious or think the roach is a toy.
Some dogs will even hunt cockroaches for sport.
While it may be amusing to watch your dog play with a cockroach, remember that these pests pose a serious health risk to your furry friend.
Dogs who eat cockroaches may also be seeking out the nutrients that these insects contain.
Cockroaches are high in protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals.
For a dog who isn’t getting enough nutrients in their diet, eating cockroaches is a way of supplementing their diet.
The baits used to kill cockroaches can also be appealing to dogs.
These baits often contain sweeteners or other attractants that are irresistible to dogs.
If you use baits to control cockroaches in your home, keep them out of your dog’s reach.
Why You Should not Let your Dog Eat Cockroach
Perhaps you read about the many health benefits of eating insects, and now you’re wondering if it’s safe for your dog to eat cockroaches.
Unfortunately, cockroaches aren’t a safe food for dogs (or humans).
Below are the reasons you should guard your dog against eating cockroaches.
Cockroaches Harbor Diseases
Cockroaches are known to harbor diseases that can be transferred to humans and animals.
These diseases include Salmonella, E. coli, and dysentery.
While most of these diseases won’t make your dog sick, they can cause serious illness in young puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with weak immune systems.
Cockroaches roam through garbage, sewers, and other dirty places, picking up bacteria and viruses.
When your dog eats a cockroach, they’re also consuming the diseases carried by the roaches.
Cockroaches Hosts Parasites
Eating cockroaches predisposes your dog to parasitic infections.
These parasites can invade your dog’s intestines, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.
In severe cases, the parasites cause anemia or death.
For instance, roundworms are commonly found in cockroaches.
If your dog ingests a cockroach infected with roundworms, it develops a severe parasitic infection.
Cockroaches Contain Quinine
Quinine is a bitter alkaloid that’s found in the exoskeletons of cockroaches.
This substance is used to treat malaria, but it’s also toxic to dogs.
If your dog eats enough quinine, it can cause tremors, seizures, and even death.
While most dogs who eat cockroaches don’t consume enough quinine to be poisoned, puppies and small dogs are at risk of quinine poisoning if they eat cockroaches.
Cockroaches Contain Toxic Chemicals
Cockroaches are nuisance pests that homeowners often try to control with toxic chemicals.
These chemicals are harmful to your dog if eaten.
For example, many cockroach baits contain fipronil, a broad-spectrum insecticide that’s highly toxic to dogs.
If your dog eats a roach poisoned with fipronil, it may experience vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death.
Signs of Dogs Sensing Cockroaches in Your Home
When moving around, cockroaches make a hissing sound by rubbing their abdominal segments together.
This noise is called stridulation, and it’s how cockroaches communicate with each other.
Dogs have an acute sense of hearing and can hear the sound of cockroaches stridulating from a distance.
If your dog is suddenly interested in an area where cockroaches are present, it’s likely because they can hear the insects.
Dogs may also sniff around an area where cockroaches are present.
Cockroaches release pheromones to attract mates and mark their territory.
These pheromones are undetectable to humans but are picked up by a dog’s sensitive nose.
If your dog is sniffing around an area and you can’t see anything, cockroaches may be present.
Tilting the head and raised ears are other signs that your dog is picking up on the sound of cockroaches.
Moreover, roaches are active at night, so you may notice your dog being more alert and interested in a particular area.
The following are additional signs that your dog has sensed the presence of cockroaches:
- Pacing or restless behavior
- Barking or whining
- Scratching at walls or floors
- Digging at carpeting or baseboards
- Pawing at the ground
- Digging holes in the yard
- Staring intently at walls or floors.
If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these behaviors, there’s a good chance they’re sensing cockroaches in your home.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Hunting and Eating Cockroaches
Your dog might be enjoying hunting and eating cockroaches, but it’s not a good idea to allow them.
Here are some tips to help prevent your dog from hunting and eating cockroaches:
Clean Your House
Dirty environments are more likely to have cockroaches.
Keep your house clean to help prevent your dog from hunting and eating cockroaches.
Vacuum regularly, mop floors and wash dishes promptly.
After cleaning the house, collect the garbage and put it in tight lid garbage can so the cockroaches will not come back.
Don’t Leave Food Out.
Cockroaches are attracted to food, so they’re more likely to be found in areas where food is present.
Don’t leave food out to help prevent your dog from hunting and eating cockroaches.
Keep food in airtight containers and clean up spills immediately.
If you have cockroaches in your home, it’s crucial to get rid of them.
The best way to do this is to call a professional pest control company.
They’ll be able to identify the type of cockroach infesting your home and develop a treatment plan to get rid of them.
Once the cockroaches are gone, keep your house clean and don’t leave food out to help prevent them from coming back.
Alternatively, if you see a cockroach, immediately shoo it away and keep your dog away from the area.
If your dog is outside and you see a cockroach, call them to you, so they don’t have a chance to eat it.
Use Pest Control Methods
If you have a cockroach problem, use pest control methods to get rid of them.
However, don’t use poison baits, as they’re toxic to dogs.
Instead, opt for traps that capture cockroaches so you can dispose of them properly.
If you use pesticides to kill cockroaches, exercise caution.
Many pesticides are toxic to dogs if eaten.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and keep your dog away from areas where pesticides have been applied.
If you suspect your dog has eaten a cockroach poisoned with pesticides, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Cockroaches FAQs
Do dogs keep cockroaches away?
It’s possible that the scent of a dog in your home may help keep cockroaches away.
However, a large infestation may be too much for a dog to deter.
How do you get rid of roaches with a dog?
Dogs can help keep cockroaches away because they’re attracted to the pheromones that cockroaches release.
Thus, you can use your dog to sniff out areas where cockroaches are present.
Can dogs eat dead cockroaches?
It’s not advisable to allow your dog to eat dead cockroaches because they may have been poisoned with pesticides.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten a dead cockroach.
Do roaches die if you touch them?
Cockroaches will not die if you touch them.
However, if you kill a cockroach, your dog may be attracted to the scent of its pheromones and try to eat it.
If you see a dead cockroach, dispose of it immediately, so your dog doesn’t have a chance to eat it.
Why do dogs roll on roaches?
Dogs roll on cockroaches to spread their scent.
This helps them mark their territory and keep other dogs away.
It’s not good to allow your dog to hunt and eat cockroaches.
Cockroaches carry diseases and pesticides used to kill them that are toxic to dogs.
To help prevent your dog from hunting and eating cockroaches, keep your house clean, don’t leave food out, use traps instead of poison baits, and seal cracks and crevices where they might enter your home.
If you have a cockroach problem, contact a professional pest control company to get rid of them.