However, dog frog poisoning is something we’re starting to hear more about lately. And while it’s not frogs per se which are the problem, the fact is… not all toads are safe for your dog to play with!
Do you know the difference between frogs and toads?
For the most part, toads found throughout the United States are harmless little creatures that coexist nicely with other wildlife and household pets. But a few toads happen to secrete a poisonous venom that can cause serious problems for dogs.
In fact, toad poisoning is one of the Top 10 pet poisoning incidents each year!
The 2 most common toads found in the U.S. that are dangerous to dogs are:
Colorado River Toad – also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad, it’s mostly found in the southwestern United States (from Arizona to southern California) during the months from May to August. It averages in size from 4 to 7 inches in length. Its venom can poison a dog.
Here’s what a Giant Toad sounds like.
The venom is highly toxic to pets. Dogs, which are the most likely pet to come into contact with a toad, have a high probability of dying if untreated. Source
Both of these toads secret Bufotoxin from glands on their back. The Bufotoxin is a powerful hallucinogen.
The psychedelic toads can kill dogs in less than 30 minutes, according to a news release from the Humane Society. Source
In fact, the venom from these 2 toads is actually powerful enough that if the toad took a dip in your dog’s water bowl, it is very likely that your dog would develop symptoms of toad poisoning.
A dog doesn’t necessarily have to lick or eat a toad to be poisoned. There have been cases where frogs have been attracted to a dog’s water dish and sat along the rim. Enough toxin can be left to make a dog sick. Source
It’s worth noting that the Bufo Fowler’s Toad (also known as the Common Toad) can also cause problems for dogs. Since they’re found just about everywhere east of the Mississippi River, this is the most common toad your dog is likely to come in contact with. Although it’s smaller in size than the 2 venomous toads mentioned above, it too packs a powerful punch in the venom department!
The secretions are mainly cardiotoxic steroids which some mammalian predators (including domestic dogs and cats) painfully learn to avoid. Source
The American Toad is also dangerous to dogs if ingested.
How To Protect Your Dog From Poisonous Toads
If see your dog playing with a toad, or if you even suspect that he has been exposed to toad venom, you should:
- Immediately flush your dog’s mouth with running water in an outward direction – so your dog doesn’t swallow the poison.
- Rub your dog’s gums and remove any slime or residue.
- Then contact your veterinarian immediately!
Especially in the case of the Colorado River Toad and the Giant Toad, specialized treatment is vital to your dog’s survival.
- severe irritation to the eyes and nose
- extremely dark pink or red gums
- foaming at the mouth
- staggering, weakness or collapse
- difficulty breathing
- fever, diarrhea or vomiting
If enough toxin is ingested, your dog may have an irregular heartbeat and act strangely, as if in the grip of a hallucination. Source
If toad poisoning is suspected, your veterinarian will most likely do an electrocardiogram in order to determine if your dog has an abnormal heartbeat or not. Since there is currently no way to find the presence of the toad toxin in dogs, diagnosis is usually based on whether the dog was seen eating a toad, or if toad parts are in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Did You Know?…
The toads are not a threat to people, but you should wash your hands, nose, eyes and mouth as soon as possible, if you touch one. Source
More About Dogs & Wildlife
- Dog Dangers: Red Black Spiders And Toads
- Summer Dangers For Dogs: Foxtails, Mushrooms & Giant Toads
- My Dog Caught A Bunny Rabbit, What Should I Do?
- Dogs And Snapping Turtles
- What To Do When Your Dog Chases Wild Animals