Is it true that dogs attract maggots?

Introduction: The Question of Dogs and Maggots

As a dog owner, you may have heard the rumor that dogs attract maggots. This idea may be unsettling, particularly if you’ve noticed maggots on your dog or in their environment. However, before jumping to conclusions, it’s essential to understand the relationship between dogs and maggots and what attracts these insects to dogs.

Understanding Maggots

Maggots are fly larvae that hatch within 24 hours of being laid. These larvae feed on decaying organic matter, such as meat, feces, or dead animals. Maggots play a crucial role in the ecosystem by breaking down organic matter and recycling nutrients.

The Relationship Between Dogs and Maggots

Dogs can be attractive to flies and, consequently, maggots. Flies are drawn to dogs because of their body heat, scent, and moisture. Additionally, dogs’ feces and wounds can be a food source for maggots. While maggots can be beneficial in some situations, such as in composting, they can pose a health risk to dogs and humans when they infest living tissue.

Factors That Attract Maggots to Dogs

Several factors can attract maggots to dogs, including poor hygiene, open wounds, and fecal matter. Poor hygiene can create a breeding ground for flies and maggots to thrive. Dogs with open wounds or skin infections are more susceptible to fly infestations, as the flies are drawn to the moisture and scent of the wound. Finally, fecal matter can attract flies and maggots, particularly in warmer weather.

Identifying Maggots on Dogs

Maggots on dogs can be identified by their small, white, worm-like appearance. They can often be found in wounds, skin folds, and fecal matter. Maggots may also produce a foul odor and cause your dog to itch or scratch excessively.

Health Risks Associated with Maggots on Dogs

Maggots can pose a severe health risk to dogs, as they can infest living tissue and cause extensive damage. Maggot infestations can lead to skin infections, sepsis, and even death. Additionally, the presence of maggots can attract other insects, such as fleas and ticks, which can further harm your dog’s health.

Prevention of Maggots on Dogs

Preventing maggots on your dog involves maintaining proper hygiene, keeping wounds clean and covered, and promptly cleaning up fecal matter. Additionally, using flea and tick prevention can help keep flies and other insects at bay.

Treatment of Maggots on Dogs

If your dog has maggots, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian will likely clean and debride the affected area, removing all maggots and affected tissue. They may also prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to manage the infection and prevent further damage.

Myths and Misconceptions About Dogs and Maggots

There are several myths surrounding dogs and maggots, including the idea that maggots are beneficial to dogs. While maggots can be helpful in some situations, such as in composting, they can pose a severe health risk to dogs when they infest living tissue.

Conclusion: The Truth About Dogs and Maggots

While it is true that dogs can attract maggots, it’s essential to understand the factors that attract these insects and the health risks they pose. Maintaining proper hygiene, promptly cleaning up fecal matter, and seeking veterinary care for wounds can help prevent maggots on your dog. If you notice maggots on your dog, seek veterinary care immediately to prevent further damage and infection.

References and Resources

  • American Kennel Club. (n.d.). Maggots on dogs: Causes, treatment, and prevention. Retrieved from
  • ASPCA. (n.d.). Maggots in dogs. Retrieved from
  • Merck Veterinary Manual. (n.d.). Myiasis. Retrieved from

Further Reading on Dogs and Maggots

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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