My Dog Ate American Dagger Moth Caterpillar What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 02/05/23 •  3 min read
Dog Severe Toxicity Level
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Dog Ate American Dagger Moth Caterpillar

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Moth caterpillars are common in all parts of the US, and sometimes they can grab the attention of a dog. What’s more fun (for your dog) than chasing a moth caterpillar, such as the American Dagger moth caterpillar? Some dogs may even try to eat these caterpillars, but can the American Dagger moth caterpillar make a dog sick?

Has your dog eaten an American Dagger moth caterpillar? Are you worried the American Dagger moth caterpillar will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.

We’ve gathered information about American Dagger moth caterpillars and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

What is an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar?

The American Dagger moth caterpillar is a pretty yellow, fluffy moth caterpillar. They have long black hairs sticking out of their bodies, too. These caterpillars have a natural defense mechanism that includes toxins on their hair. The dagger-like hairs have the ability to inject the toxin into the skin. Even the shed hair of this caterpillar can cause this problem.

Most people who touch these caterpillars experience a stinging sensation that results in an itchy rash.

While American Dagger caterpillar toxin can affect humans, what about dogs? What happens if a dog eats an American Dagger caterpillar?

American Dagger Caterpillar & Dogs

Unfortunately, the American Dagger caterpillar toxin is also harmful to dogs. In most cases, the dog will experience the sting and itchy rash of the caterpillar. However, it’s possible that a dog could be allergic to the caterpillar’s toxin.

Symptoms of American Dagger Caterpillar Ingestion in Dogs

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten an American Dagger caterpillar:

Common reaction:

Allergic reaction:

If your dog has any concerning symptoms or shows signs of an allergic reaction, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.

Treatment of American Dagger Moth Caterpillar Ingestion in Dogs

The vet may treat an allergic reaction with antihistamines and corticosteroids. In a severe allergic reaction, the vet may need to also give your dog an IV with fluids and to administer medications.

Your fur baby may require epinephrine if he’s having a severe allergic reaction. This medication works to stop the reaction. In some cases, your canine companion may also require supplemental oxygen to ease his breathing.

The prognosis is best for dogs that receive prompt medical treatment after eating an American Dagger moth caterpillar. In the future, it’s a good idea to train your dog not to eat these and other bugs or caterpillars. He may even decide to avoid them on his own! And you’ll both be happier for it!

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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