My Dog Ate a Cockroach and Seems Fine – What Should I Do?

Published on
Fluent Woof is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Key Takeaways:

  • It usually won’t hurt your dog if she eats one or two cockroaches. 
  • Roaches can carry poison, pathogenic bacteria, or intestinal bacteria that can make your dog sick.
  • If you notice any concerning signs like muscle tremors, lethargy, and loss of coordination, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

You notice a cockroach skittering across the floor, and suddenly your pooch pounces on the pest and eats it(Eww!). Should you be concerned?

Cockroaches in themselves are not toxic to dogs, but they may carry diseases, parasites, or poisons that could make your pup sick. So, you should watch your dog closely for the next several days and contact your veterinarian if you see any concerning signs.

How Many Cockroaches Will It Take to Make My Dog Sick?

Usually, eating one cockroach won’t cause serious harm to your pooch. As long as the animals aren’t carrying any diseases or dangerous substances, the most these pests will do is cause some mild indigestion. Of course, if your dog feasts on several roaches, he’s more likely to have an upset stomach. 

When cockroaches harbor pathogenic bacteria or parasites, they can infect your dog. Fortunately, it takes more than one insect to harm most healthy pooches. Of course, dogs that have regular check-ups and are up-to-date on their vaccinations will be best equipped to fight off potential infections. 

In the case of secondary poisoning, one critter is also usually not enough to make your pup seriously ill. However, if you suspect your dog ate a poisoned cockroach, you should call your veterinarian.

Cockroaches aren’t inherently poisonous to dogs but can cause digestive upset. If your pooch eats a roach that harbors pathogenic bacteria, intestinal parasites, or poison, one will probably not be enough to make your furbaby seriously ill. However, you should call your vet if you suspect that she ate a poisoned cockroach.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate a Cockroach?

If your dog eats a cockroach, you don’t have to panic, particularly if he only ingested one. There’s nothing you can do at first except watch your pooch for signs of trouble. When roaches are carrying poison, you’ll see signs of toxicity or illness in 1 to several hours. If the roach harbors parasites or bacteria, you may not see evidence of infection for 12 hours to a week or more.

Watch your pup for signs like:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mouth pain
  • Lethargy
  • Shivering
  • Incoordination
  • Muscle tremors

If you notice any concerning signs or have any doubts, contact your veterinarian. The doctor can examine your pooch and provide supportive care.

When your dog eats a cockroach, you shouldn’t panic. Watch your pooch for the next day for signs of illness or toxicity. Symptoms of bacterial infections and parasite infestation may take longer to develop. Any time you notice concerning signs you should contact your veterinarian.

What Should You Do Immediately If You Suspect A Cockroach has Poisoned Your Dog?

If you notice that your pooch ate a dead cockroach or you suspect that the live pest your pooch pounced on carried toxins, you should immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline and let them know what happened. After you notify the person, monitor your pup for signs of poisoning. Head to the clinic immediately if you notice symptoms like:

  • Repeated vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Tremors or shivering

The doctor will examine your pooch and determine the effects of the cockroach. He can also provide supportive care such as IV fluids if needed.

If you suspect your dog was poisoned because he ate a cockroach, you should contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline. Monitor your pooch for signs of poisoning or illness and head to the vet if any concerning symptoms arise.

What if My Dog Ate a Bunch of Cockroaches But Seems Fine?

If your dog ate a nest of cockroaches but seems fine, she may not be out of the woods yet. It may take an hour or two for the pests to irritate your pup’s stomach and trigger vomiting. If the insects were carrying roach bait, signs of toxicity can take anywhere from an hour to a day to surface. 

So, when your dog eats a bunch of roaches, you should contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment. He can examine your dog and run diagnostic tests to determine if your pooch has an infection or another condition from the insects.

Even if your dog seems fine after eating a pile of cockroaches, she may not be out of the woods. Depending on whether the pests were carrying bacteria, parasites, or poison, you may not see the effects for anywhere from an hour to a day or more.

Signs That My Dog Was Poisoned By Eating a Cockroach

The toxins in roach bait are usually designed to affect the nervous system and interfere with energy production in the cells. When one of the pests contacts roach bait, it may not die immediately. That way, the critter will carry the toxin back to the nest. When a dog eats a cockroach that’s carrying poison, you may see signs like:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Mouth pain
  • Hypersalivation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Shivering and muscle tremors
  • Loss of coordination

Fortunately, it usually takes a lot of cockroaches that are carrying poison to reach a toxic level for dogs. However, if you notice any concerning symptoms, it’s best to call your veterinarian. If your pup has an underlying condition or sensitivity to the poison, even a few roaches could cause a problem.

The poisons in roach bait affect the nervous system and energy production in the cell. When a dog eats a cockroach that’s carrying poison, you may notice signs of digestive and nervous system upset. It usually takes a lot of cockroaches to poison dogs. If you notice any concerning symptoms, call your veterinarian.

What Happens When Dogs Eat Roaches?

When dogs eat a cockroach, the crunchy shell can irritate the gastrointestinal lining and can cause digestive upset. You may see vomiting or diarrhea as a result. If the pest is carrying roach bait, the toxins will enter your pup’s system. Fortunately, the concentrations of toxins in roach bait are very low and not likely to damage your pooch. You’re most likely to notice signs of an upset stomach only if your furbaby eats a pile of pests. 

Roaches are notorious for rummaging through garbage and sewers, and they can carry pathogens like Salmonella or Clostridium. When your dog eats an infected cockroach, the bacteria can multiply in your pup’s system and cause illness. to watch for include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Coughing

If the roach isn’t carrying poison or bacteria, it may still harbor larvae for intestinal parasites like roundworms and tapeworms. Dogs that eat cockroaches with parasite larvae can develop an infestation of intestinal parasites. In this case, you may notice:

  • Diarrhea
  • Segments or worms in the stool
  • Pot-belly appearance
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

The effects of eating a cockroach will depend on the pest your dog ingests. If the roach is carrying poison or pathogenic bacteria, you may notice signs of illness. Cockroaches with parasitic larvae can cause an infestation of intestinal parasites. Otherwise, the pests may cause minor digestive upset.

Why Are Roaches Potentially Harmful to Dogs?

Cockroaches are one of the most common pests in America, and some dogs love to eat them. Even though these pesky critters aren’t inherently harmful, they can harbor disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella or Staphylococcus. And if you use roach bait, the annoying insect may have some poison on its body. Finally, roaches can be intermediate hosts for parasites like roundworms and stomach worms. Any of these three circumstances can make your pooch sick. 

Fortunately, in most cases, your dog’s system will be able to handle the dangerous substances roaches may carry. So, dogs usually only have minor illnesses. However, some pups have underlying conditions that make them more sensitive to poisoning or bacteria. If you have any concerns about your pup’s health, call your veterinarian.

Roaches are common pests, and they can harbor harmful substances including disease-causing bacteria, intestinal parasites, and poisons. Usually, dog systems can handle any of these challenges unless they have an underlying condition or a sensitivity. If you have any concerns, contact your veterinarian immediately.

How Do Vets Treat Dogs That Eat Cockroaches?

How your veterinarian treats your dog will depend on the effects of the cockroach.  If your pooch manages to eat enough poisoned roaches to reach a toxic level, your veterinarian may:

  • Induce vomiting
  • Administer activated charcoal
  • Provide IV fluids as supportive care
  • Give anticonvulsant medications if your dog is seizing or has tremors
  • Provide oxygen if your pooch is having difficulty breathing

When cockroaches cause a bacterial infection, your vet will:

  • Administer IV fluids for support
  • Treat your pooch with antibiotics based on a blood culture
  • Antiinflammatory medications to prevent shock and inflammation
  • Antidiarrheal medications 

Dogs that develop a parasitic infestation can be treated with anthelmintic medications. 

The method of treatment for your pooch will depend on how the cockroach affects her. If the roach contains poison, the doctor will work to neutralize the toxins and provide supportive care. Dogs that get a bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics and other supportive medications and care. Anthelmintics are used to treat parasites. 

How long is the recovery?

The time it takes your dog to recover will depend on what type of condition she develops after eating a cockroach. Symptoms of poisoning usually resolve in 1-2 days. When a bacterial infection is involved, it may take your pooch anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to fully recover depending on the bacteria and the severity of the infection. In the case of intestinal parasites, dogs usually recover in a few days to a few weeks. 

The recovery period depends on what the roach was carrying and how it affected your pooch. In the case of poisoning, dogs may return to normal in a few days, but other conditions may take weeks or months to resolve. 

The Final Woof

Usually, dogs can eat a cockroach or two with little to no effect. However, the pests can carry poison, harmful bacteria, or intestinal parasites that may affect your dog. If you see your furbaby eat a roach, you should monitor him for signs of trouble. Call your veterinarian if you have any concerns. 

It’s unusual for dogs to ingest enough roaches to become poisoned or infected with bacterial pathogens. But if you notice prolonged bouts of diarrhea and vomiting or nervous signs like muscle tremors, you should schedule a veterinary appointment. The treatment for dogs that become sick after eating a cockroach depends on how the pest affects your pooch. Recovery may take a few days to several months depending on the condition your dog develops.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

Leave a Comment