Can Dogs be Hurt by Frogs and Toads?

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Your sweet pooch has a lot of great qualities, but unfortunately, it's likely that his or her wonderful curiosity has gotten them into trouble before. This, among other qualities, tends to be a problem when it comes to dogs licking, sniffing, biting, or eating things they're not supposed to.

Unfortunately, dogs are both curious and driven by prey drive, which means they're likely to sniff out frogs, toads, and other small critters and take a whiff, lick, or bite. This can be incredibly dangerous for your dog, especially if that critter happens to be a frog or toad. 

These little amphibians hang out in your garden, your lawn, and maybe even weasel their way into your home - it's not likely that your prey-driven dog is going to let that happen without, at the very least, a little investigation. Unfortunately, some toads are toxic, hazardous, and can even cause your dog some serious harm. 

Want a better idea of how you can be vigilant about frogs and toads? Want to know the signs your dog might be giving you to let you know that they got a quick taste of a toxic frog? Read on!

Introduction of Can Dogs be Hurt by Frogs and Toads?

Signs Your Dog Had a Run-In with a Frog or Toad

You can't always keep the closest eye on your dog, so it's possible that your curious pooch got a little too curious and licked, tasted, or even ate a frog or a toad. While this isn't always a cause for alarm, there are some poisonous frogs or toads that could do your pup real harm, as well as some that could make your dog have some unpleasant reactions. 

For example, if you suspect your dog might have gotten too close to a critter, check their mouth. Is your dog foaming at the mouth? Do you see your pup drooling severely? Is he or she paying special attention to their lips, tongue, or mouth? 

That's always a good sign that they've tasted something that's not agreeing with their systems. Your dog also might experience things like vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, panting, dilated pupils, loss of coordination, seizures, head shaking, and overheating.

Body Language

Your dog might be trying to let you know that they licked, bit, or tasted a frog or toad and is experiencing symptoms. Check for things like:
  • Shaking
  • Panting
  • Weakness
  • Lip licking
  • Drooling
  • Head bobbing
  • Pupils dilated
  • Whale eye

Other Signs

There are other signs to watch out for as well, like:
  • Vomiting yellow fluid
  • Loss of coordination
  • Collapse or seizures
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Membranes turning an off-color (like red)
  • Pawing at eyes or mouth
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

The History of the Prey Drive

History of Can Dogs be Hurt by Frogs and Toads?
If you've ever wondered why your dog has the inclination to chase after or run down smaller things, you've probably forgotten that your dog is closely related to wolves. Wolves are led by their prey drive, they have to hunt, kill, and eat other animals that are smaller, weaker, or slower than them in order to survive. 

Your dog, though domesticated, still has a semblance of this urge, some more than others, and is likely going to end up chasing down critters like rats, mice, snakes, and yes, even toads and frogs. Unfortunately, your dog's prey drive doesn't quite grasp the "toads and frogs can be poisonous" factor, so they won't always have the greatest inclination of which toads and frogs to stay away from, and which are okay to chase down and eat.

The Science Behind Frog and Toad Toxicity

Science of Can Dogs be Hurt by Frogs and Toads?

You're probably thinking something like, "my dog is much bigger and faster than a toad or a frog, why would they be dangerous?"  Because toads and frogs are smaller and are considered prey by most animals, they've evolved to form certain defense mechanisms. 

Most toads and frogs secrete a substance through their skin that is either incredibly foul tasting (which could cause your dog to foam or leave a bad taste in their mouths), or highly toxic. These chemicals that are highly toxic will be quickly absorbed through your dog's mouth, nose, and eyes. These toxins are similar to digoxin - as the dog licks or attempts to bite the toad or frog, the glands are compressed, releasing the toxin. 

Training Your Dog to Avoid Frogs

Training of Can Dogs be Hurt by Frogs and Toads?
Training your dog to avoid frogs is going to mostly revolve around prevention, obedience commands, and a watchful eye on your part. For starters, never let your dog roam around at night unsupervised. Most toads and frogs are nocturnal, meaning they'll be most active once the sun goes down. Make sure you're keeping an eye on your dog when he or she is outside at night to avoid any accidental frog or toad ingestion.

Additionally, you'll need to ensure that if you live in an area where toads and frogs are abundant, you'll need to find outside areas to take your pup, free from these amphibians. 

We also suggest that your dog have a firm grasp on commands like "No," "stay," and "leave it," if you plan to run around outside in areas where there are toads and frogs. If your pup happens to dart toward a frog or even has his or her jaws open to snatch one up, a firm "no" should be able to do the trick and save your pup either a ton of discomfort or a serious consequence.

How to React if Your Dog Licks a Poisonous Toad or Frog:

  • Immediately flush your dog's mouth out with water for up to 10 minutes.
  • If your vet tells you to apply activated charcoal, do this as well.
  • Take your dog to the vet immediately.
  • Prepare for your dog to undergo several procedures by your vet including things like IV fluid administration, a cool bath for temperature stabilization, and potentially, anesthesia.