You may see your dog poking around or eating stink bugs that are running around your home or yard and you may be very worried that these insects may be harmful to your pet’s health. So, are stink bugs poisonous to dogs? Read our article to know more.
Known as shield bugs or chust, stink bugs belong to the Pentatomoidea superfamily. These brown bugs have a brown shield (scutellum) that extends from the thorax to the abdomen and get their name because they produce a foul, unpleasant stink to deter predators, especially when they are crushed.
Typically, stink bugs come into the home during the winter months seeking warmth and hide in the cracks and crevices until spring when they become active. While stink bugs do not sting or bite humans and animals and they do not spread diseases or damage your home, these pests can be a nuisance because of their unpleasant odor. So, if your pooch ate one or a few stink bugs, are they poisonous and can they harm your pet?
Dogs love running after stink bugs and eating them. Thankfully, they are not toxic and will not harm your pet’s health. However, the stink bugs may irritate the gastrointestinal tract of your pet, causing him to drool excessively or vomit, but these symptoms will go away on their own without causing any major issues.
If your pet eats lots of stink bugs, it can form a bezoar (a hard mass) in the stomach that cannot pass via the digestive tract and the vet may have to remove the mass surgically. So, if you think that your furry friend has eaten plenty of stink bugs, then you should consult your vet.
When eaten, the stink bugs can also irritate your dog’s mouth and may cause your dog to drool excessively for a while. Eating plenty of stink bugs may also cause gastrointestinal problems resulting in an upset stomach and vomiting. However, there is no reason to worry because vomiting does not mean that your pet has been poisoned.
Even if your pet does not eat the stink bugs, they will not bite, sting or suck blood and will not harm your dog in any way. However, when they are crushed, stink bugs release secretions, which can get into your pet’s eyes causing irritation and itching. All these symptoms are usually self-limiting and will go away after a while and do not require any treatment or medications.
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As we have discussed, while your dog will not be harmed in any way if he eats stink bugs; however, when crushed, the stink bugs can give off a very nasty, unpleasant odor, which is similar to cilantro, burned tires or even skunk spray. When the smell is released, it often lingers for a very long time and can be quite difficult to remove.
So, if your dog has eaten stink bugs, his mouth and fur can start smelling quite unpleasant and if you wash your dog with water or shampoo, this may cause the smell to get embedded more into the coat and remain there for a long time.
The best way to eliminate the smell of the stink bug from your pet’s coat is by the following method:
- In a container, mix a teaspoonful of liquid detergent, 1/4th cup of baking powder and a quart of 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
- Alternatively, you can mix a part of vinegar with 2 parts of water, which will work as effectively.
- Apply the solution to your pet’s coat and work it into the fur properly. Take care that the solution does not get into your pet’s eyes.
- Allow the solution to rest for around 5 minutes and then rinse your dog’s fur with clean water thoroughly, followed by the regular bath routine.
- This will help to eliminate the nasty bug stink smell from your dog’s coat effectively.
While stink bugs are not harmful, they are a nuisance and it’s a good idea to get rid of them as you see a few, lest you have a full-fledged infestation. Using an insecticide or bug spray may be effective to eliminate other pests and bugs; however, this is not an effective method to get rid of stink bugs.
In fact, using insecticide or bug spray can be toxic and may harm your dog. Some of the short-term symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, nausea and chemical burns, while it can damage your pet’s nervous system in the long run.
So, it may be a good idea to consider other safer alternative methods to get rid of stink bugs from your home including:
- Check for gaps and cracks in the trim, baseboards, windows, doors, chimneys, siding, fascia, light fixtures and exhaust fans and seal them properly using weather strips or caulk.
- Replace any torn or damaged screens.
- Check for stink bug eggs in your garden or yard. The stink bug eggs are light yellow in color and elliptical shaped, which are usually found on the underside leaves in clusters. Locate these eggs and destroy them.
- Tidy up all the clutter around your home to eliminate the stink bug hiding places.
- If there are stink bugs already in your home, use the vacuum cleaner to get rid of them. Once you finish vacuuming, clean out your vacuum cleaner properly to prevent the unpleasant odor from lingering afterward.
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In conclusion, dogs love to eat stink bugs and as such, ingesting stink bugs is not toxic or harmful to your pet. However, the unpleasant smell and secretions can cause drooling, vomiting, stomach upset and eye irritation.
Typically, these symptoms will resolve on their own; however, if you notice that the symptoms are persisting even after 8 to 12 hours, then it is recommended that you take your pet to the vet.