Will a Stink Bug Make a Dog Sick?

If your dog eats stink bugs, there’s a possibility they will become sick. Stink bugs are usually not poisonous to dogs, but they do irritate their stomachs and mouths.

After ingesting stink bugs, your dog could have an upset stomach, vomit, or drool.

But you should still monitor your dog’s symptoms and behaviors. Under some circumstances, eating stink bugs can lead to further complications. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Eating a few stink bugs won’t cause long-term effects
  • Consuming many stink bugs can lead to surgery
  • Stink bugs sprayed with insecticide can be toxic
  • Typical symptoms resolve within a few days
  • Stink bugs can cause irritation to a dog’s eyes
  • Stink bugs can carry parasites
  • Atypical reactions require veterinary intervention

#1 Eating a few stink bugs won’t cause long-term effects

You can’t watch your dog every second of the day, and chances are Fido’s going to eat something in the yard that’s not kibble. If he swallows a couple of stink bugs he found on the patio, it’s not going to kill him.

Your dog might even find stink bugs near your home’s windows and doors. Or, heaven forbid, crawling on the floor near a baseboard. Again, if he makes an after-dinner treat out of one, there usually isn’t anything long-term to worry about.

If your dog develops symptoms of irritation, you may notice some temporary vomiting or loss of appetite. You may also notice your dog’s gums and tongue look red and inflamed. Excessive drooling might happen, but these symptoms should resolve by themselves.

#2 Consuming many stink bugs can lead to surgery

On the other hand, if your dog ate many stink bugs, you’ll probably need to call your vet.

That’s because your pet’s stomach and intestines can’t digest all the shells from the stink bugs. These shells end up collecting into a large mass that blocks the digestive tract.

This blockage can be dangerous since your dog is no longer able to pass stool. The symptoms your dog may develop include repetitive vomiting, bloating, stomach pain, weakness, and dehydration.

Your vet can do an ultrasound or scan to confirm the blockage and its source. In most cases, you’ll need to schedule immediate surgery to remove the mass.

Without surgery, your dog’s symptoms and pain will continue to worsen. And intestinal blockages can even lead to death.

#3 Stink bugs sprayed with insecticide can be toxic

While most stink bugs crawling around aren’t sprayed with insecticide, it’s a possibility. The chances are higher if you live near a farm or take your dog near commercial crops.

The growing season is when your pet is more likely to come in contact with sprayed stink bugs. The stink bug population also tends to increase in the spring and fall.

This is when the inside of your home is more susceptible to unwanted guests, especially in northern climates when the weather turns cooler. Try to be extra vigilant about your dog’s exploration habits.

Symptoms of poisoning can resemble ingestion of stink bugs that weren’t sprayed with insecticide. Vomiting and diarrhea are common, but so are seizures and breathing problems.

If you notice a combination of these symptoms, be sure to call or visit your vet immediately.

#4 Typical symptoms resolve within a few days

Provided your furry friend ate just a couple of stink bugs that weren’t sprayed with toxic substances, any irritation should go away within eight to twelve hours. You should notice a gradual reduction in symptoms during this time.

For upset stomach and isolated instances of vomiting, you can try withholding your dog’s regular food. Keep enough freshwater out, since you don’t want your pet to become dehydrated. If your dog can tolerate it, you can also try a diet of chicken and rice.

Many dogs will gravitate toward the smell and taste of raw, canned pumpkin. In small amounts, pumpkin can help alleviate an upset stomach and irritation.

But if you notice your dog’s symptoms are persisting, severe, or getting worse, get your vet involved.   

#5 Stink bugs can cause irritation to a dog’s eyes

As if worrying about your dog eating stink bugs wasn’t enough, coming into close contact with them can cause problems too.

If bugs get near your pet’s face, your dog may have watery eyes for a day or two. Your dog might also whimper or whine due to the irritation.

That’s because the inflammation stink bugs cause can be painful to the eyes. Although the irritation should go down, you may want to call your vet.

If your dog is attempting to scratch or rub his eye area too much, it could make the problem worse.

Your vet may recommend a cone or a cone pillow to prevent this. Be sure to tell your vet your dog came into contact with stink bugs, so they can eliminate other causes.

Some vets may prescribe eye drops that can soothe the irritation and reduce your pet’s symptoms.

#6 Stink bugs can carry parasites

Yet another potential source of sickness from stink bugs is parasites. Stink bugs can carry these within their systems and transfer them to your dog. There’s a greater chance of this if your pet eats the bugs.

Parasites may die off if you’re giving your dog a heartworm preventative each month. Many of these preventatives also fight off a variety of parasites, such as hookworms.

It’s still a good idea to get your pet tested for parasites if you know they’ve eaten stink bugs lately.

If you notice bloody stool or diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, schedule an appointment with your vet.

Parasites transmitted from stink bugs can lead to more serious complications. This includes intestinal blockages and anemia.

#7 Atypical reactions require veterinary intervention

You know your dog best, even better than your veterinary. If your dog has gone through mild cases of vomiting and illness before, you’re in a better position to recognize severe reactions and symptoms.

Don’t wait until things get worse if you feel something is off.

Trust your gut and your knowledge about your dog, and get your vet involved asap if you suspect serious complications from eating or coming into contact with stink bugs.

It’s better to overreact when it comes to your dog’s health.

You don’t want to find out later something more could’ve been done. If you can’t get an appointment with your regular vet, see if you can get seen by an emergency pet hospital or center.

The more information they know, the better they can address your pet’s symptoms.

Try Not to Panic

No one wants their dog to get sick from eating bugs, and a pet owner’s knee-jerk reaction can often be one of panic. But remember that eating or coming into contact with a few stink bugs doesn’t usually cause severe illness.

Your dog may feel a little under the weather for a few days, but typical symptoms are like the common cold in humans. They’re nothing a little rest and TLC can’t resolve. Just be sure to keep an eye on your dog and call your vet if something seems amiss.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

Are Stink Bugs Poisonous? – Well, It’s Complicated

Can Fire Ants Kill Your Pets?


Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

Recent Posts