Dogs will eat anything, and it’s a sad truth of life. They help themselves to anything they want, including things that aren’t technically food (like socks or coins).
At this time of year, flies are especially active in their pursuit of driving us all crazy, and the appropriate canine response to their yuckiness is to snap their jaws around them, often while they are in mid-flight. Though entertaining (and perhaps even practical), is it safe for a dog to eat flies?
Can My Dog Eat Flies?
Dogs are notorious scavengers and will snack on a wide variety of insects, including flies, honey bees (ouch), and mosquitoes. They won’t be harmed by the odd fly meal, but a persistent problem could be problematic.
Often, this behavior is a symptom of a compulsive disorder, which could indicate that your dog is anxious or has some other behavioral issue. It’s possible that your dog is just bored because they don’t get enough mental stimulation or physical activity.
You could satisfy your dog or cat’s “prey drive” by engaging them in activities like playing fetch with a ball or a Frisbee. To keep them occupied, provide enrichment toys such as treat-dispensing puzzles and games.
Aside From the Gross Factor
Despite being completely normal for dogs, many people have a hard time accepting this fact.
Even if their owners are upset, dogs will always follow their natural predatory instincts.
Is It Fine, Or…?
The fact that a dog eating flies is “normal” doesn’t mean it’s something you should encourage.
Eating a “sky raisin” here and there probably won’t kill you, but if you make it a habit, you might be setting yourself up for some trouble.
Working dogs and other breeds that have a high prey drive may be more inclined to go after insects. Later on, it may be more challenging to rein in this behavior if it spirals out of control or becomes obsessive.
More opportunities for mental and physical exercise can help your dog overcome its compulsive behaviors.
A Bug Is a Bug Is a Bug… Or Not
Most insects are harmless to pets and can be eaten on occasion. However, if your dog has a voracious appetite and eats anything that moves, it could end up with a sting or poisoning.
Spiders like the brown recluse and the black widow could be among these venomous insects. They might even try to avoid a scorpion, wasp, or other stinging creature by using a bat.
If your dog has a history of eating strange animals, especially those that fly or sting, you should keep a close eye on them when they’re outside.
Pesticides and other toxins may be lurking around your home, so exercise caution. A veterinary emergency may arise if your pet ingests one of these poisonous substances. Bug sprays that are safe for pets should be used instead of these toxic alternatives.
Dangers of Other Bugs
Your dog may be able to distinguish between different types of flying insects. On the other hand, setting a precedent for canine fly consumption could have serious consequences.
Is there anything to prevent a dog that eats flies from also trying to eat wasps or some other type of stinging, poisonous insect?
Many insects have evolved similar defense mechanisms, such as a foul odor or taste, toxic secretions, sharp spines, or irritating hairs. Dogs can pick up parasites like tapeworms from eating any number of bugs.
My Pet Ate a Fly! Now What?
Dogs being dogs, you might catch sight of one snatching a flying insect or munching on a random ant. While we might find it repulsive, for them it’s just another way to satisfy their basic need to eat.
We’re here to answer your questions about what to do if your pet ate a bug. Just give us a call or schedule an appointment with us online.
A Look at the Diet
Even if your dog’s demeanor is otherwise typical, you might want to consider whether or not they are getting the proper nutrition if they still go crazy whenever they see a fly.
We are happy to assist you in learning more about the age- and lifestyle-appropriate diet that will best support their digestive health and overall well-being.
Although it probably goes without saying, odors, both pleasant and unpleasant, can attract flies. Keep your yard clean, your trash in containers, and fly magnets to a minimum at all times.
Screen all entrances and make sure your dog is up-to-date on parasite preventatives.