Pixabay, cicada

The swarm of cicadas that are currently emerging from a 17-year subterranean sleep across parts of the eastern United States, a group known as Brood X, is not only capturing the attention of people but pets as well.

“With their inescapable presence, many of us may wonder if these winged insects pose any dangers to our pets,” said BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital officials.

One of the most pressing questions: Are cicadas dangerous for dogs and cats to ingest? According to the veterinarians at the hospital group, the short answer is no.

“Cicadas themselves are not dangerous for dogs or cats to eat,” officials said in a statement. “The problem with animals eating cicadas is related to the volume consumed. Dogs can binge on many things (think about a bag of dog food or bird seed left unsupervised). Binging large volumes of cicadas can cause food bloat and may require medical care. While cicadas are not poisonous, and they do not sting, they can have pesticide on them which may be toxic depending on the amount consumed.”

Allergic reactions to eating cicadas are possible but rare, according to officials.

“Because cicadas are biologically similar to crustaceans like shrimp, people and pets with shellfish allergies can have allergic reactions to them,” officials said. “If your pet has a known allergy to shellfish, it is best to keep them indoors or closely supervise them while outdoors during the emergence of Brood X.”

So, how many cicadas are too many cicadas?

“This would depend on the size of the pet,” officials said. “A few cicadas may be safe, depending on the size of the pet, but it is best to train your pet not to eat them to avoid overindulgence. Cicadas can also be a choke hazard for your pet, especially if they do not chew them.”

Whether or not a pet needs to supervised outdoors depends on how that pet interacts with cicadas, according to officials.

“If they will not stop eating them, then on-going supervision or leashing outdoors away from shrubs, trees and fences through the duration of the emergence is recommended,” officials said.

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