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Veterinarians warn that eating cicadas can make dogs sick

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) – Cicadas are invading Indiana and veterinarians are seeing more pets get sick after eating too many of the crunchy critters.

“I have had two dogs that have had diarrhea that have had to have medical intervention because of the amount of cicada shells they have eaten,” said Dr. Erin Smyth with Log Cabin Animal Hospital near Geist Reservoir.

Cicada. (Provided Photo)

Dr. Smyth said the bugs aren’t toxic, however, eating too many can upset an animal’s stomach. 

“The cicadas themselves are not toxic, the problem is that the exoskeleton shell is not digestible. So if they are eating tons of them, they are getting diarrhea, some vomiting. They just may feel kind of puny with an upset belly,” said Dr. Smyth. 

Seamus the lab is one of Dr. Smyth’s patients and loves to eat everything.

“They want to keep snacking on the cicadas,” said Seamus’s owner, Stephanie O’Brien.

O’Brien lives in Lawrence and said her house is swarmed with cicadas. She is now having a hard time stopping her dogs from eating the bugs.

“Unfortunately, the dogs are just trying to eat them – constantly,” said O’Brien.

Dr. Smyth checking on Seamus (Provided Photo)

Veterinarians said that if a dog seems to like eating cicadas, then owners should keep a closer eye on their pets when they are outside for the next few weeks.

“Those are really tempting crunchy little treats for the dogs, so if you are seeing your dog eat them, you can’t leave your dog in your yard unattended. You will have to be out there with them or leash walk for the next month to make sure they are not ingesting too many,” said Dr. Smyth.

Veterinarians said pet owners should also keep an eye on their dog’s stool and look out for cicada shells. If a dog has diarrhea, is puking or lethargic, that might be a sign that they are eating cicadas. 

Cats may be interested in the bugs too, however, they likely won’t eat them.

Still, for dogs like Seamus, it means a cicada cutoff and an owner eager to say goodbye to these bugs.

“I am hoping somebody will tell me when they are going to go! Ha,” said O’Brien.