If Brood X is emerging in your area, then your neighborhood has become an all-you-can-eat bug buffet.
The 17-year emergence of these red-eyed insects is not just about noise pollution, as many are finding out. Veterinarians are fielding questions about cicadas as snacks left and right.
Just how many cicadas can your pet ingest before having issues? The answer is: it depends. If you've got chickens, then let them go nuts. Dogs, however, should be monitored when outside if you notice them going after these crunchy treats.
According to the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, the cicadas' exoskeletons can be hard on your dog's digestive tract and also cause choking in smaller breeds. While you don't have to worry about toxicity, eating too many of the winged creatures can definitely take a toll over time.
Cicadas don’t sting or bite. Cicadas are not toxic. Cicadas’ crunchy/crispy exoskeleton can irritate the stomach lining if eaten in large volumes and can be a potential choking hazard, especially for small dogs.#BroodX #cicadas pic.twitter.com/bCdB3MzUFm— FDA CVM (@FDAanimalhealth) May 25, 2021
The American Kennel Club paints a bleak picture of the trouble that can occur if your dog overindulges: bloody stools, potential allergic reactions, vomiting, and upset stomachs are all symptoms to watch for. Bottom line, it's all about how many cicadas they eat.
If you haven't seen your own pets go nuts on these noisy seasonal visitors, here are some Tweets about how other pet parents are handling this phenomenon:
My dog Milo thinks cicadas are Doritos. But he passed this one up, apparently on grounds that it was still alive, and so not crunchy enough. pic.twitter.com/jq23M5V6mM— Robert Wright (@robertwrighter) May 27, 2021
My dog literally thinks it’s cloudy with a chance of meatballs out here in cicada city. I’m like girl just wait till a giant pancake crushes the school and we have to move to a new island on a pb&j raft.— Gem Gem (@gemilyginch) May 26, 2021
My dog hasn’t been eating much lately and today my husband figured out why:— Imogene Cancellare (@biologistimo) May 26, 2021
HE WON’T STOP EATING CICADAS IN THE BACK YARD pic.twitter.com/xF0yPyMHdu
In heebeegeebee news— Steven Posnack (@HealthIT_Policy) May 23, 2021
Me: So many cicadas coming out of ground tonight, I can hear them walking up the bark of trees and it sounds like drizzle.
Dog: (eating them off the tree) what's up dad, buffet is open pic.twitter.com/EW8XTdhfok
If you think you notice some of the symptoms listed above, you may want to start limiting your dog's unsupervised outdoor time. Go on walks instead of leaving them in the yard for extended periods, and keep track of the cicada progression in your neighborhood. Even after the insects die off, those exoskeletons will be around for a while. Be vigilant until the wave of Brood X is really gone.
Are your dogs gorging themselves on cicadas? Have you noticed any negative effects? Tell us about it in the comments, especially if you've found a way to keep your dog from overindulging.