Is it safe for any dog to eat poisonous bugs such as scorpions, centipedes, black widows, etc? My dog eats poisonous bugs that are in our house (mainly black widows and scorpions) but I thought it might be dangerous and may be harmful but I am not really sure.

1 Answer 1


The key aspect of the answer to this question is the distinction between the words poisonous and venomous:

  • A poisonous creature (or plant, for that matter) delivers its toxin when ingested, that is, when you eat it.
  • A venomous creature delivers the toxin by injecting it, usually through the skin.

It is quite conceivable that a venomous creature would not be poisonous due to the effect of stomach acids, as long as there were no opportunities for injection while it was being swallowed. A scorpion's tail would remain a threat at this time, for example, but it would have to be alive still as scorpions have to choose to envenomate their prey, so if it's dead then that would not be the threat to worry about. The same is true with black widows.

Whether they are poisonous to your dog is a separate question, but my belief is that the toxin in each case will be broken down in the dog's stomach and pose no risk.

  • 3
    You have your definition of venom slightly off. Venom is any toxin produced by an animal, which may or may not be a poison. Poison is any toxin that is harmful if ingested, which may or may not be a venom. So alcohol is a poison, but not a venom, a black widow injects venom into a bite but the venom is not a poison, and poison dart frogs produce venom that is also a poison. All of the above fall in the category toxin.
    – KRyan
    Jun 8, 2014 at 22:01

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