Are Cockroaches Dangerous to People and Pets?

Updated: May 10, 2023

Cockroaches are an unsavory site for a home or business owner. How dangerous are they really though?

Cockroaches are an unpleasant pest to find in your home. Besides the initial shock of discovering a cockroach, there can also be concern about their effect on people, homes and businesses. Learn what you should know when dealing with roaches.

Dangers Cockroaches Pose to People

Besides being gross and a nuisance, cockroaches carry bacteria and can be problematic for those with asthma and related health problems.


One of the first signs of cockroaches in the home is feces left behind. Known to eat anything in sight, cockroaches defecate everywhere, creating a breeding ground for disease and bacteria passed via their stool.

Disease and Bacteria

Cockroaches can indirectly pass diseases and bacteria harmful to people through the food and surfaces they touch. It isn’t via direct transmission like a mosquito, but through their ability to grab and move these pathogens to places people and animals come into contact with. Some diseases and bacteria include:

  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus
  • E. coli
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae

Allergies and Asthma

Many parts of the cockroach, including their saliva, feces and any part of their body that sheds, can cause allergic reactions or asthma irritations. Similar to a dust allergy, the allergens can cause an allergic immune reaction.

Continued exposure to these allergens has shown to be a strong risk factor for asthma and can contribute to respiratory issues. It’s important to create a clean environment to avoid a cockroach infestation.


Omnivores that feast on plants and meat, cockroaches typically will not bite people unless provoked or put into a dangerous situation. If a cockroach bites, you will notice skin irritation and swelling around the site. Their bites resemble those of most other bugs, with a small pink raised bump.

As a nocturnal pest, cockroaches most likely will bite at night near where they find food residue (mouth, face, nails, etc). Their bites are generally harmless because they don’t transmit pathogens that way. Treat a roach bite like any other wound:

  • Wash and clean the site with soap to help remove bacteria and prevent infection
  • Use ice on the site if additional swelling occurs
  • Use an antihistamine cream if the bite itches

Dangers Cockroaches Pose to Pets

Dogs and cats are much larger than cockroaches, which typically make themselves scarce around predators. Roaches themselves are not poisonous, so your pet eating a clean roach most likely will not be an issue. With any household pest your pet consumes though, there may be the chance that bacteria gets transmitted. If you catch your dog or cat eating a cockroach, keep an eye out for any adverse reaction.

While a pet’s interaction with a cockroach is unlikely to be harmful, the chemicals and poisons used to kill roaches can be harmful to pets. Consult an exterminator on how to safely get rid of cockroaches and with little risk to the health of your pets. Keep roach toxins and poisons out of reach.

Cockroach Dangers to Property and Businesses

As carriers of disease and bacteria, roaches create an unsanitary and unhealthy environment for people. No one wants cockroaches in their restaurant or small shop.

If you see potential signs of cockroaches, act quickly to mitigate the problem. Learn the steps to get rid of cockroaches, or hire an exterminator to evaluate the infestation and provide the best solution. The health of your employees and customers and the survival of your business are at stake.

Psst! If you’re struggling with a cockroach infestation, Hot Shot Liquid Roach Bait is an affordable and effective way to eradicate cockroaches fast.

Cockroach Resources

Check out these pest control articles for more information about cockroaches and what it means when you find this pest in your home or business.