Can Dogs Eat Cicadas? 

Everything pet owners need to know about their furry friends and cicada season.

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Can Dogs Eat Cicadas

This article was approved by Dr. Stephanie Liff, Lemonade’s favorite vet.

It’s cicada season, and as these “tree crickets” emerge in droves, you’re probably wondering if your dog can eat cicadas. The short answer is: Yes, but it’s not recommended, and definitely not in large amounts. 

What might look like just a crunchy snack to your pooch could pose several health risks.

Here’s the buzz on pet safety when it comes to cicadas.

  • Cicadas are not toxic to dogs, but their hard exoskeletons can cause health issues—like gastrointestinal problems and potential intestinal blockages—if they eat a lot of them.
  • If your dog eats cicadas, monitor them for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and contact your vet right away if they are showing symptoms.
  • Supervise your dog outdoors and train them with commands like “leave it” to prevent them from gobbling up cicadas.

Are cicadas poisonous to dogs?

Good news first: Cicadas are not poisonous to dogs. 

However, the hard exoskeleton (aka outer shell) of cicadas can cause some serious issues if ingested in large quantities. When cicadas emerge after their 17-year nap, they shed their skin, leaving the crunchy remains behind, which you’ll see littering the ground when they’re in peak season.

Additionally, cicadas might have been exposed to pesticides, posing further health risks. 

What happens if my dog eats cicadas?

During cicada season, avoid areas known for high cicada activity, such as wooded regions.

If your dog ate cicadas, they might experience some digestive upset. A few cicadas probably won’t cause harm, but eating a lot of them could result in symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (which might sometimes be bloody)
  • Lethargy (aka extreme tiredness)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blockages, in extreme cases, which could require emergency veterinary care

If your pooch experiences any of these symptoms after eating cicadas, or if you suspect they ate a lot of cicadas, it’s time to call the vet.

While it’s not so common for cicadas to cause illness in dogs, pets often get annoyed by them, or even more so, their owners get annoyed by their pets trying to eat them.

Dr. Stephanie Liff

How can I prevent my dog from eating cicadas?

Preventing your dog from eating cicadas involves a mix of supervision and training. 

Keep an eye on your pup when they’re outside, especially during the peak of cicada emergence—which typically occurs from mid-May to late June in the US. 

Training commands like “leave it” can be particularly helpful. Check out some of Lemonade’s favorite puppy training videos for tips on how to get your dog to listen to you, and much more.

Also, during cicada season, avoid areas known for high cicada activity, such as wooded regions.

What is the risk of cicadas where I live?

Cicadas can emerge in large numbers, sometimes in the trillions

Cicadas, especially periodical cicadas like Brood X, Brood XIII, and Brood XIX, emerge in large numbers—sometimes in the trillions. A brood is a group of cicadas that appear together at the same time and place every 13 or 17 years.

Here are the main regions of the US to look out for cicadas:


  • Illinois: Brood XIII typically emerge in the Chicago area, particularly in the northwest suburbs where mature trees are abundant. Brood XIX also appear, especially in southern Illinois counties like Jackson, Williamson, and Union, where large tracts of forest provide ideal conditions for cicada emergence.
  • Indiana: Brood X emerge prominently in central Indiana, including significant areas around Indianapolis and Geist Reservoir, known for its mature trees. Brood XIX emerge in eight western counties, including Posey, Warrick, Newton, and Jasper, due to their extensive forested areas.
  • Ohio: Brood X emerges in central Ohio, with significant activity around Columbus and Dayton. Additionally, Brood V emerges in eastern Ohio, particularly in the counties along the Ohio River.
  • Michigan: Brood X emerges in southern Michigan, with significant activity in the counties surrounding Detroit and Ann Arbor.


  • Maryland: Brood X is known for its heavy emergence particularly in the central and western parts of the state, including Baltimore and the surrounding counties.
  • Virginia: Brood X emerges prominently in northern Virginia, including areas around Washington, D.C., and extending westward into the Shenandoah Valley. Brood XIX also appears in southern Virginia, particularly in counties like Halifax and Mecklenburg.


  • Georgia: Brood XIX emerges in northern Georgia, including areas around Atlanta and extending into the Chattahoochee National Forest.
  • North Carolina: Brood XIX emerges in the western part of North Carolina, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains and the surrounding foothills, providing a substantial emergence in areas like Asheville.


  • New York: Brood X emerges in southeastern New York, particularly in the Hudson Valley and the metropolitan areas surrounding New York City.

Can cats eat cicadas?

cats can eat small quantities of cicadas

Yes. Similar to dogs, it’s generally ok for cats to eat small quantities of cicadas. But if they eat a lot or show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, or discomfort, make sure to consult your vet right away.

Before we go…

While the sight of your dog chomping on cicadas might be amusing, the potential risks aren’t worth it. 

But if your dog sneaks their way to the outdoor cicada buffet and needs a trip to the vet after, Lemonade pet insurance could help cover the cost of their treatment. Unexpected vet bills can be stressful, but with the right coverage, you can ensure your pet gets the care they need without breaking the bank.

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Are there any long-term effects if my dog eats cicadas?

Generally, there are no long-term effects if your dog eats a few cicadas. However, repeated or large quantity ingestion can lead to ongoing digestive issues. Always keep an eye on your dog during cicada emergence periods to prevent overindulgence, especially if they seem to have an appetite for the little critters.

Can cicadas cause an allergic reaction in dogs?

While rare, dogs can have an allergic reaction to cicadas. This is more likely if your dog has a shellfish allergy, as cicadas are biologically similar to crustaceans.

If your dog has known allergies, be extra cautious during cicada season.

How many cicadas are too many for a dog to eat?

The answer depends on the size of your dog. While a Great Dane might handle a few better than a Shih-Tzu, it’s best to prevent your dog from eating cicadas altogether. The risk of blockages and digestive issues increases with the quantity consumed.

Can eating cicadas cause a blockage in my dog’s intestines?

Yes, eating a lot of cicadas can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines. Intestinal blockage in dogs are life-threatening emergencies. Many dogs require intestinal blockage surgery to fix them, which can cost from approximately $2,000 to $10,000.

Do cicadas have any nutritional value for pets?

Cicadas do have some nutritional value as they contain protein, fat, and certain vitamins and minerals, much like other insects.

However, the risks associated with their hard exoskeletons and potential pesticide exposure outweigh the benefits for dogs and cats.

If you are considering alternative protein sources for your pets, consult with your vet first.

A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.


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