As we come upon the cicada Brood X invasion ( ground cicadas typically come out every 14-17 years, the last Brood X emergence was in 2004), you might be wondering how your dog will fare with these new bugs.
What Are Cicadas?
Cicadas are most well known for the songs most of the male cicadas sing. They are insets that have a hollow abdomen which allows the song to reverberate. There are three types of cicadas: annual, periodical, and protoperiodical. The Periodical cicadas are organized into broods so scientists can track when they will emerge. 2021 will see the emergence of Brood X cicadas to emerge from the ground to mate. Scientists have said approximately 300,000 Brood X Cicadas will be emerging in states from New York to Illinois.
Are Cicadas Poisonous to Dogs?
So your dog has eaten a cicada, what do you do? Many East Coast pets have never seen a cicada and as they are a large insect your dog may be extremely curious about them. Cicadas don't bite or sting but because of the hard exoskeleton of the insect, they can be hard to digest. Ingesting a cicada might cause your dog to vomit or for dogs that are unable to control their eating and have no stop reflex, consuming extreme amounts of the insect may cause harm. If your dog eats an extreme amount of cicadas (think over 300) you will definitely want to seek veterinary attention.
Avoid the Vet!
The best way to avoid any scary vomiting situations is to brush up on your dog's "Leave It" command. Working on your pet's impulse control is a valuable skill and super handy to avoid ingesting any toxic substances your dog comes across in everyday life and doesn't just apply to cicada infestations!
Other tips would be to avoid leaving your dog, especially prey-driven dogs unsupervised outdoors during the Brood X mating season, and bringing a super high value treat or toy with you on walks to distract your dog from the insects.
Impulse Control Training
- Grab two different kinds of treats and drop one far away from your dog
- When your dog goes for the treat say "Leave It" and cover the treat with your foot while holding the other treat in your hand away from the dropped food.
- As your dog changes their attention to the treat in your hand use a marker word like "Yes" or a clicker and reward with the treat in your hand
- Repeat this until they start to consistently leave the dropped food alone.
- Repeat the verbal exercise until your dog automatically leaves it or stops lunging toward the dropped food when you say “leave it.”