Cicadas have tough exoskeletons, and they can be a little gritty, so they may not be the most appetizing snack. But can dogs eat cicadas safely? If you caught your pup crunching on one in the park, there’s no need to worry unless it’s followed by vomiting or diarrhea.

Why Are There So Many Cicadas in the USA?

Periodical cicadas in the USA are unique in that they emerge in enormous numbers, sometimes covering entire trees. There are several reasons for this.

Most of them have a 17-year lifecycle. Females lay their eggs underground, and the young cicadas stay there until they’re ready to emerge. The climate in the eastern USA is perfect for them because it’s warm and humid all year round. So every 17 years, a new generation from a given brood hatches, emerges from the ground and takes over the skies.

Since there are 15 broods of periodical cicadas in the USA, 3 of which have 13-year lifecycles, sightings can be quite frequent. Brood X has already emerged twice in this millennium – in 2004 and 2021. It’s predicted to appear again in 2038.

Cicadas can be a nuisance when they emerge en masse, but they’re harmless to people and pets. If you see one in your yard, just leave it alone – it’ll go away sooner or later, and the whole swarm will die out in a few weeks.

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What to Do if Your Dog Ate a Cicada?

Since cicadas are not toxic to dogs, one shouldn’t cause any harm, but if your pet has eaten a few, you may want to keep an eye on them just in case. If they start to be sick or have runny stools after eating an insect, take them to the vet. Otherwise, there’s no need to worry – cicadas are harmless and even nutritious!

Can Dogs Eat Too Many Cicadas?

Insects may look like a filling, crunchy snack for your dog. While they’re rich in protein, they’re also hard to digest. That means that if your dog eats cicadas too frequently, they may experience some gastrointestinal issues.

Billions of Brood X cicadas were in the outdoors not long ago, and especially greedy dogs could be seen stuffing themselves with the insects. This is dangerous. Their sharp exoskeletons could cause gastrointestinal perforations if eaten in large numbers at once.

While it’s rare, some dogs can get severe allergic reactions to cicadas. Symptoms can include:

  • swelling,
  • hives,
  • itching,
  • fever,
  • vomiting,
  • diarrhea.

If your dog has eaten a lot of cicadas, or if you notice any of the above symptoms afterwards, contact your veterinarian right away.

Can Cicadas Bite or Sting Your Dog?

Can dogs eat cicadas and get stung by one? No, they don’t bite or sting. They have a piercing proboscis that they use to drink sap from plants, and while it can look scary, it’s completely harmless to humans, dogs and cats. It’s unlikely that they’ll mistake your pet for a tree!

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Enjoy the Calm Before the Next Cicada Season

After their recent emergence, you’re unlikely to see billions of cicadas at once for a long time. In the meantime, your dog may munch on other insects in the park or backyard. Ladybugs, June bugs, and beetles can all be a tasty snack for your pup – don’t let them eat too many and all will be fine!

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