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VERIFY: Yes, these small ladybug lookalikes can be harmful for your pet

They look like ladybugs, but they are something totally different! And it turns out, they can make your pets sick.

WASHINGTON — Verify exists to bring you the facts in a sea of misinformation on social media. From coronavirus to elections and yes —  even your furry friends.

A viewer sent us a photo from Facebook. It claims these ladybug look-alikes, known as Asian lady beetles, are poisonous to dogs.

So let’s Verify:

QUESTION: Are Asian lady beetles harmful to pets?

ANSWER: Yes, they can be harmful if enough are consumed.

Credit: WUSA9

SOURCES:

The American Veterinary Medical Association

The ASPCA Poison Control Center

Floyd Shockley, an entomologist with the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

PROCESS:

Floyd Shockley, who works at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History,  says common “ladybugs” are also beetles. They're just different species, which is why they can look so similar.

But Asian lady beetles are slightly larger than ladybugs and also slightly longer. Ladybugs head's are black with small white markings that are found on their sides, while the Asian lady beetles will also feature a typically "M" shaped white marking as well.

Tina Wismer, a veterinarian with the ASPCA says most pets don’t like the taste of Asian lady beetles, and typically won’t eat more than one or two. 

She says a small amount likely won’t cause problems -- but larger quantities could lead to mouth and stomach ulcers, and make your dog sick.

The AVMA agrees.

In a statement to our Verify researchers, the association said the bugs could give your pet an upset stomach or get stuck in the grooves of their mouth.

Both organizations say if you think your pet ate some of these beetles, call your vet.

Shockley says Asian lady beetles get into homes late fall and stay through winter, usually in attics.

So we can Verify that yes, these beetles can be harmful if your pet eats enough.

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