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My Dog Ate a June Bug! Will They Get Sick?

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

June Bug

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Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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You’re taking your dog for a pleasant evening stroll in early summer, enjoying the mild weather when your dog suddenly snaps up a passing June bug.

Since these bugs are large, you might be wondering if your dog will be okay. June bugs are not toxic in any way and won’t hurt your dog if eaten. But too many June bugs could lead to an upset stomach.

Here is extra June bug information, along with insects that your dog should avoid.

Divider 7June Bugs

June bugs, also known as May beetles and June beetles, are part of the scarab beetle family. Their name highlights when they are most active, which is from May to June. They are native to most of the northern hemisphere, which includes North America and parts of Europe and Asia.

They are commonly a shiny reddish-brown color and about 1/2 an inch to 1 inch long. They can be seen on warm evenings and are typically flying around, drawn to light sources.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you’ve likely encountered a few of these beetles buzzing by your head! They tend to be clumsy flyers and walkers and cause a great deal of damage to flowers and foliage, so they are considered pests.

But they are perfectly harmless to humans and our pets because they are not capable of biting or stinging.

June Bug
Image Credit: JumpStory

Can Dogs Eat June Bugs?

June bugs are not toxic in any way and are completely harmless. If your dog just eats one or two, they should be fine. But if your dog went ate many more, they are likely to experience stomach upset, which might also include vomiting and diarrhea.

The size of your dog is also a factor: Small dogs might not even be able to handle one bug, while giant breeds might be okay with three or fewer June bugs.

Since these insects have tough, indigestible shells, eating too many of them could potentially lead to a gastrointestinal blockage, which might require surgery.

Signs of intestinal blockage include:

  • Severe and persistent vomiting — This can lead to dehydration.
  • Loss of appetite — The dog might try to eat and then vomit.
  • Weight loss — This results from the lack of eating and vomiting.
  • Lethargy and weakness— This can result from pain and dehydration.
  • Stomach pain — Blockages can press on the intestines, causing severe pain.
  • Diarrhea or constipation — The obstruction can make defecating difficult, or the dog won’t be able to defecate at all.

The most telltale sign of a blockage is a dog that is vomiting but not pooping.

You should also be aware of insecticide poisoning. Since June bugs may spend time eating from gardens and crops, there’s always the chance that they will come into contact with insecticides. These June bugs will usually be dead, not flying around. But if your dog finds a pile of dead June bugs and eats a bunch, they will also be ingesting poison from the insecticides.

See your vet if your dog eats a pile of dead June bugs or eats too many while on a walk.

What About Other Insects?

Bugs are generally safe for dogs to eat, but there are a few species that they should avoid.

  • Stink bugs: Like June bugs, stink bugs are not toxic, but the chemical that makes them stinky can cause stomach upset. Plus, they taste foul!
  • Ladybugs: Like stink bugs, ladybugs release an unpleasant odor that can taste awful and cause an upset stomach.
  • Earthworms/slugs/snails: While these aren’t insects, they still fall into the “bug” category. The ingestion of these invertebrates could give your dog lungworms.
  • Spiders/bees/wasps: Spiders can bite, and wasps and bees could sting your dog in the mouth or on their way down to the stomach. In some cases, they will need to be seen by a vet because stings or venomous bites could potentially cause swelling and block their airway.
  • Cockroaches/fleas: These insects can carry parasites like roundworms and tapeworms, which can be transmitted to your dog.

Overall, many insects, like grasshoppers and crickets, are safe for your dog to eat. But it’s best to keep an eye on your dog for any worrying signs after they have ingested any bugs.

Ladybugs on a leaf
Image Credit: RonBerg, Pixabay

Why Do Dogs Eat Bugs?

Dogs are predators, and their hunting instincts are triggered by bugs that behave erratically by jumping, flying, and scurrying around.

Bugs are fascinating to pets due to how they act and move, so it’s completely natural for dogs to investigate bugs — and then eat them. In the case of June bugs, some dogs might enjoy the crunch of biting into them.

Also, if a dog lacks protein in their diet, their instincts might lead them to seek out bugs. Insects are an excellent source of protein and are even available as the main protein in insect-based pet food.

Divider 7Conclusion

If your dog eats a few June bugs on your walk, you likely won’t have a problem. But keep an eye on them just in case. If your dog gets a little sick, but everything else seems normal, they are probably fine. However, vomiting combined with no elimination is worrisome. See your vet straightaway!

Be careful when walking under streetlights because June bugs are attracted to the light. Keep your dog on a leash, and guide them away from any bugs while on your walk. Fortunately, June bugs are only active for about 1 to 2 months!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: JumpStory

Kathryn Copeland

Authored by

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bell...Read more

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