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Can a bug zapper hurt a dog

The short answer is that it's not very likely to cause serious harm, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

September 3, 2023

3 min read time

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Summer nights in the backyard are best enjoyed bug-free.

And while bug zappers are an effective way to enjoy your alfresco dinners without uninvited guests, you may find yourself asking: “Can a bug zapper hurt my dog?”

As a loving pet owner, it’s natural to worry about the gadgets we bring into our homes and yards.

This guide will answer your burning questions and put your mind at ease (or at least inform you of the risks).

What is a Bug Zapper?

A bug zapper is an electronic device designed to lure and electrocute flying insects like mosquitoes, flies, and moths. They usually consist of a light source, typically ultraviolet (UV), and an electrified grid.

Why Do People Use Bug Zappers?

They’re convenient, relatively low-maintenance, and effective at reducing the number of flying pests. No more swatting or messy sprays; just plug it in, and you’re good to go.

How Do Bug Zappers Work?

Bug zappers utilize UV light to attract insects. Once the insects approach the light, they meet a shocking end as they touch the electrified grid surrounding the light.

Potential Risks to Dogs

Electric Shock

While the jolt from a bug zapper is designed to be fatal to insects, it could be uncomfortable or startling to a curious dog.

Chewing or Pawing at the Device

If your dog decides the bug zapper looks like a fun chew toy, they might get a nasty surprise.

Ingesting Zapped Insects

Some dogs might find the electrocuted insects appealing snacks, posing a risk of ingesting bacteria or parasites.

What Do Veterinarians Say?

Most vets agree that while bug zappers aren’t usually harmful to dogs, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. The shock is generally not powerful enough to cause injury but can cause stress or fear.

Common Precautions for Pet Owners

  • Place the zapper out of reach: To prevent any unintended nose-to-grid contact.
  • Consider fencing: Small barriers can keep your pet away from the device.
  • Supervision: Keep an eye on your dog when the bug zapper is in operation.

Real-Life Experiences

Jane, a dog owner, shares, “I was worried at first, but my Golden Retriever, Max, paid no attention to our bug zapper. Still, I keep it out of his reach just to be safe.”

Bug Zapper Alternatives Safe for Pets

  • Natural Repellents: Think citronella candles or essential oils like lavender.
  • Pet-Friendly Traps: Some traps use adhesive rather than electricity to catch bugs.


Q: Can my dog get electrocuted by a bug zapper? A: It’s unlikely. The electric charge is generally too low to harm a dog but could cause discomfort.

Q: What should I do if my dog chews on the bug zapper? A: Consult your vet immediately for advice tailored to your pet’s specific condition.


So, can a bug zapper hurt your dog?

The short answer is that it’s not very likely to cause serious harm, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

With careful placement and supervision, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy a bug-free summer.