The Short Answer is:
Dogs do not get worms when they eat maggots, and they are not toxic when consumed.
The purpose of this article is to explain “Help! My Dog Ate A Maggot“.
What a gross thing to do! Its disgusting to see your dog eating maggots but as a pet parent you know dogs will eat just about anything given the chance.
Donot worry about your dog being harmed by the maggots he will be fine!
You should know a few things though since this may happen again.
If your dog ingests some maggots it is not a problem but if he becomes infested with them it is a different story. He could become very ill.
My dog ate a maggot what should I do?
To begin with what exactly are maggots? They’re larval insects usually fly larvae. If you saw your dog catching a fly would you be concerned? I think its pretty funny. He eats maggots as a kind of revenge for chasing the fly away.
You can lay anywhere from 500 to 2000 eggs at the same time with your garden variety fly. The eggs will become larvae within a day. Some maggots can grow up to 20 mm long but most are around 3-9 mm long. How disgusting!
Keeping an eye on your pet just in case is the only thing you can do if he ate a maggot snack! However the real problem is not the maggots themselves but where did your dog find them.
Why do dogs eat maggots?
Maggots are not a favorite food of dogs nor do they look for them specifically. The maggots just happen to be on some of the stuff they consider edible most of the time.
Your dog may gulp down a bit of discarded food during your daily walk or stick his nose in the trash can if hes a scavenger. You do not always have time to react so the dog has already gobbled up the food before you manage to pull the leash.
The larvae of flies must consume rotten food in order to lay eggs. This explains for instance all the flies buzzing around the trash can thats worm heaven. Dogs and flies are on the same page on this one as the most voracious pets are ecstatic when they get a chance to browse through the trash and eat whatever they can find with or without maggots.
Maggots can also be ingested by dogs while devouring dead birds or other small animals. That is even grosser but for them it is still food.
Lastly maggot-infested poop. You do not have to scold your dog for eating feces since around 1 in 4 dogs will do so at least once. 16% of all dogs classify themselves as hardcore poop-eaters meaning they are caught at least five times. Dogs for some unknown reason prefer old frozen poop hence the term ‘poopsicle’. Donot be too judgmental about it its natural for them.
The fact that your dog sticks to his own feces isnot a problem since that stuff has already been absorbed by his body. Even so you should be concerned if your pet eats another animals poop as they can become infected with all sorts of bacteria or even parasites. Essentially maggots are not a concern but other nasty microscopic creatures found in that poop may be harmful.
Do maggots cause worms?
Maggots are mostly protein so your dogs stomach acids will digest them as they would any other food. Your dog cannot contract worms from maggots but the disgusting treat your dog just had may have contained worm eggs or even real worms.
If your dog is on a regular deworming schedule the medication you give him should deal with the problem so there is no need to worry.
You should however watch your dog see if he displays any signs of worm infestation if you would not worm your dog regularly.
How can I stop my dog from eating maggots?
Getting your dog to avoid eating maggot-infested food dead animals and feces is the best thing you can do for him. The solution is easy if this happened only while on a walk; keep a close eye on the dog and the pavement of course.
However this only works for dogs in apartment buildings who are closely supervised outside. With dogs that have a big backyard to run around in things become more complicated. In this case teach your dog to avoid anything that may be infested with maggots from an early age.
Keep your pets poop clean by picking it up and disposing of it as soon as possible. Some pet owners are alarmed when they discover maggots in their dogs feces.
In most cases this occurs when the stool was not properly disposed of and it attracted flies looking for nutrients. You may have a problem if these are not maggots but rather actual worms.
A dog may consume poop to make up for nutrient deficiencies in its system. When your dog does that regularly you should take him to the vet and have him examined to see if he is lacking anything in his diet.
If you see your dog dragging a dead bird into the house take it away immediately despite your pets outraged barks. By eating dead animals your pet may acquire worms particularly roundworms and coccidia.
Furthermore if the dead rat or rabbit was poisoned your pet is at risk of getting secondary poisoning. If you want to be safe teach him not to feast on dead animals.
Scavengers can simply be discouraged by purchasing a trash can with a tight-fitting lid. Neither you nor your dog should eat spoiled food since bacteria can develop on it rather quickly and cause your dog to become ill. Watch out for signs of diarrhea or vomiting if your dog ate some days-old food out of the garbage.
Why are there maggots in my dog’s food?
Maggots can sometimes be found in rice or flour in your pantry for the same reason. Insects can get into packaged food and the eggs will hatch in warm temperatures leaving the food crawling with maggots.
When you buy large bags of kibble there is plenty of time for the maggots to hatch so you should buy smaller bags. You should return a bag of dog food that is full of maggots to the store and buy something else if you have just opened it. Many times these things are not the brands fault they just happen.
Why do dogs become infested with maggots?
It is more than disgusting to see maggots crawling on your dogs skin. Its a sign of a serious problem myiasis or maggot infestation that you need to address as soon as possible.
The flies only care about providing nourishment for their larvae so if your dog has a wound that has not been treated they will lay eggs in it.
In fact any weak spot is good for attracting flies not just wounds. Maggots can be found around an infected bite in skin folds an infected ear or on fur matted with urine and feces. There will be maggots anywhere there is food readily available. Once the maggots pass through the dead or infected skin they attack the healthy skin feeding on it with saliva. Furthermore maggots can burrow under the skin or inside your pets rectum or vagina.
If you find maggots on your pet you should act immediately because the little creatures can release toxins that are poisonous to dogs. You should treat it as a medical emergency because your dog might develop a fever which can lead to lethargy and toxic shock.
You should be aware of so-called home remedies that recommend applying lime turpentine or petrol to a wound. Thats mostly useless and can actually harm the dog more than he already is. In order to kill maggots on contact it is safe to squirt Ivermectin directly into the wound. Iodine solution should be used to disinfect the wound after 30 minutes.
However thats only an option in an emergency when you can not get to a vet immediately. Make an appointment as soon as possible because your pet may require antibiotics or steroids to reduce inflammation.
Maggots are not specifically sought after by dogs. As well as maggots they eat rotting food dead animals and poop that catches their attention. Dogs do not get worms when they eat maggots and they are not toxic when consumed.
The bacteria in spoiled food can poison your dog so you need to be more concerned with that. Furthermore your dog might get worms from eating the poop of other animals.
Maintain a tight leash on your dog if he seems interested in more than just sniffing random poop and do not allow him to eat it.