Toad Poisoning in Dogs

It’s summer, and the toads are out in full force. While that can be a great thing—after all, every garden needs a toad or two—it can also lead to some pretty alarming outcomes for dogs who go on amphibian hunts. That’s because many of these little guys carry toxins that can cause serious problems in our canine companions.

Toads are small, slimy creatures that can secrete a toxin from their skin that can be harmful to dogs. Toads secrete a poisonous chemical that can be harmful when ingested or otherwise absorbed into the body of animals and humans.

What Causes Toad Poisoning?

Toads are amphibians that live in moist areas such as ponds, streams, marshes, swamps, and wetlands. They eat insects, worms, snails, slugs, fish, frogs, and other small animals. Toads can be found throughout the United States and Canada.

Dangerous concentrations of this toxin can occur in certain parts of their anatomy, such as the skin, eyes, and internal organs. Toad poisoning can result in drooling, vomiting, seizures, and even death.

The most common victims of toad poisoning are dogs, who may ingest the creatures while playing outdoors. Pet owners should be aware of the risk posed by toads and take steps to prevent their dogs from coming into contact with them.

Is it contagious?

Toad poisoning is not contagious. The illness results from direct contact between animals and toads. In some cases, dogs can even get poisoned by ingesting toads that were killed or otherwise made safe.

Toad poisoning can be fatal in dogs. Make sure to be on the lookout for toads in areas that your pet frequents.

Toad poisoning is a serious concern for dogs, who sometimes encounter the toads while walking or playing.

  • Keep an eye out for areas where toads may be living or hiding. These include wooded areas with grassy lawns, gardens and flower beds along sidewalks and streets, as well as around ponds or lakes. If you notice any of these areas appear moist after rainfall, it’s likely that there’s a nest of frogs nearby!
  • Watch for signs that your dog has been bitten by a frog or touched one without realizing it—these include swelling at the site of contact (such as on their paw), vomiting or diarrhea within 24 hours of being exposed.

Symptoms of Toad Poisoning in Dogs

Toad poisoning is diagnosed by examining the dog’s history, observing its behavior around toads, and performing a physical examination. Bloodwork may be useful in determining if an animal has ingested toad toxin.

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The most common symptoms of toad poisoning are vomiting, seizures, drooling, and excessive oral secretions. Other symptoms might include but are not limited to changes in heart rate or blood pressure, lethargy, loss of consciousness, breathing problems, diarrhea, shivering, or trembling.

Toads are extremely poisonous and if your dog is bitten he will require veterinary assistance, even if he does not immediately show symptoms.

Toads are extremely poisonous, and if your dog is bitten he will require veterinary assistance. Even if he does not immediately show symptoms of toad poisoning, you should get him checked out as soon as possible. The sooner you treat the poisoning and remove the toxins from within his body, the better chance there is of reversing or avoiding any damage that could be done.

How do you know if a toad has poisoned your dog?

Toads are small, greenish amphibians that can be found in many areas of the world. They’re generally not harmful to humans or pets, but they can cause major problems for dogs if ingested.

Toad poisoning typically occurs when dogs try to eat a toad or its eggs and then have trouble breathing or swallowing as a result of being poisoned by the toxins found in their skin secretions. Symptoms include profuse drooling, pawing at the mouth and vomiting — sometimes with blood — as well as seizures (fits).

What should you do if your dog has been poisoned by a toad?

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned by a toad, try to keep him calm and give him plenty of water. Do not give the dog anything to eat or drink until you can get help from the vet. The vet will probably ask you to bring a sample of the vomit and stool that was produced shortly after exposure, so save these samples in an airtight container (such as a plastic bag).

The veterinarian will likely recommend that your dog receive intensive care at an emergency animal hospital where specialists are available 24 hours a day. Before leaving for the hospital, be sure that all family members know what has happened so they can provide information about symptoms and medications used on other household pets or other pets who may have been exposed to this same venomous toxin in the past few years!

Poisonous Species of Toads

Not all species of toads are toxic to dogs. 

The most common poisonous species of toad is the Bufo Arenarum. It has a wide distribution across North America. This toad can grow up to 2 inches long and weigh about 1 ounce. The color of this toad varies from light brown to dark brown. These toads have been known to cause serious illness and death in dogs.

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Other poisonous species of toads include the Colorado River/Sonoran Desert Toads, which are found in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. These toads can reach up to 4 inches long and weigh up to 2 ounces. They are light olive green or brown in color with dark spots or bands.

The Marine Toad, which is found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, is also toxic to dogs. This toad can reach up to 14 inches long and weigh up to 1.5 pounds. It is black or dark green in color with yellow or white spots.

If you live in an area where toads are common, it’s important to be aware of the potential for poisoning and take steps to protect your dog. Keep your dog indoors when toads are most active (spring and summer).

If your yard is infested with them, hire a professional pest control company that has experience removing these creatures from properties.

  • Remove any standing water, which is where toads prefer to live.
  • Install a fence or barrier around your yard that will keep toads out.
  • Put a lid on your trash cans to keep toads from getting into them.
  • Keep your dog supervised when it is outside, and make sure it does not eat or play with toads.

When To Seek Veterinary Attention?

If you suspect that your dog has ingested toad toxin, induce vomiting as soon as possible. Call your vet or local emergency clinic for advice on how to safely induce vomiting in your dog. Do not give the dog water and do not feed it any food until after it has vomited.

Take your dog to the nearest veterinarian immediately. The vet will perform a physical examination and try to determine whether your dog has actually ingested any toxins. Depending on its condition, treatment for poisoning may include:

  • induce vomiting
  • supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and electrolyte therapy
  • medications to control seizures and other symptoms
  • dialysis (in cases of kidney failure)

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove toxins from the dog’s system.

The prognosis for dogs that have ingested toad toxin varies depending on the severity of their poisoning and the amount of toxin they have ingested. Some dogs make a full recovery, while others may suffer long-term health problems or die from the poisoning.

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Conclusion

If you notice your dog acting strangely after he has been outdoors, take him to the veterinarian. Toad poisoning can be fatal in dogs and you need to get help as soon as possible. Also be on the lookout for toads in areas that your pet frequents, such as lawns or gardens, so that you can avoid them if necessary.

FAQ

My dog ate a toad, but I don’t see any symptoms. Will it be alright?

It’s difficult to predict whether or not your dog will develop signs of poisoning after eating a toad. Some dogs show no obvious signs while others may develop serious illness within hours. Your dog may need immediate veterinary attention if it has ingested toad toxin.


What should I do if my dog starts vomiting after eating a toad?

If your dog vomits after eating a toad, try to collect the vomit and take it with you when you take your dog to the veterinarian. This will help the vet to determine whether or not the dog has ingested any toxins.


Can toad venom pass from a mother dog to her puppies?

Yes. If your dog is pregnant, you should also monitor it for symptoms of poisoning. Toad toxins can be passed to puppies through the mother’s milk and can cause serious health problems or even death in newborn puppies.


Is there any way to prevent my dog from eating toads?

Yes. If you live in an area where toads are common, do your best to keep them out of the house and away from your dog. Keep your dog indoors during times of day when toads are most active (spring and summer). Keep your yard clear of standing water, which is where toads prefer to live.


What’s the best way to remove a dead, poisoned toad from my property?

If you find a dead, poisonous toad on your property, wear heavy rubber gloves when handling it and dispose of it in plastic bags that are tightly sealed. Do not burn the toad or handle it without gloves, as its toxins could be aerosolized and inhaled. Don’t allow children or pets near the toad until you have thoroughly cleaned the area where you found the toad.