Generally, cockroaches are not a big threat to dogs and cats, for a couple reasons. First, roaches avoid them in most circumstances just like they avoid humans and other larger animals. Cockroaches view cats and dogs as threats that are better off avoided. So roaches usually hide for protection when they detect the movement of a cat or dog.
Second, dogs and cats are well protected from roaches by their fur which covers almost the entire body. Therefore, if a cockroach does happen to come in contact with a dog or cat, it is very difficult for the roach to bite or otherwise hurt the animal. One of the reason dogs and cats are covered in fur is to protect them from roaches and other insects that might bite them. Fleas are one notable exception that have overcome this defense.
My dog likes to corner and catch cockroaches. She flips them up in the air with her mouth and then rolls around on her back on top of the cockroach. It seems to be a form of play. I worried at first that the roach might pose a danger to my dog, but nothing bad ever happened from this behavior.
The only time cockroaches might be a danger to your pet cat or dog is in an extreme circumstance where there is a large cockroach infestation. This would be if there are many cockroaches but not enough food or water to sustain them. Cockroaches become desperate then and get more daring in their search for sustenance. They are most likely to approach a sleeping cat or dog in order to consume food or water either near or on the animal.
Do cockroaches bite dogs and cats?
Cockroach bites on dogs and cats are unusual, but not unheard of. You usually don’t need to worry about this unless you have many cockroaches. When food is scarce and the population is large, a cockroach may risk approaching a dog or cat in order to eat food remnants off of the skin of the animal. This sometimes results in cockroach bites on a cat or dog’s face, paws, or any other area on its body that is not covered by heavy fur.
A cockroach bite looks a little bit like a mosquito bite but usually a little larger. In addition to being itchy, cockroach bites become infected quite easily if they are not properly cleaned, so they do pose a risk to the animal. Usually, a cat or dog will bite and scratch at a cockroach bite until the skin is broken, which leads to infection. Keep cockroach bites cleaned and covered so your pet cannot get at them.
Bacteria spread by cockroaches could possibly pose a threat to your dog or cat
In addition to the risk of bites, cockroaches also carry bacteria and germs from one location to another. So roaches can easily contaminate a pet’s food or water dish if they are also using it as a source of food. Don’t leave cat or dog food laying around after your pet is finished eating. Put the unfinished food back in the container so as not to attract roaches.
If your home has a cockroach infestation and you also own a cat or dog, I recommend that you use a boric acid powder as a pesticide to eliminate the cockroaches. Boric acid is not harmful to dogs and cats in small quantities, and pets are usually avoidant of the powder. Please be aware though that there have been cases where a cat or dog has ingested a large amount of boric acid which is led to serious kidney issues. So be careful to spread the powder in places where your pet cannot reach, such as inside the kitchen cabinets, under the refrigerator, etc.