Cicada Brood X Coming
It sounds ominous when you read the headlines that say “Swarm of Brood X cicadas is coming.” If you’ve ever seen a cicada before, it can appear even more sinister due to their red eyes and veined, translucent wings.
However, while they can be a noisy hindrance, this appearance is actually an event that many people are looking forward to. Since these cicadas, called “tidal cicadas”, only appear every 17 years, researchers and insect enthusiasts are looking forward to this time of year. Another type, annual cicadas, appear every year in certain parts of the world.
Because of their semi-rarity, each brood of these periodic cicadas receives a Roman numeral, so it is technically called “Cicada Brood 10,” not the X as it appears. Brood X is one of the most common flocks, so it is highly likely that you will run into at least a few of these bugs when they decide to show up in the coming weeks.
Delicious treat? Why your dog can smell cicadas
We all know that our furry friends are interested in the world around them. Anyone who has ever walked a dog knows how long it will take them to track down every smell and sound they encounter, especially if they are new to them.
Of course, this means they are energized and ready to hunt cicadas. If you live in an area where cicadas appear regularly, then you may already know how your dog will react to this upcoming swarm. However, if this is your first time meeting a brood of cicadas with your dog, you may be worried or apprehensive about what will happen when you inevitably see them on your daily walks.
Fast Facts: Can Your Dog Eat Cicadas?
After all, every dog owner asks the question, “Are cicadas dangerous for my dog?” The short answer is no, but the long answer is important and contains a few more subtle nuances.
First, cicadas do not bite or sting. They look strange and dangerous, but in general they just want to be left alone. Their life cycles are rather short, so they are more focused on mating and reproduction than anything else.
During this time, it is very likely that your dog will try to eat at least one live cicada. If this happens, don’t worry. While not the easiest food for dogs to digest, they are not toxic or inherently harmful to your furry friend’s digestive system.
Not good news
The problem arises when dogs are allowed to chew on live cicadas or exoskeletons, which they discard uncontrollably. The exoskeleton of the cicada is tough and fibrous, and the wings are tough and crunchy. Both of these things can pose a choking hazard, as if the dog was chewing on a bone when it is too small and fragmented.
Aside from the choking hazard they pose, your dog can also get stomach upset if he eats too many cicadas. All this extra fiber is incredibly difficult to digest, and veterinarians say it can lead to “mild to severe gastrointestinal upset.” In the most severe cases, your canine companion may need to see a veterinarian for drinks and medication.
Finally, since cicadas are considered a nuisance to most people due to the noise and sheer numbers that appear, homeowners usually spray pesticides abundantly whenever a swarm approaches. Again, if your dog tries to eat only one or two cicadas, it most likely won’t affect him. However, overeating these insects can lead to unhealthy amounts of pesticides being ingested.
Can I keep my dog from eating cicadas?
Dog owners know that even the most well-mannered puppies have times when they easily forget their names and all the commands they have learned. Experts say that the best and most effective way to keep your furry friend from eating too many cicadas is to make sure they are well versed in the “quit” or “leave it” command.
Another way to keep your dog safe is to make sure it is on a leash and under supervision when it is outside. This will allow you to steer him away from mistakes and return to something else. Some veterinarians also recommend keeping treats handy during outdoor walks so that you can redirect your dog’s attention and then reward his obedience.
What should I do when my dog is eating a cicada?
Your dog will inevitably try to eat at least one cicada this year, so it’s only natural to have a plan ahead of time.
- First, don’t panic. Cicadas are not inherently dangerous to pets or humans. In fact, many animals and people eat cicadas as a delicacy. The biggest potential danger your cicada-eating puppy poses is that it is not a normal part of his diet.
- If your dog manages to eat a live cicada or an abandoned exoskeleton, the best thing you can do is keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t suffocate or behave strangely. Encourage him to stop walking and chew the beetle well. This will help minimize the risk of choking.
- Experts recommend contacting your veterinarian if you notice any signs of lethargy, changes in appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea in your dog. This could be a sign of an allergic reaction or a possible gastrointestinal obstruction.
- It can also be helpful to bring a portable water bowl with you for a walk so that you can offer your dog some water to help the insect move safely through the digestive tract.
After all, it’s okay for your furry friend to grab a few cicadas as a taboo treat. They are not toxic to humans or animals, so if you look after your pet and keep the amount of cicadas he eats to a minimum, both of you will survive the cicada season just fine.