Dogs and Toads Don’t Make a Good Duo

September 4, 2009

By Linda Cole

Toads are great to have in your garden. They dine on bugs and are a natural pest control. Dogs love to investigate anything that moves and toads are no exception. Toads are everywhere and can pose a health hazard to an unwary dog who may happen upon one. Dogs and toads are not good playmates. In fact, in a game of toad-catching by the dog, it’s usually the toad 1 and dog 0, which leaves the dog shaking his head and foaming at the mouth.

Toads are found in wet places like backyards during and after a rain and around ponds. Other than an irritating bad taste in a dog’s mouth, most toads are not toxic enough to cause great harm to your dog. Since toads are nocturnal, it’s important to be vigilant when your dog is outside at night for his walk or run before bed, especially during or after a rain.

In order for a dog to be poisoned by a toad, he has to actually pick it up in his mouth, bite it or lick it. Dog and toad encounters can happen no matter where you live. In some parts of the country, Cane Toads will crawl into a dog’s food bowl that is sitting outside to eat the dog’s food. In rare cases, they can leave enough residual to poison the dog when he then eats from that bowl or even licks the side where the toad was perched.

Toads are not pleasant tasting even to dogs, but then, if your dog is anything like mine, they’ve put an investment into their natural instinct to hunt. For a dog, toad hunting begins with staring, stalking, sniffing and then finally the catch. Of course that always Dog Animated - no offerresults in the dog quickly spitting the offending toad out which is followed by foaming and a look to us like it was our fault they put that nasty tasting thing in their mouth in the first place. In most cases, the toad does not have enough toxin to harm your dog. However, the Colorado River Toad and the Cane Toad (also called the Marine Toad, Bufo Toad or Giant Toad) are the two most poisonous toads in the United States. Both are found in the southern parts of the country. The Colorado River Toad lives in the Southwestern states from Arizona to Southern California. The Cane Toad is found in South Texas and Florida. If you live in an area where these toads reside, it’s important to know what to watch for if your dog catches one.

The first obvious sign your dog caught a toad is foaming at the mouth. He may indicate his mouth is irritated by pawing at his mouth and shaking his head. A dog and toad encounter can leave the dog with mouth pain. Check his gums for inflammation or redness if he appears to be having pain in his mouth. If you suspect your dog caught a toad, you can flush his mouth with water from a garden hose. Try not to let the water run down his nose or throat by rinsing from the side of his mouth and holding his head down so the water runs out of his mouth. Gently rub the gums and inside of his mouth until the slimy feeling is gone.

Vomiting, weakness, appearing confused or disoriented, fever, labored breathing, seizures or diarrhea are signs your dog has been poisoned by a toad. Immediate medical treatment is required at this point. There is currently no series of tests a vet can run to determine if your dog has toad poisoning. Their best clue comes from an astute dog owner who either saw the encounter or recognized the signs, and by an abnormal heart rate found after an EKG. A hospitalized stay may be required that would include IV fluids, medication for pain, seizures, fever and stress as well as treating and controlling the dog’s abnormal heartbeat.

Both dogs and toads wander around in our yards. It’s impossible for most dog owners to watch their dogs constantly. Even on walks, with you by their side, your dog can find a toad hiding in a clump of grass they are investigating. Knowing the signs of toad poisoning and what to do is your best defense in protecting your dog. Our pets don’t always know what’s good for them. Most toad encounters result in only a bad taste in your dog’s mouth, but sometimes, the toad was the wrong one to mess with.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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  1. Anita Perfect says:

    My 19 month old pit/lab mix, keeps breaking out in hives all over and I have been trying to trace what he is allergic to. My yard is over run this year with frogs/toads. could this be affecting him. He doesn’t bite them but nudges them and wants to play. I give him Benadryl as soon as he breaks out. help

  2. Dena says:

    My 4 pound Yorkie keeps touching toads and gets the foamy mouth, the spitting, etc. He’s done this twice. Does it usually take a couple of times before dogs figure out to leave them alone? It is almost like he’s obsessed. He won’t pee or anything else until he’s checked the yard for toads and then he has to aggravate them.

  3. James says:

    We have a pool, she is about 14 months (lab) she pops the frogs and drops it. What can I give her to help settle her tummy J.B.

  4. Tristan Marcellana says:

    Thank you for this, my dog didn’t stop chasing this toad in our yard and i just saw bubbling foam in his mouth and shaking his head continously..

    5 mins later after i found this article i immediately rinsed his mouth for over 10 minutes just to be sure

    he’s fine now and i was really worried

    thank you so much

  5. Craig says:

    My dog eats toads all the time, foams at the mouth for an hour or so and that’s it. I’m not saying he bites them; he actually consumes the whole toad. I don’t condone it, but he seems to be stupid enough to eat something that tastes that bad so I leave him be.

    1. Colette Jaques says:

      Yo are an idiot and an irresponsible pet owner!! I’d like to shove 4 toads in your pie hole

      1. That’s not very nice… If the dog doesn’t seem to be poisoned, even after being taken to the vet, then they must not have overly poisonous toads in their yard.

      2. john says:

        Your response is crass and insensitive for no reason. What do you expect him to do once the toad is consumed? You sound like a Trump supporter.

        1. Julie says:

          There’s always that moron that has to throw Trump into the conversation. Bravo. Moron.

  6. Yesenia says:

    I would like to thank you for this information on Dogs and toads. I really needed this information. I have quite a bit of these toads around my home. I really appreciate you.

  7. pamela chancey says:

    my puppy stared foaming at the mouth but wasn’t doing the other stuff I read she didn’t want anything in her mouth I rinsed it out for a while and it helped but she still shakes her head from time to time and it’s to late to get a vet to check what I’m asking is do I keep an eye on her threw the night?

  8. Manda says:

    My boxer got a colorado river toad one night after I let her outside to go potty. I brought her inside away from the toad (not knowing what else to do at the time) and immediately she started foaming at the mouth and hallucinating like she was seeing things all around her, then she collapsed and lost control of her bladder and started seizing. She couldn’t walked so I carried her outside and hoped the road was no longer around. I began to rinse her mouth out with water. Luckily I reacted quickly and with enough water was able to rinse her mouth and she vomited which helped get rid of the toxins. Thankfully she survived. We live a good 30mins from a vet. Two weeks later, it happened again 🙁 that time wasn’t as bad. We have since blocked the fence so the roads can no longer her in, but she hasn’t been the same since. Its been downhill for my old girl 🙁

  9. Lucas tarango says:

    What happens if he liked the toad and I gave him water right a way and he drank the water ?!!!!!

  10. Megan L'Abbe says:

    My puppy just came in contact with a toad and started foaming at the mouth. Never knew a toad could do that to a dog but I guess that’s just a toad’s defense mechanism against it’s enemies. Didn’t know what to do so we just wiped her mouth of the foam with a wash rag, and after reading this post rinsed her mouth out. Hope she’s going to be ok after reading these comments, and i think she will because she’s being her usually self wanting to play catch as I do my homework. Thanks for the information! I’m sorry for your loss and hope your fur babies have a speedy recovery!

  11. Dee says:

    Keep liquid benadryl on hand for immediate dose & a “medical” kit for simple emergencies. Wash out mouth with water or normal saline asap …take to nearest vet if possible. If not possible, call 24 vet for directions. Moving as quickly as possible and keeping you cool can save your fur baby’s life!

    1. Joan Miner says:

      I live in the Tropics and this seems to be a problem here with my 2 young Pit Bulls. They have both bitten toads. I like the Benadryl suggestion & will use that but also a local plant Dr. told me to give milk RIGHT AWAY! It seems to reverse the effect of the toxin. My dogs have their own yard to go in but it seems they’ll be having my company (at least at night) now.

  12. Sue says:

    It seems there is an over abundance of toads this summer. Also, flies and the nasty green ones. We live in the Midwest. I’ve had dogs all my life and never had a problem with my dogs encountering toads until now. I’ve had this dog just a little over a month and I’m still learning his ways and habits. He’s a year old with still a lot of puppy in him. There’s a good chance he got a toad sometime yesterday. There were no telltale signs like his mouth foaming, but when I let him out first time this morning, he had the most severe case of diarrhea I’ve ever seen in my life. Be it a human or animal. He was lethargic today, and perked up late afternoon. Diarrhea was gone and he ate. I went with him in the backyard just a half hour ago only to make go back inside because he had a toad cornered!

  13. Mia says:

    About 3 days ago my yorkie passed away from his trachea closing and he couldn’t breathe. I came home and went to let the dogs in and he didn’t come in so I went to look for him. He was laying on the floor mouth full of saliva and seizing. I had no idea what to do. I yelled for my mom and we called the nearest vet which was 45mins away. We rushed there but it was too late he passed away on the way. His temperature was over 108. If you suspect any type of toad or frog in your back yard be very cautiousand keep your dog away from it. My yorkie has been hunting for this toad ever since he saw him 3 weeks ago. Finally he got him.

  14. Jack Silverhart says:

    Thanks for science fair question LOL

  15. Jack Silverhart says:

    Thanks for the information because two boston terriors got one the day before.

  16. Carolina says:

    My little toy schnauzer for poisoned tonight by a frog. I was completely unaware of poisonous frogs since we just moved to this area.. It has just rained and it was nighttime and we let the dogs out… When the little one didn’t show up we had to go look for her in the backyard and found her all stiff and foaming from the mouth. My first reaction was to jump in the car and drive to the nearest animals hospital which took us 25 minutes!!! 🙁
    If I had known about all this I read here I could’ve at least washed her mouth but my poor baby had this poison the entire way to the hospital. She started having seizures and collapsed twice in my moms arms

    She’s at the hospital now it’s been 3 hours and I just called and they said she’s finally awake and sitting in the cage so that is good news.
    They basically kept cleaning her gums and had her connected to Iv which helps clean the blood.

    If your dog is poisoned I wouldn’t even risk it, wash their mouth and rush to the nearest clinic they know what they’re doing and the venom can act very very fast!

    I can’t wait to see her tomorrow and hopefully pick her up and see her play again.

  17. Virginia W says:

    Came home to my 6mth old pit bull vomiting and diarrhea . He’s always by my side and for the first time he wouldn’t even come to me. Couldn’t find any signs of what he could of ate to make his stomach so upset until going in the backyard to find a little frog and he actually bit into him and now my poor baby is suffering. I can’t get him to eat anything. I rinsed him mouth out twice and he’s still laying around all sad.

  18. Shannon says:

    My little princess got ahold of a toad this am. She started foaming at the mouth. I rinsed her mouth immed. And wiped her gums and tongue… She seems ok…. How long till I know if shes going to be ok???

    1. Caitlin says:

      If your dog is going to have seizers as a result of toad poisoning, it will be within 15 mins of the encounter. After that 15 min window your dog should be in the clear, but it is still recommended that you thoroughly wipe your dogs tongue and gums with a wet cloth.

  19. Jennifer Lee says:

    I meant to mention one more thing, although she hasn’t been foaming at the mouth, she’s been licking her lips A LOT and it almost looks like she’s chewing a piece of gum or she’s trying to get something out of her teeth with her tongue . Anyone know if this has anything to do.with the toad or frog she ate? (it was alive)

  20. Jennifer Lee says:

    My bullmastiff gets into everything! She’s eaten chocolate (by accident of course) & was fine, candy- & was fine, swallowed a dead baby rabbit whole- & she was fine. Tonight I was in my backyard with her and I looked down and by my foot was a small (toad or frog)- I live in mass so.not sure what lives in peoples yards? I tried to distract her, but of course she saw it and chased it into some bushes. Now, I couldn’t see if she actually got the road, but… my guess is yes because otherwise she would have gone into the bushes…she’s very curious. She walked away, and that was that. She started eating grass like she normally does. I didn’t see any foaming at the mouth, or seizures. But she dreams A LOT, so whenever she twitches I freak out. She’s actinga little docile…extra tired. Its been 5 hours since it happened, would something have happened already to her? Thank you!!!

  21. cat says:

    my 5 yr old beagle was chasing a toad today and never thought the thing would actually harm her but as she picked it up with her mouth instanly dropped it and started foaming out the mouth and shaking her head i immedately rinsed her mouth out with water and it stopped i hope she’ll be ok i didnt even know what it did to her until i read this blog im glad i reacted quickly and was hoping i did right by her but now i know i did and am very glad so for future refrences dont allow any animal chase any reptiles they are dangerous

  22. I live in lapeer mi I have a huge toad in my yard and my dog licked it she had sloppering come from her mouth for a min till she drinked water from the chair on the porch she seems fine but how I can tell if it is poisionous ???

  23. lynn says:

    My dog has played with frogs before and this would happen,I had no clue tho it was the frog that made his nose and mouth drip like a ''water fall''. It also will drip with lady bugs.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This is very dangerous about a month ago actually had my 1year 4 month old american bulldog die from biting cane toad had lots of vomiting all over yard I didnt realize it until got home vet said that she probably siezed to death horrible way to die felt like crap homestead area seems to be infested with them

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the information. It happen to our 5 mouths old Boston Terrier this morning. We where in the ward and she started foaming at the mouth really bad. We had no clue what it was so we rush to the vet. At the vet she became really sick but the foaming was stopping. He check her and told us to come back if the vomiting didn’t stop. Back home my husband decided to check around the ward to see if we could find any sign of what she could of eat other than usual and he found the toad. Reading the information on your site confirms that she was poison by the toad. Hope she also get better in the next 24 hours. We are now 3 hours after the incident and she is still dizzy but foaming and vomiting as stop.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I’m 64, grew up in the country, and had dogs all my life and never knew this. Our 2 1/2 year old 4 lb. yorkie caught a toad on our deck tonight. She loves to chase everything that moves (squirrels, lizards, birds, bugs, whatever)! She was acting really strange and started foaming at the mouth and I started searching and found your blog. Thank you very much! With your information we washed out her mouth and watched her for a while to make sure she would be ok!

  27. Anonymous says:

    My dog got a toad the other night. It has happened before without her having any trouble but this time she had trouble walking. The vet told us to give her an adult Benadryl every 4-5 hours. It took about a full day and a half but she is back to normal. Very scary!

  28. I never realized they were so dangerous to dogs. Thanks for the information.