Can Dogs Eat Cicadas

Can Dogs Eat Cicadas

Author WDF Staff


After 17 long years, cicadas are back! The summer of 2021, other than Covid, will be remembered by a massive brood of cicadas that appeared in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions of the US. They were impossible to miss. Cicadas are large and incredibly loud. Naturally, our dogs will be interested in them. Many dog owners reported their dogs ate a couple of these insects. Here’s what you should know about dogs eating cicadas.

Are they dangerous?

This question has layers, and the first thing most of us want to know is - Are cicadas dangerous for humans? No, cicadas are not dangerous. These insects don’t bite or sting. However, they are annoyingly loud. If you were in the area cicadas infested, you noticed their “songs.” Their mating call can reach 100 decibels, which is louder than a motorcycle.

The second question dog owners need to be answered is - Are cicadas dangerous for dogs? In most cases, the answer is - no. They are not poisonous, and some insects have a better protein to weight ratio than beef. However, cicadas are hard, and if your dog eats too many, there are a few potential problems they could face.

cicada closeup

Cicada exoskeleton

One of the things you should absolutely prevent your dog from eating is the shed cicada exoskeleton. Adult cicadas will shed them everywhere; on trees, on the ground, houses, flowers… These exoskeletons are pretty hard and incredibly difficult to digest. If you notice your dog is interested in them, you should prevent them from eating them. The best way to do that is to teach them the “Leave it!” command.

What if my dog ate cicadas?

We are very well aware that it can be impossible to prevent your dog from munching on these insects, especially since there were about a trillion of them in the air, ground, and all around us. However, the good news is your dog will probably be entirely fine. However, you should never allow your dog or encourage them to eat cicadas. Some of the issues your dog might face if they eat too many cicadas are;

Gastrointestinal upset

One of the most likely outcomes will be a gastrointestinal upset. Your dog is not used to eating bugs, and eating one too many cicadas can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach aches.

Choking hazard

These bugs are pretty resilient, and they have rigid bodies and wings. Dogs that try to swallow the insect without chewing it can choke. This is also a problem with exoskeletons. They are hard to digest and chew properly, so make sure you don’t allow your dog to eat them.

cicada on ground


Another possible issue is pesticides. These bugs traveled everywhere, and many farmers protected their fields and crops with pesticides. However, not all cicadas will die from touching or ingesting them. Your dog can get a worrying amount of pesticides in their body by munching on these loud flying bugs.


Another issue dog owners noticed and reported was allergic reactions. Dogs can be allergic to something inside or on the cicada’s body and can get mild to severe allergic reactions. It is best to prevent them from eating cicadas at all.

In conclusion

Your dog will most likely be completely fine after eating a cicada or two, but make sure they don’t overindulge their cicada “cravings.” This is not something our dogs need in their diet, nor do these bugs offer health benefits. The good news is that the next large brood is expected in 2038. Nevertheless, teaching your dog the “Leave it!” command is a good idea.

World Dog Finder team

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