cicada insect

The cicada, a little insect with a characteristic sound that enchants summer nights, can be a tempting treat for your curious pup. Therefore, you may be wondering if cicadas are toxic to your dog. Technically, the answer is no: These thunderous insects are not toxic to your pooch.

However, they are difficult to digest due to the chitin present in their exoskeletons. As a result, your pet may suffer from gastrointestinal upset if they eat several of these insects. In addition, they can cause allergic reactions in some dogs.

What Happens If Your Dog Eats Too Many Cicadas?

In most cases, your dog won’t have any health problems if they eat a few cicadas on a hot summer night. However, if they get into the habit of devouring every cicada that they find in their path, they may suffer from mild to more severe digestive issues. Indeed, although cicadas do not contain “toxins” that could poison your dog, their exoskeleton can be difficult for your four-legged friend to digest.

Here are the potential health risks to your dog if they eat too many cicadas:

  • Stomachache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (with or without the presence of blood)
  • Allergic reactions to chitin (a major constituent of the exoskeleton of cicadas)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Choking on the insect’s wings or exoskeleton
  • Intestinal blockage
black dog vomiting on grass
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

How to Keep Your Dog From Feasting on Cicadas

Here are some tips to keep your beloved dog from getting sick from those big, crunchy bugs:

  • Don’t let your dog roam freely in areas where cicadas congregate (such as woods, fields, and large green spaces).
  • Walk your dog in areas where the cicada song is less intense.
  • Take your dog out around dawn and dusk, when cicadas are less active.
  • Limit the time that your dog spends alone in your yard.
  • Pay attention to signs of digestive problems in your dog.
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you have any concerns about your pet’s condition or if their symptoms suddenly worsen.


Although cicadas are not poisonous to your dog, it is best to prevent them from eating them. Be on the lookout for signs of gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, but don’t panic if you see your pup eating a cicada. It is likely that they will digest the insect normally and immediately start chasing another critter in your backyard! But as always, it’s best to call your vet if you have any concerns.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay