Can Dogs Eat Cicadas? Unveiling the Truth About This Seasonal Snack

Can Dogs Eat Cicadas?

Cicada season is here, and with it comes the unmistakable buzz that fills the air. As a dog owner, I often watch my furry friend’s curiosity spike whenever these noisy insects make their appearance. It’s almost a ritual; the cicadas emerge, and the snacking attempts begin.

Can dogs eat cicadas safely, you might wonder? The short answer is, yes, in moderation. While a few cicadas aren’t harmful, there are several things you, as a pet owner, should keep an eye on. The excitement of dogs eating cicadas can turn concerning if not monitored closely.

Let’s face it, our dogs can be quite the opportunistic eaters. Although these crunchy insects might seem like a harmless snack, there are potential risks that come with their hard exoskeleton and the possibility of allergic reactions.

So, as we navigate through this noisy season, let’s explore how to ensure our pets can enjoy their natural curiosity safely, without any unwanted trips to the vet.

Key Takeaways

  • Cicadas are not toxic to dogs, but they can cause problems if consumed in large amounts or if your dog has a specific sensitivity.
  • Monitor your dog closely during cicada season to ensure they do not overindulge, which can lead to gastrointestinal upset or choking hazards.
  • Be aware of allergic reactions and signs of distress in your dog, such as excessive scratching, red eyes, or difficulty breathing, which may indicate an allergic response to cicadas.
  • Consider the environmental risks, such as pesticide contamination on cicadas, which can pose serious health risks if ingested.
  • Stay informed about cicada seasons, especially if you live in an area prone to periodical cicada emergences, to better prepare and protect your dog each year.

These points provide a quick reference to help ensure your dog navigates cicada season safely and healthily, giving you peace of mind during these buzzing months.

Are Cicadas Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Cicadas are fascinating to both humans and animals, but when our dogs start munching on these insects, it’s natural to question their safety. While generally not toxic, there are several factors to consider before letting your dog indulge.

Understanding Cicadas

Cicadas are primarily known for their loud mating calls and are a common sight during their peak season. These insects spend most of their life underground and emerge in large numbers, especially during periodical cicada events. Dogs, being curious animals, may be tempted by the movement and noise.

Potential Risks

  • Allergic Reactions: Just like any new food, cicadas could cause allergic reactions in dogs. Symptoms might include itching, red eyes, or more severe reactions requiring immediate attention.
  • Digestive Issues: The hard exoskeleton of cicadas can be difficult for dogs to digest. Consuming too many can lead to gastrointestinal upset or even blockages, which are serious and might necessitate a vet visit.
  • Pesticide Contamination: Depending on where the cicadas have emerged, they might carry pesticides or other chemicals, which can be harmful if ingested by your dog.

Understanding these risks helps pet owners manage their dogs’ interactions with cicadas more effectively, ensuring that the curiosity does not lead to serious consequences.


Dogs Overindulging in Cicadas

It’s one thing for your dog to snap up a cicada or two, but what happens when they start gobbling them up like popcorn? Overindulgence in anything, even something as seemingly harmless as cicadas, can lead to problems. Let’s break down what risks your dog faces when they overeat these crunchy insects.

Experience Mild to Serious GI Upset

  • Mild to serious gastrointestinal upset can occur if dogs eat too many cicadas. Symptoms might range from slight nausea and loose stools to severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Monitoring how many cicadas your dog consumes is crucial to prevent these issues.

Choke on the Stiff Wings or Hard Exoskeleton

  • Cicadas, with their stiff wings and hard exoskeleton, can pose a choking hazard, especially to smaller dogs or those that tend to gulp their food without chewing properly. Keep an eye on your dog as they eat cicadas to ensure they are chewing them adequately.

Suffer Allergic Reactions

  • Just like any other allergen, cicadas can trigger allergic reactions in some dogs. If you notice your dog exhibiting signs of distress such as excessive scratching, swelling, or difficulty breathing after eating cicadas, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.

Consume Unhealthy Amounts of Pesticides

  • Cicadas that have emerged from ground treated with pesticides carry these chemicals on their bodies. Consuming these cicadas can lead to pesticide poisoning in dogs, which can manifest as neurological symptoms, respiratory problems, and even fatalities in severe cases. If cicadas are abundant in an area known for heavy pesticide use, it might be safer to prevent your dog from eating them altogether.

Keeping these risks in mind will help you manage your dog’s cicada consumption and ensure their curiosity doesn’t harm their health.

When to Call a Vet

If your dog has eaten cicadas, it’s generally considered safe, but there are a few signs that you should watch for which indicate a need to call your vet:

  • Allergic Reactions: Watch for symptoms such as excessive scratching, hives, swelling around the face, or difficulty breathing. These could indicate an allergic reaction to cicadas.
  • Digestive Upset: If your dog shows signs of gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite following their cicada snack, it’s wise to consult your vet.
  • Choking or Blockage: Cicadas can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages, especially in small dogs. Symptoms may include drooling, gagging, a distended abdomen, lethargy, or unproductive vomiting.
  • Excessive Consumption: If your dog has eaten a large number of cicadas, the high protein and exoskeleton can cause constipation or more severe digestive issues. Monitor their bowel movements and general behavior closely.

Whenever in doubt or if any of the above symptoms occur, it’s safest to call your vet immediately for advice. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific health needs and circumstances.


How Long Will the Threat Last?

Every dog owner who’s dealt with cicada season might wonder about the duration of this noisy period and its implications for their pets. Understanding the timeline can help manage how we handle our dogs’ interactions with these insects and minimize any potential risks.

Duration of Cicada Season

  • Cicada season typically varies depending on the type of cicadas. Most commonly, periodical cicadas, which appear in large numbers, have a life cycle of 13 or 17 years and are quite predictable. They usually emerge for about four to six weeks, providing a temporary feast for curious dogs.

Impact on Dogs

  • During the peak emergence, the sheer number of cicadas means it’s more likely your dog will encounter and possibly eat them. This period requires vigilant monitoring to prevent your dog from overindulging. The end of the season typically sees a sharp decline in cicada numbers, reducing the risk of your dog eating too many.

Preparing for Next Season

  • As a pet owner, knowing the cicada cycle can help you prepare for future emergences. This might include adjusting walking routes to avoid heavily infested areas or consulting with a veterinarian on preventative measures during peak cicada times.

By keeping informed about the duration and frequency of cicada seasons, you can better protect your dog from the potential dangers associated with these intriguing yet problematic insects.



As we’ve explored throughout this blog, while cicadas may not be inherently dangerous for dogs, there are several factors that need careful consideration. From the risks of choking and allergic reactions to the potential for pesticide exposure, it’s clear that allowing your dog to indulge in these insects should be handled with caution.

Remember, moderation is key, and keeping an eye on your dog during cicada season can prevent many of the issues associated with these crunchy insects. If your dog seems overly interested in cicadas or starts showing any signs of distress after eating them, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of our furry friends.

By staying informed and vigilant, we can ensure that our dogs enjoy cicada season safely, without suffering any of the serious consequences that can arise from overindulgence. Here’s to a safe and enjoyable season for you and your pets!

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