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Can Dogs Eat Cicadas? Are They Poisonous Or Dangerous?


Last Updated: April 2, 2024 | 2 min read | Leave a Comment

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Dog snout looking at a cicada in the grass.
Image credit: ieronymos, Shutterstock

Warm weather brings a host of adventures for your pup, and one of the many mysteries your dog may find too enticing to ignore is 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?

Where Do Cicadas Live?

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 to 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.

Two Broods To Emerge In 2024

The U.S. will see a rare cicada occurrence as the 13-year Brood XIX will emerge in 14 states across the Midwest and Southeast, and the 17-year Brood XIII will emerge in five Midwestern states. Both broods are expected to pop up around the same time in the spring of 2024.

According to Cicada Mania, the two broods won’t overlap. The closest area of both broods is in the Springfield, Illinois area. This double whammy is the first time this has occurred since 1803 and won’t happen again until 2245.

United States cicada brood map with years.
Image credit: USDA Forest Service

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 stay for four to six weeks.

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Dogs?

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 whether 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.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Cicada?

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.

Does Your Dog Bring Cicadas In The House?

This brief video of a dog that snuck a cicada into the house might remind you of your precious pup.

Other Buzzing Insects That Pose A Threat

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.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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