Dog Care 101

Dog Frog Poisoning Facts: It’s True, A Toad Really Can Kill A Dog!

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By Curtis

Before you let your dog get too close to frogs and toads... read this!

In the eyes of your dog, frogs and toads fit the bill as instant entertainment, as seen in this video.

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!

2 Most Common Toads In The U.S. That Are Dangerous To Dogs

Here's what you need to know about common toads in the U.S. that are dangerous to dogs.

#1 – Colorado River Toad – also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad, it is 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 Colorado River Toad sounds like. (More sounds here.)

#2 – Giant Toad – also referred to as the Marine Toad or Cane Toad, it is mostly found in south Texas and Florida and averages 4 to 6 inches in length. (The record is 15 inches from nose to butt.)

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.


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.

~ Animal Emergency Service

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.


2 Other Toads Harmful To Dogs

See which toads are poisonous to dogs and which ones are safe.

#1 – 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 the Common Toad is 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.


#2 – The American Toad is also dangerous to dogs if ingested.

Here’s what an American Toad sounds like.

How To Protect Your Dog From Poisonous Toads

Dog frog poisoning is a real thing. This dog is safe from the toad's venom which isn't harmful to humans.

If you 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.

Signs that your dog has come in contact with a poisonous toad:

  • Severe irritation to the eyes and nose
  • Extremely dark pink or red gums
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Staggering, weakness or collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Fever, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Paralysis

If enough toxin is ingested, your dog may have an irregular heartbeat and act strangely, as if in the grip of a hallucination.


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.

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