What Do I Do If My Dog Eats a Cricket? - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers and experts
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What Do I Do If My Dog Eats a Cricket?

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant and author of Brain Training for Dogs.

Does your dog love to chase and eat crickets?

Does your dog love to chase and eat crickets?

My Dog Ate a Cricket. Is It Safe?

If you own a cricket-hunting dog, you may be wondering if eating all those crickets are good for him. Most likely you live in an area where crickets abound and don't stand a chance against Rover. Dogs tend to get into all sorts of things. We know for a fact that many dogs like to eat poop, and many other disgusting things like dead carcasses and the occasional cat puke. Bug eating is not unusual at all. After all, the bug will stimulate Rover's prey drive as he stalks and chases around the house.

In dogs, prey drive is a natural, instinctive behavior regardless if your pooch is chasing deer, rabbits, birds, cars or bugs. In nature, this instinct is there so to ensure dogs are good hunters. And, in nature, no dog would turn down a bug if they were really hungry. After all, the predatory sequence encompasses searching, stalking, chasing, catching, biting, killing, and eating. So, it's quite tempting for Rover to stalk, chase, bite, kill and then eat the bug if it's tasty. Crickets are extra fun to chase because they hop in an unpredictable manner. They must be somewhat tasty. In fact, some dogs seem to enjoy chewing on these crunchy critters. But are crickets completely safe to eat? Or, should you prevent your dog from eating them? Vote in the poll below and then read on to discover the answer.

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alexadry all rights reserved

alexadry all rights reserved

So Are Crickets Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Crickets encompass more than 900 species, but most have in common the fact that are mostly nocturnal, have long antenna, jump by using their hind legs and make a distinct, chirping sound. Crickets are often confused with grasshoppers which are a different species but are close cousins. A good way to differentiate the two is by looking at the antenna. The cricket has long antennas and the grasshopper has short antennas. Also, grasshoppers are diurnal (active during the day), whereas crickets are nocturnal (active during the night). So if you caught Rover playing with a hopping bug in the evening, most likely it was a cricket.

So Rover just ate a cricket... you are wondering if it's safe to eat. The ultimate answer is that it depends. Yes, crickets may be a good source of protein. Consider that about 100 grams of crickets contains 121 calories, of which only 49.5 of them is fat, on top of that, they boast 12.9 grams of protein and 75.8 milligrams of iron. This explains why various species of crickets are part of human diet in several countries. In Mexico, they're actually considered a delicacy. Online you can find several cricket recipes.

Physaloptera Larvae

However, some crickets may harvest more than proteins, minerals and fat. In this case we'll need to worry about the larvae of the stomach worm known as "Physaloptera spp." According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, these larvae can be found in various types of insects including beetles, cockroaches, and crickets!

Eating an infected cricket may later lead to mild gastritis with vomiting, loss of appetite, but in severe cases, also bleeding ulcers, weight loss, anemia and tarry, dark feces--melena. However, infections are often sub-clinical ( meaning causing no apparent signs). Puppies and dogs at times may vomit up immature worms.

Diagnosis of this through fecal test is often problematic as the eggs are difficult to find on a simple fecal flotation test. A gastroscopy procedure, where an endoscope tube in inserted in the dog's stomach, may be needed. Yet, this may pose some challenges as these worms are pretty small, measuring anywhere between 2.5 to 5 cm long. The drugs fenbendazole, mebendazole, pyrantel pamoate and ivermectin can be used to treat this condition.

Crickets May Cause Vomiting in Dogs

Other than the presence of this pesky parasite, sometimes crickets may cause vomiting in dogs. This is due to the cricket's rough texture which may irritate the dog's stomach, explains Just Answer veterinarian Dr. Gabby. However, many dogs may just gobble them up with no problem.

So are crickets good for dogs? Well it depends on which cricket they eat, if you have been using pesticides and how tough the dogs' tummies are. As seen, crickets are intermediate hosts for the Physaloptera spp. larvae, so it all depends if they eat one infected with the larvae or not. Luckily, it looks like an infestation by physaloptera is pretty rare in dogs.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2013 Adrienne Farricelli

Comments

Donna Korth on December 28, 2019:

I was encouraging my small dog (Dorky) to catch the crickets - which he insisted on eating. But now, after a month of this, he now vomits after eating them and I am afraid I have confused him by trying to stop him from catching and eating crickets! I try to catch them first, but he is much closer to the floor than I am. What to do?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 28, 2013:

I think I would freak out too with a roach, just thinking how crunchy they would be...yuk!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 28, 2013:

Hi Gypsy Willow, mine catch them by pouncing on them when they least expect it, thanks for stopping by!

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on May 28, 2013:

Voted up and interesting. I might let my dog eat a cricket, but I would freak on him eating a roach. Big phobia of mine, of course that would get it out of the house lol

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on May 28, 2013:

I don't think my dogs are quick enough to catch them. But thanks for the heads up!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2013:

Lea, it is fun, I think crickets are really fun as they move in such an unpredictable manner!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2013:

Northwind, my dogs and cats have eaten crickets for some time with no ill effects. I was curious though, because one of the dogs I was training the other day found one in my home and by the time I went to check, he wolfed it down , and I tend to over worry, so I Googled and found this information that I thought was worth sharing.

Lea Smith on May 27, 2013:

I am somewhat concerned about our dogs eating bugs and such, yet it is sure fun watching them play with them! Great detailed article, well written.

North Wind from The World (for now) on May 27, 2013:

Very interesting article. My dogs used to love to eat crickets and if I did find one I would give it to them as a treat. I truly did not know that there are some that can do harm to dogs but mine never suffered with the problems you described. Cats actually like crickets too because I had one and he used to dig up the garden trying to find them and eat them. He never experienced those symptoms either, thankfully. This is good to know. Great article.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2013:

Mine eat them as well given the chance and never had a problem. I never heard before though of that pesky parasite until now. Fortunately, it's quite rare! Thanks for the votes up! Have a great Memorial Day!

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on May 27, 2013:

My dogs just play with them then leave the body parts scattered all over the floor. None of my dogs ever had a problem. I have a few pet lizards in the house that means a cricket or two has escaped in the past. From what I understand its the hard shell that could cause a pup an upset tummy.

Great hub marked up and useful.

reards Zsuzsy