Should you be worried if your pet eats cicadas?

Billions Of Cicadas Will Emerge This Year In Several States
Posted at 9:17 PM, May 19, 2021

Cicadas have begun popping out of the ground and experts think the main swarm is coming later this week and into the weekend. Dog owners know it can be tough to quell a canine's love of eating everything, so are cicadas safe to have on their menu?

"As a pet owner, you are always eyes up, looking around, making sure he can't get into trouble," said Alex Eling, owner of a good boy in Walnut Hills.

Eling's dog Ryker is typically well behaved and all around good, but Eling said the pup will eat anything he can get his paws on.

"He'll eat absolutely anything he possibly can," said Eling. "We had chicken tonight. He didn't leave my side waiting for scraps. Anything he can get his little mouth on, he's going to try to."

Dr. Joe Stratman, a veterinarian, said he recalls the last swarm, 17 years ago, when the sound of the bugs filled the region. He said dogs should be fine to eat a few cicadas here and there, but as with anything, they're best in moderation.

"If your dog goes out exploring and eats one or two, don't panic," said Stratman. "If your dog won't keep his face out of the yard and you have a bunch of them in your yard, it's certainly something you wouldn't want to encourage."

If your dog sees the cicada swarm as an opportunity to gorge him or herself at an all-you-can-eat buffet, there could be some consequences.

"If there's an overwhelming number of them in the stomach, they can cause pain and irritation in there," said Stratman. "The occasional dog will get an intestinal blockage from it, but that's really rare."

He said anyone who thinks their dog may have chowed down on too many of the bugs should monitor their pet for symptoms like vomiting, discomfort lying down and drinking an excess of water. It's possible as the bugs pass through a dog's system, it could result in diarrhea, he said.

Overall, the bugs are not poisonous to pets, but could cause more issues if your lawn is heavily treated.

"If these bugs are coming out on a lawn that has been treated or has pesticides on them then, yeah, the animal can get sick on the pesticide," said Stratman.

When asked about whether cicadas are safe for cats, well, the answer was fairly predictable: Stratman said cats typically only play with cicadas and won't eat them.