Frogs and toads are fascinating creatures that can captivate the interest of dogs and other curious animals. While the majority of frog and toad species are harmless to dogs, some species can secrete poisonous toxins that can cause health problems for our four-legged friends. Understanding which species are harmful and what to do if your dog eats a frog or toad can help keep your pet safe and healthy.
All Frogs and Toads are Poisonous, but not all are Harmful
Frogs and toads carry poisonous glands on their skin that secrete a toxin as a defense mechanism against predation or to protect against microorganisms. When a dog eats or disturbs a frog or toad, the toxins are absorbed into their mucous membranes, such as the mouth, gums, or eyes. The toxins can be bad-tasting and irritating to dogs, causing them to foam at the mouth or salivate excessively.
It is important to know that not all frogs and toads are equally harmful. While all species carry some level of toxin, most common frogs that dogs may encounter are not harmful. Toads are more of a concern, and certain species of toads, such as the Bufo toad, Cane toads, Marine toads, and Colorado River toads, secrete deadly toxins that can be fatal to dogs.
Moreover, certain types of frogs, such as the Dart frog and the Mantilla frog, are highly poisonous and hold potent neurotoxins that can be dangerous to our pets. It is essential to identify which species of amphibian your dog has ingested as this can influence whether your dog’s health is in danger.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Frog or Toad
If your dog has ingested a frog or toad, first, try to identify the species to assess potential risk. If the amphibian species is not harmful, rinsing your dog’s mouth with water and monitoring for any signs of discomfort or irritation should be sufficient.
However, if they have eaten a highly poisonous species, such as the Bufo toad, contact your veterinarian right away. From there, your vet may suggest inducing vomiting or providing advice on how to stabilize your dog until you can take them to the clinic.
It is also crucial to rinse your dog’s mouth under running water for at least five minutes, making sure the water is running out of their mouth and that they do not swallow the water. This process helps to dilute some of the irritating toxins. If you can, use a damp washcloth to rub the gums, rinsing it regularly.
Symptoms of Poisoning
Foaming at the mouth is the first sign of irritation to the toxins in a frog or toad. Excessive drooling, vomiting, swelling and inflamed gums, retching, pawing at the face or mouth, head shaking, and rubbing the mouth on different objects are also symptoms of poisoning.
In severe cases, your dog may experience disorientation, seizures, lethargy or collapsing, irregular heartbeat, labored breathing, dilated pupils and abnormal eye movements, hypertension, brain damage, and potentially death.
Dogs experiencing toad or frog toxicosis typically demonstrate neurological problems since most of the toxins target the nervous system. If your dog shows any signs of poisoning, it is best to take them to a veterinary hospital immediately.
While frogs and toads can be a source of fun and entertainment for dogs, proper caution should be taken to keep them safe and healthy. Not all species of amphibians are harmful to dogs, but some can cause serious health problems or even death. Knowing what to do if your dog eats a frog or toad and identifying the species can make all the difference in keeping your pooch safe. Remember that prevention is key, so it is best to supervise your dog when they are outdoors and keep them away from any potential dangers.