What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Maggots?

Maggots are nothing more than the early stage of flies and can be usually found in decayed environments because flies like to lay eggs on rotten food so the new worms can feed off of it.

If your dog ate maggots, he will be probably fine, even if ingesting a big amount of maggots could cause some discomfort. In that situation, the real threat to your dog’s life is the rotten food he found the maggots on.

What should you do if your dog eats maggots?

As we said, if your dog ate something with maggots, the food they ate is more concerning than the maggots on it.

As maggots reproduce in a rotten environment, whatever your dog ate wasn’t probably the healthiest thing they could eat. It may also happen that your dog ate some food that is toxic to them, and that is way more harmful than the maggots.

You should assess what your dog ingested and how many maggots were on it. In fact, a big amount of maggots could cause stomach pain and other uncomfortable situations that you may want to warn your veterinarian about.

Maggots should be digested without problems in most cases, however, if you notice vomiting, diarrhea, or other concerning symptoms, do not hesitate to bring your dog to the veterinarian.

What happens if a dog eats maggots?

Maggots are not poisonous for your dog and are too small to cause any major damage unless large ingestion of maggots happens.

A dog eating maggots often don’t show any symptoms and goes on with his life just fine.

However, it is still concerning for pet parents when a dog eats these worms because we are used to hearing about the terrible diseases that parasites like heartworms and tapeworms can cause to our dogs.

Luckily, maggots are not that kind of worm.

Maggots in dog food

It is concerning but not uncommon to find maggots in dry dog food or dry food in general. This can happen with high-quality dog food as well, as it doesn’t depend on the factory.

Dog food companies do their best to avoid worm infestations in their packages, however, once the food leaves the factory, there are many chances for maggots to infest the bags along the way.

If the food is left in a storehouse with little light and great humidity as it often happens, here comes the maggots.

To eliminate maggots from your dog’s food, inspect dry food packages as soon as you come home from the store. Pour the food into another container and check for worms. If you find any, eliminate them one by one so that they don’t have a chance to contaminate other food.

Maggots in fresh dog’s poop

Pet parents freak out when they find what looks like grains of rice in their dog’s poop because it is often a symptom of tapeworm infestation.

However, maggots are attracted to fresh stools as well. If you leave your dog’s poop outside long enough, you can be sure to find it covered in white specks all over. Maggots will lay eggs in fresh dog poop and feed the larvae with it.

Since these worms can easily infest your garden for a long time and carry infections that can affect humans as well, remember to clean up after your dog immediately instead of leaving their stools lying around.

Dogs with maggots infestations.

If eating maggots is no big deal for your dog, having maggots infest a wound is a life-threatening situation for your pet.

These worms will attack any wound, regardless of the animal species. Even if the wound is small, if it bleeds or has pus, the smell will attract the flies.

Flies can lay hundreds of eggs at a time and within a day or two, they will all hatch and release worms onto your dog’s skin. The worms will start feeding off the wound, making it bigger and bigger.

Eventually, they will dig their way into your dog’s body and eat everything they find along the way, including their organs and brain.

It is not uncommon to see dogs with wounds so big you can actually see inside their body. Sometimes they may have missing pieces of ears or other parts of the body as well.

It is a terrible sight and one you would never want your dog to be in. And unfortunately, a dog with maggots infestation that is left untreated may die in just two weeks’ time.

Symptoms of maggots infestation in dogs.

Spotting maggots on your dog is fairly easy because these worms literally dig holes in their skin. Most dogs will present small or big round-shaped wounds thriving with little white worms.

In dogs with very long fur, it may be harder to spot them at a first look, that’s why it’s recommended to trim your dog’s hair once the warm season comes.

Once the maggots start digging their way into your dog, they will also start releasing toxins that will make your dog sick very quickly. Common symptoms are lethargy, high fever, and shock.

What should you do if your dog has maggots in their wound?

Maggots will feast on dead meat and any decaying matter they can find in your dog’s wounds. Even small scratches or superficial wounds may be at risk of maggots infestation.

If your dog has wounds or scratches, don’t let them roam outside until they’re treated back to health.

Be extra careful during the mating season, as male dogs are used to bite each other when they fight over a female and could easily open wounds that can quickly become infested.

If you notice maggots on your dog’s skin, bring them to the vet immediately. Maggots-infested wounds can be very dangerous for the health of your pet.

What you should not do when a dog is infested by maggots.

Your first reaction could be that of trying to get rid of the maggots yourself, however, you should not do that at home.

Some pet parents think that pouring dangerous liquids like gasoline or bleach can solve the problem, but your pet might ingest or inhale some of the liquid and become very sick.

Even simple boiling water is a very bad idea because you will cause severe burns to your dog in an area that is already badly wounded.

Do not use sprays and over-the-counter medicines either. Chances are they won’t be as effective as you wish and you will only hurt your dog more.

Treatment for maggots infestation in dogs. 

Even in severe cases, recovery is possible and usually quick as soon as your veterinarian removes the maggots from the wound.

Your vet will clean the area with antiseptic and put chloroform into the wound and remove the maggots one by one. It is a long process because the maggots count can easily reach thousands in just a few days.

Then, an ointment designed specifically to kill maggots is applied, like Maggocide. All oxygen needs to be prevented from entering the wound in order for the maggots to die, so your vet will stuff the wound with gauze and wrap it tightly with a bandage. No air must pass under the bandage.

Depending on the severity of the case, the dressing will need to be changed once or twice per day and every time your veterinarian will need to remove other maggots. That’s right, they won’t die all at once and may still be inside the wound after several days, but it is important to stop the reproduction.

Supportive therapy includes the use of antibiotics and tissue healers. If treated properly, your dog will be treated back to full health very quickly.

With maggots infestations, prevention remains the best treatment. During warm months, every wound or scratch your dog may have should be thoroughly checked by your veterinarian.

Can dogs eat maggots?

Maggots are of course not meant to be eaten by dogs, but if your dog happens to eat some, there is little to worry about.

They could cause some discomfort for your dog, but it shouldn’t be anything worse than a stomach ache. Of course, a medical check-up is never a bad thing in these situations.

On the other side, maggots can be really dangerous if they infest your dog’s wounds. In that case, they could cause severe damage and even kill your dog.

If your dog is wounded, even if it’s a little scratch, prevent them from going outside until they’re completely healed, especially during the so-called maggot season (spring-summer).

This is an informative article and should not replace actual medical advice. If your dog shows any unusual behavior or symptoms after eating maggots, you should nonetheless consult your veterinarian.