My Dog Ate a Cicada – What Now?

It’s a beautiful summer day, and your dog is happily exploring the backyard when you notice them chomping down on something. Upon closer inspection, you realize they have just eaten a cicada. While cicadas are generally harmless, it’s natural to be concerned about what this means for your pet. Let’s explore what happens when your dog eats a cicada and what steps you should take to ensure their well-being.



What Are Cicadas?

Cicadas are large, winged insects known for their distinctive loud buzzing noise. They emerge from the ground in large numbers during specific periods, typically every 13 to 17 years, depending on the species. While cicadas are not toxic to dogs, their sudden appearance can make them an irresistible target for curious pets.

Are Cicadas Harmful to Dogs?

Generally, cicadas are not harmful to dogs. These insects do not carry toxins that could poison your pet. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind if your dog has eaten a cicada.

Digestive Issues

One of the most common concerns when a dog eats a cicada is the potential for digestive upset. The hard exoskeleton of cicadas can be difficult for dogs to digest, which may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort. Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, or a general decrease in appetite. If your dog shows any of these signs, it’s important to monitor them closely and contact Palos Animal Hospital at (708) 448-6600 if the symptoms persist.

Potential for Choking

Cicadas, especially when consumed whole, can pose a choking hazard. Smaller dogs or dogs that tend to gulp their food without chewing properly are at a higher risk. If your dog starts to choke, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary assistance. In case of an emergency, contact Palos Animal Hospital right away or request an appointment online.

What Should You Do if Your Dog Eats a Cicada?

If your dog has eaten a cicada, don’t panic. Here are the steps you should follow to ensure your pet’s safety and health.

  • Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior: After your dog consumes a cicada, keep a close eye on their behavior. Look for signs of digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive drooling. Also, be on the lookout for any indications of choking or difficulty swallowing.
  • Provide Plenty of Water: Ensure that your dog has access to fresh water. Drinking water can help to flush out any small particles or exoskeleton fragments from their system, reducing the risk of digestive upset.
  • Avoid Panic: It’s important to remain calm. Cicadas are not toxic, and in most cases, your dog will pass the insect without any serious issues. However, if you notice any concerning symptoms, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian.

When to Contact the Veterinarian

While most dogs will experience no serious effects after eating a cicada, there are certain situations where you should contact your veterinarian.

Persistent Symptoms

If your dog continues to show signs of digestive distress or if they have difficulty breathing or swallowing, it is crucial to seek veterinary care immediately. Persistent symptoms can indicate a more serious underlying issue that needs professional attention.

Several Cicadas Are Ingested

While cicadas are generally not toxic, consuming multiple cicadas can pose a higher risk of gastrointestinal blockages or irritation. If your dog ate several cicadas and is exhibiting concerning symptoms such as severe vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or signs of choking, contact Palos Animal Hospital immediately at (708) 448-6600.

Preexisting Health Conditions

If your dog has preexisting health conditions, such as allergies or gastrointestinal issues, they may be more sensitive to eating unusual items like cicadas. In such cases, it’s best to consult with Palos Animal Hospital to ensure your pet receives the appropriate care.

Preventing Your Dog from Eating Cicadas

Preventing your dog from eating cicadas can be challenging, especially during peak cicada season. Here are a few tips to help minimize the risk.

  • Supervise Outdoor Activities: Keep a close eye on your dog when they are outside, especially in areas where cicadas are abundant. Supervising your pet can help you intervene before they have a chance to consume any insects.
  • Training and Commands: Teaching your dog basic commands such as “leave it” or “drop it” can be incredibly useful. Positive reinforcement training can help your dog understand that they should not pick up or eat cicadas.
  • Maintain a Clean Yard: Regularly clean your yard to remove any dead cicadas or exoskeletons. By keeping the environment free of cicadas, you reduce the temptation for your dog to eat them.

Ensuring Your Dog’s Safety During Cicada Season

While the sight of your dog eating a cicada can be alarming, it’s important to remember that these insects are generally harmless to pets. By monitoring your dog’s behavior and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure their well-being during cicada season. If you have any concerns or notice persistent symptoms, contact Palos Animal Hospital at (708) 448-6600 or request an appointment online.