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Warm weather brings a host of adventures for your pup, and one of the many mysteries your dog may find too enticing to ignore are the emergence of cicadas. These loud, buzzing insects don’t sting or bite, so you might think they’re harmless to your pup. But what if your dog develops a taste for these hard-shelled insects? Can dogs eat cicadas safely, or do they pose a health hazard if ingested?
There are more than 3,000 different species of cicadas that live throughout the U.S. and the world. Some species are annual and come out every summer or late spring. Others are periodical and emerge from the ground in enormous masses every 13 or 17 years, depending on the species.
The periodical breeds mate and then lay their eggs in tree branches before they die. When the eggs hatch, they fall to the ground, and the nymphs burrow underground, restarting the next 13-17 year cycle.
Periodical cicadas are unique to the U.S. and live primarily in the eastern and central regions of the country. There are 15 different broods of periodical cicadas, which emerge in the millions to trillions in certain areas and cause quite a commotion for four to six weeks before they die.
Swarms can range from several thousand to 1.5 million per acre, depending on where you live. Cicadas are known for the loud mating call of males, and large swarms can reach 96 decibels, drowning out the sound of a motorcycle.
Brood X, the largest of the 17-year cicada broods, is due to emerge this spring in a wide area of the eastern U.S., stretching from Tennessee and North Carolina up to New York, western Illinois, and southern Michigan (affecting areas in 15 states and Washington, D.C.).
When Are Cicadas Coming This Year?
Depending on the temperature and latitude of where you live, you can expect to start seeing and hearing the swarm in late April to the first or second week of May. They will emerge when the ground temperature reaches about 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Once they appear, they generally stick around for four to six weeks.
Is the cicada dangerous to dogs or simply a fun treat (at least in their eyes)? No, cicadas aren’t poisonous or toxic to dogs. But that doesn’t mean you should let your dog munch on them en masse.
Cicadas have a hard exoskeleton that can be difficult to digest if your dog gorges himself. Eating too many can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. You may also want to consider if you’ve sprayed any chemicals over the areas where cicadas have been underground — especially if you’re experiencing a large swarm. The best advice for your pup? Try to keep your dog away from opportunities where he can eat cicadas.
Dogs eating cicadas isn’t usually a big concern. If your dog consumes a cicada or two, he’ll likely be fine. However, if he overindulges before you can stop him, keep an eye on him over the next several days to make sure he’s okay. If your dog does experience severe vomiting or diarrhea, contact your vet as soon as possible.
This brief video of a dog that snuck a cicada in the house might remind you of your precious pup.
Bees, wasps, and hornets are also favorite warm weather curiosities for dogs. Snouts, mouths, and paws exploring these buzzing wonders are especially prone to stings. For most dogs, bee stings aren’t a big deal, but some dogs can develop serious health complications quickly. So be sure to read our article about dogs and bee stings to know when it’s time to seek emergency vet care if your dog gets stung by a bee.Tagged With: Food Safety