The signs of spring are everywhere. With birds chirping, chipmunks foraging, bees buzzing, flies pestering and our wonderful garden toads and frogs basking in the sun, everyone is enjoying the fresh air. Jackie and Miya were never interested in toads or frogs. They would have a look, a sniff and walk away or walk over the reptile. Meesha, is interested in anything that moves, flies or looks different. Today she met a large toad in our yard. At first she just watched and waited. The toad didn’t move, but it was obvious this little creature was not part of our yard. So she decided to sniff it again which caused the toad to move a little. Meesha jumped back, but then decided to paw it. That wasn’t enough so she now decided to pick it up in her mouth. At first it was a lick with lots of yelling “leave it Meesha!”. Then she picked it up in her mouth and spit it out as fast as she could. UGH! We moved the toad and Meesha began to run around the yard foaming at the mouth. Since the other dogs had never bitten into a toad this was all a completely new matter for us.
On to the internet to find answers on what happens when a dog bites a toad!
Are toads in Ontario poisonous?
We learned that the short answer was yes to some degree since all toads secrete toxins. However the toads in Ontario are mildly toxic. The reason Meesha spit out the toad so quickly was that toads secrete horrible tasting stuff as a defense mechanism. However, you need to check to see what types of toads you have in your area, since some toads specifically the Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius) and the Marine Toad (Bufo marinus) are two of the most important species of toad that are known for their toxic effects on pets.
Symptoms of your dog biting or licking a toad
In Meesha’s case the symptoms came on very quickly. She began foaming and pawing at her mouth. Depending on how much your dog has ingested or the type of toad they have contact with, this will bring on other symptoms as well. Most symptoms usually appear within a few seconds. Here is a partial list of symptoms:
- Crying or other vocalization
- Pawing at the mouth and/or eyes
- Profuse drooling of saliva – foaming from the mouth
- Change in the color of membranes of the mouth – may be inflamed or pale
- Difficulty in breathing
- Unsteady movements
- High temperature
Keep in mind, when your pet is sick always call your veterinarian to seek proper medical advice for your pet. This list of symptoms is only a guideline for you to use. Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination, with blood and urine samples taken for routine laboratory tests.
Proactive tips on what to do when your dog is poisoned by a toad
Wash out your dog’s mouth
Easier said than done! We read that the proper way to rinse Meesha’s mouth was to stand behind her so we could get a strong grip on her jaw and force her mouth open while using a hose to rinse her mouth out completely. The important part was to “rinse” and not allow her to swallow any of the water. We kept her head down so that no water could go down her throat or wind pipe. The veterinary sites I looked at suggested to do this for 5-10 minutes so as to remove most of the foul taste and poison from your pet’s mouth. Well, in our case it sure wasn’t the 10 minutes, if we were able to keep her still for 5 I think we were lucky!
Wash and clean your dog’s paws and legs
Meesha was pawing at the toad. So any secretions would also be on her paws. You want to make sure that you’re not leaving any toxins left on your dog’s body so that they can lick it off later.
Wipe your dog’s mouth with a clean, damp towel
By wiping down their tongue, teeth, roof and sides of the mouth, this removes the toxins out of your dog’s mouth.
Give your dog plenty of water to drink
Meesha was very happy to be gulping water after that event. The water helps to flush out the toxins in her system. If your dog is nauseated or vomiting, getting your dog to drink water will help re-hydrate them.
Call or visit your veterinary immediately
Contact your vet and describe the situation. If you can describe the toad and bring a picture that would help in deciding what kind of toad your dog bit. The vet will be in a better position to suggest and provide accurate treatment for your pet.
In summary, toads and frogs are not something you want your dog to play with!
When Meesha first found the toad in our yard we were just as interested in seeing what she would do with it. However once she picked it up, spit it out and began foaming at the mouth, our interest quickly turned into anguish. We were very lucky that Meesha’s experience and reaction to the toad was relatively mild compared to what it could have been. We now have better knowledge of what to do when one of our dogs decides to play with or touch a toad. We believe that every dog owner should keep in mind that their yards are full of new and interesting things for a dog, especially puppies. However some of them could really hurt your dog as well. We hope that you find this post useful and tuck it away for the day your dog decides to hunt toads! Ahh Dogs and Toads!
Next post will be on Garter Snakes. Just found a little one in the yard.
8 Responses to “Meesha decides to go toad hunting! Ahh Dogs and Toads!”
Oh, great, another thing for Matti to eat!
Thanks for the heads up, Liz. I didn’t realize that toads in Ontario could actually be poisonous.
Things you learn as you grow with your puppy! Wait for the snake post…
We have a wonderful 5 year old cavalier King Charles spaniel. We have had him about 7 months. I would not call him a rescue, he had a wonderful home prior to ours. He has discovered toads in our fenced yard about 2 to 3 weeks ago, and unless we are with him every second (not really practical all the time) he puts them in his mouth. He has been slimed by them about 20 times. He has vomited only once, we rinse the foam out of his mouth each time. How do we stop him from doing this over and over. We tried positive training, showing him toads and rewarding him for not touching them. It only works if we are there. Help! Most dogs will do it once, and then never again because of the terrible taste.
Thank you Linda for your story of dogs and toads. Since your fella has found the toads to be fun! and has tried carrying them many times, its safe to say your toads are not poisonous! However that said there are many types of toads. Search your area to make sure you know the ones you have in your yard! Your doing everything possible to teach your dog not to pick on toads. Keep up the positive training, it will come.
In my last posted readers comment, you can see that it took a mean looking nasty toad to hopefully turn Meesha off! Good Luck and please let us know how it goes!
Thanks so much for this article . Our dog Phoenix, just had the same experience with a toad this weekend at our camp. We have no cell service and are four hours away from our nearest vet. I managed to wash his face and mouth very well and washed him off in the lake. He was ok after a bit but we were very lucky. Hopefully he has learnt his lesson. lol
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our post and finding it helpful for your dog Phoenix! You didn’t say what type of dog and age Phoenix is nor the type of toad he decided to pick on. Please keep in mind that there are toads in areas that are very poisonous. If you can take a picture of your toad and look it up for your area you will have better idea on what do to do for your dog.
Please let us know if he decides to go toad hunting again!
In our case Meesha has tangled a few times. However we have now moved out to a rural area and the toads are bigger and nastier. I think and hope her last chomp was her last!!
In the last couple of years I moved north with my 3 dogs. I have toads in my garden and patio at night. The dogs are curious (2 retrievers and a beagle) but there was a new command as soon as I discovered them. “Don’t touch the toadies” is something they now know. They can watch them and they do, but not touch them. For the dogs’ safety as well as the toads’. I’m a toad lover so I’m concerned for both.
Thank you for posting your new command for the safety of toads.