The Dangers of Toads and Frogs to Our Dogs and Cats
It is a natural instinct for our pets, if they see a frog or toad hopping around; they want to play with it. My Chihuahua has done so and it freaked me out. It was obviously not a pleasant taste to her, but toads in our area are not poisonous.
There is venom that is excreted on the skin of most toads which can cause some type of hallucinations in the animals. The venom has actually been used for medicinal purposes in humans. But it is highly toxic to animals, with a high risk of death in some cases if not treated immediately.
Some signs that your pet has been in contact with a toad are; foaming from the mouth, depression, listlessness, weakness, seizures, fever, vomiting, and possibly diarrhea. Your pet needs vet assistance if you notice any of these signs, especially if you have seen your pet touching a toad/frog. The pet may need to get their heart checked for abnormal rhythms, need some heart medications or sedatives. It may all depend on the type of toad. In the Midwest by us, most of the toads don’t necessarily taste good to the pets but their venom is not poisonous as it may be in warmer climates--so much does depend on where you live.
I would suggest you do a little research online regarding the dangers and toxicity of toads and frogs so that you can be aware of what happens and what to expect prior to an actual emergency. We cannot always be as well prepared as we would like . . . and we cannot always be there to prevent things from happening, especially with inquisitive pets, but the more we know, the quicker we can react and help our pets when they need us.
Sometimes a little training can help for your pets to learn to stay away from frogs and toads. When they see a toad, trying the clicker training, telling them to “leave it” and replace with a treat may help. Maybe you can use a rubber frog for training purposes. This does help for dogs though they are fascinated with the “hopping” of the frog/toad but may still “leave it” if trained to do so. Cats are a little more stubborn sometimes when it comes to training but it can be done with a little more patience on your part.
What you can do in a quick emergency should you suspect or know your pet came into contact with a toad or frog is to rinse your pets’ mouth out with water to wash out the toxins from the toad. Do so by pointing your pets head downward while rinsing from a hose and try to rub the inside of their mouths to get the slimy residue out. You can also give a bit of peanut butter to your pet which seems to absorb any other residue taste inside their mouths from the toad.
I am of course a big animal lover and do not believe in pets living outside. If they are house pets, they should live indoors, especially in areas where there could be so many dangerous “critters” outside that could be harmful to them. I myself did grow up down south and know many cats and dogs do have “jobs to do” out on the farms but it still scares me as to their dangers from harmful critters to being road kill and that breaks my heart.
Even if you have a pet that loves being outdoors, try to be as cautious as you possibly can. Pets are naturally curious and will go after insects, that poisonous spider, bees and, of course, frogs and toads. We cannot watch them every minute but have to be more in tune to their whereabouts and behaviors just in case they have encountered something that is not so good for them. Sometimes it is difficult but it is always better to be safe than sorry. We do love our four-legged family member very much and they rely on us for their health and well being, our responsibility as their “parent” and caregiver.