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What if My Dog Eats a Flea or Tick?

Is There Anything to Worry About?

By Kim Compton. January 01, 2011 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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What if My Dog Eats a Flea or Tick?

Should you be worried if your dog eats a flea or tick? Here are the possible issues.

The short answer is don't worry too much if your dog eats a flea or a tick. Your pet’s stomach is strong enough to handle an accidental insect ingestion, and so are you! While watching your dog pick up a dead bug with the tip of his tongue might not be the most pleasant sight, as long as it’s not a regular occurrence there is no cause for concern.

One Flea, Two Flea, Three Flea, Four

However, if your pet has developed an affinity for munching on bugs, I wouldn’t be as cavalier about their crunchy diet. Speak with your veterinarian or a pet specialist if you notice flea and tick ingestion becoming a common problem. When fleas are consumed on a regular basis, the probability of your dog developing tapeworm greatly increases.

As fleas often feed on pet feces, they are known to carry tapeworm eggs in their system, which can be transmitted to a cat or dog upon digestion. In most cases, a dog’s stomach acid should be strong enough to kill off the egg before it hatches. Same goes for ticks.

If a tapeworm does happen to develop, there are several safe and efficient treatments including fast acting antibiotics. To prevent tapeworms, be diligent about preventative flea and tick control year round. If your cat or dog is on a regularly scheduled treatment plan, the possibility of dead fleas, eggs or larva being accidentally eaten greatly decreases. On the same token, stay diligent about your pet’s hygiene as well as the cleanliness of your home to ensure a happy and healthy life for your pet.

More on Fleas and Ticks

Understanding Fleas and Ticks
Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment
25 Startling Flea and Tick Facts
Flea and Tick Questions, Answered
Why is My Flea and Tick Medication Not Working?
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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