Are Ladybugs Poisonous to Dogs or Toxic

What are they?  

Coccinellidae otherwise referred as to ladybugs (North America) or ladybirds (Britain) or what entomologists refer to ladybird beetles or lady beetles is a family of small beetles whose size ranges from 0.8 to 18mm.

These insects have various colors with varying patterns, play dead when caught by a predator, and secretes an oily nasty tasting and foul-smelling fluid that oozes out of their legs’ joints to deter their predators.

There are over 5000 different species of coccinellids (Coccinellidae species) with most of them being useful since they prey on smaller herbivorous scale insects under the superfamily Coccoidea such as aphids.

However, some are herbivorous such as the Mexican bean beetle which is considered pests that eats various crops including potato, grain, and bean leaves.

During winter, it is common for the different species of ladybugs to move to cracks on your window, door frames, walls, exterior sides, and so on to shelter from the extreme weather conditions. During this time, it is possible for your pets to find and try eating them.

Are ladybugs poisonous to dogs
Are ladybugs poisonous to dogs

Are they toxic or poisonous to dogs?

Most of the ordinary ladybugs are not toxic or poisonous to dogs. However, you should discourage your pooch from munching them. One specific type, the Harmonia axyridis (multicolored Asian, Japanese, harlequin or Asian lady beetle) is known to be harmful to these pets.

Note that it is normal for dogs and cats to hunt for and eat various bugs including grasshoppers, stink bugs, crickets, flies, and so on. Whereas some of these insects and other invertebrates may be harmless, some are not only poisonous but also harmful.

Therefore, unless you can identify which coccinellid species your dog or cat has eaten, you need to be watchful and discourage your pets from eating any ladybirds. Besides their nasty taste which your pooch may not like at all, there are some of the risks associated with some types of ladybugs, especially the Asian ladybird.

  • Firstly, the Harmonia axyridis (Japanese or multicolored Asian beetle) may cause a chemical burn that can result in “a little bit of ulceration on the roof of the mouth were the bugs secrete that hemolymph.”[1]. These toxic secretions may also damage your canine friend’s teeth.
  • Secondly, they are associated with various symptoms including drooling, lethargy, mouth forming, refusal to eat and so on, in case your dog eats the Asian ladybirds and they get embedded in its mouth roof.
  • Furthermore, the corrosive nature of the hemolymph may erode the intestinal tract, leading to ulceration, impaction and stomach upsets, especially if consumed in large amounts. You should know that these pets may not be able to digest their hard shells hence the impaction.

We have a detail case study on what was reported at the Kansas vet’s office on ladybugs in dog’s mouth where we will be singling out only this one species.

If you suspect your dog has eaten a lot of the Harmonia axyridis, you can begin looking at the various symptoms of a dog with ladybugs on the roof of mouth we have noted. Physically examining their soft palate, and manually removing them in case you note any.

If you do not see any, you need to consult your vet since some of the gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea that may be bloodstained, impaction, lethargy, drooling, etc., could also be caused by other disease and conditions.

Conclusion

Most of the ladybugs are not bad or harmful to dogs or cats. However, some species have been reported to be harmful. Always discourage your dogs from eating any type. If you suspect your canine friend has eaten some, you need to check their mouth.

See also

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1 Comment
  1. Hello,
    I live in Oregon. I am having difficulty finding anyone, let alone vets, to entertain my analogy of what maybe happening to my Chihuahua’s. I’ve had animals my entire life, being raised on a farm and all.
    I am very connected to my dogs. I believe I may have lost one Chihuahua to what is explained regarding the toxic/poisonous Asian ladybird or lady beetle and I have two others trying to weather the bug.
    I cannot seem to get the vets to look outside of the regular box. Evening providing specimen and photo’s. I’ve been to multiple emergency vets since July of this year. When I suggest what I am seeing and show them I get a generic answer to what it is and I am not buying it. It absolutely know something is happening to my babies and why I think this may be related:
    1. a film is left behind as a slug leaves (for lack of example)
    2. I’ve thought there maybe 3 components and after looking at the life cycle what I’m collecting in bedding ect. Very, very interesting they play dead!!! Very, very interesting a hair is associated w/it and various colors and shapes. I have pixs on my fingers w/my hand totally reaching: swelling and red and shinny.
    3. Black/dark brown things in my kids mouth (dogs). I even had dentals done thinking their eating manners that were not normal since raising them, would help. Actually, I beleive it is worse and neither had to have any teeth pulled. ( meaning I really take excellent care of my animals). Preventative actions always. K9 Advantx II and after vet new X9 Spectrum. Deworming yearly but w/the vet last mouth a four day deworming-
    All of the above, along w/X-rays, Altra-sounds, varies blood work, poop samples, pee samples and vitals ALL are good, as my male I lost on July 10, 2019. The pain I feel cause I received a call over the 4th just to set my mind at easy, Everything looked great- took him to a vet less than 12hrs before he died w/fluids coming out his nose and mouth. And now my other two are exhibiting the same symptoms since July when my male died. I’ve had exterminators here for the house and car. I”ve followed all the in the box eliminations- mostly allergies, mostly Chi. have large eyes, mostly the mouth is shaped that way, mostly the age (which Lacey is 9 and Riker her son is 4 and Zz my AKC Bronze GrChampion Bronze, barn-hunt titled, CGC, Rally title need I say more was still trying to chase his ball a day before the fluids gushed out of him. The last vet I saw 12hrs prior thought he was obese and I kept telling her he was bloated, his neck hurt to the point he didn’t want is lead put on, he loved to go bye-bye but he didn’t want to be picked up, swelled out, was licking the air and me (which made me think he was lacking a mineral but he was trying to tell me something. Lacey his wife- is losing control of her back end and her joints are good and she is athletic- WAS and now I believe she is losing her hearing or getting dementia due to behavior oddness, w/in a month from seeing one ER vet to another she has congentive eye problems, something of which happens over time not 2wks. The corrosion chemicle would explain the acculturation on her eye as well as Rikers at 4yrs of age. Exstreem bloating. Their faces are swelled, they don’t itch, they rub. If I wipe them with a towel prior to bring them in sometimes they cry out in pain. Need I go on. I can send photo’s can you please help me. Additionally, I can feel the difference in the texture of the coats and I’ve been I wouldn’t say bit or stung but shocked. It isn’t static electricity either but enough to make me jump and let go. Does this sound like I’m dealing with some type of microscopic lady beetle? I have pixs of dogs, specimens and my reactions on my hands.
    4. It all started with vomiting and diarrhea
    5. Now eating oddly, bloating, unstable in back end- on Lacey and I believe it is starting on Riker- strange growths in mouth, dental work done beginning of Sept. but mouth looks horrific and gums are turning black. I do not know if blood work needs to be specific for toxins- I know parasites are non-existent due to my preventative care. I’m told nothing is seen on the dogs and vitals are good. Allergy meds don’t help, the cough syrup, I believe is a band-aid for an underlying problem; although, it has a slight sedative effect which helps keep them to be comfortable. Not that they are coughing a lot just clearing throats with a couple ganging coughs. Point blank they are getting worse and I’ve spent almost $4,000.00 since the end of July 2019- Not including my horrible loss July 10, 2019. Does anyone know what is happening to my babies?? is this the lady beetle?

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