If you’re a dog owner, you know that dogs can have a tendency to chase after anything that moves, including frogs or toads. But what happens if your dog actually catches and bites one? In this article, we’ll explore the potential risks and health implications of dogs ingesting frogs or toads. It turns out that toads can be quite poisonous for dogs, while frogs typically cause mild gastrointestinal issues. We’ll also cover the signs of poisoning to look out for and what to do if you suspect your dog has ingested a frog or toad. Knowing the difference between these amphibians could potentially save your dog’s life, so let’s dive in!
Toad vs. Frog: The Difference Matters for Your Dog’s Health
Chasing a frog or a toad can be exciting if you’re a dog. But what if your dog bites it? Licks it? Or, worse, eats it? Well, you better know a toad from a frog because it makes a big difference in your dog’s health.
Toad and Frog Distinctions
According to Dr. Anna Robinson, a small animal veterinarian in New Braunfels, Texas, “The difference between ingesting a frog and a toad can be quite massive, as toads can be very poisonous for dogs.” Frogs in North America mostly cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal issues with your dog. You’ll typically see some vomiting and diarrhea that’ll correct itself over the span of a few days many times without veterinary intervention required. For frogs, you just pretty much wait it out and comfort your dog while he goes through the symptoms. Just make sure he doesn’t become dehydrated. If so, then you need to call your veterinarian.
Potential Health Risks of Toads
Certain species of toads can secrete a toxin that can poison animals who attempt to ingest them. Whether a dog licks or completely ingests a toad, he can suffer from excessive drooling, vomiting, and/or irritation in the mouth or worse. More severe poisonings can happen with the cane toad and the Colorado River/Sonoran Desert toads. The cane toad is typically found in Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Texas, and other tropical areas. The Colorado River/Sonoran Desert toad can be found in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Both toads can cause life-threatening poisoning.
Mild Effects of Frog Ingestion
Frogs in North America mostly cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal issues with your dog. You’ll typically see some vomiting and diarrhea that’ll correct itself over the span of a few days, many times without veterinary intervention required. For frogs, you just pretty much wait it out and comfort your dog while he goes through the symptoms. Just make sure he doesn’t become dehydrated. If so, then you need to call your veterinarian.
What to Do If Your Dog Ingests a Toad or Frog
If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toad or frog, it is important to take immediate action to ensure their safety and well-being.
Seek Veterinary Help
The first step is to contact your veterinarian for guidance. They will be able to provide advice tailored to your dog’s specific situation and may recommend bringing your dog in for an examination.
Contact Poison Control
If you can’t reach your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. There will be a charge for their services, but it’s well worth the cost. If you call, be sure to also get your case number to follow-up with your veterinarian.
Flushing the Mouth
Whether it was a frog or a toad, immediately flush the mouth with large amounts of running water using a hose or garden sink sprayer. Doing so will decrease the amount of poison absorbed, which decreases the severity of the clinical signs. However, make sure you point the water out of the dog’s mouth, as you do not want him to swallow or inhale the water. And then get to the veterinarian’s office ASAP.
Signs of Poisoning in Dogs
It’s important to be aware of the signs of poisoning in dogs, as prompt recognition and treatment can greatly improve their chances of recovery.
- Pawing at the mouth or vocalizing
- Gums may become very red and irritated
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Abnormal eye movement
- Difficulty breathing
- Decreased heart rate and abnormal heart rhythms
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek veterinary assistance immediately.
When it comes to treating a dog that has ingested a toad or frog, it is best to seek professional veterinary care. The veterinarian will evaluate your dog’s condition and determine the most appropriate course of action.
Evaluation and Treatment at the Vet’s Office
The veterinarian will prescribe treatment depending on the signs that develop as well as the type of toad and amount of ingestion. Treatment might include intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, muscle relaxants, medications to control the heart rate or seizures, and possible surgery to remove ingested toads.
In cases of severe toad or frog poisoning, it may be necessary for the veterinarian to intervene in various ways to ensure the dog’s well-being. These interventions may include administering fluids to prevent dehydration, providing medications to counteract the effects of the toxin, and performing surgical procedures if necessary.
Knowing Your Amphibians Can Save Your Dog’s Life
“It can be difficult for an owner to be able to distinguish between a frog and a toad, but it’s important to know your amphibians,” says Dr. Robinson. By being aware of the potential risks associated with toads and frogs and knowing how to respond if your dog ingests one, you can help protect your pet’s health and potentially save their life.
Remember, if you suspect your dog has ingested a toad or frog and is showing signs of poisoning, seek veterinary assistance immediately. Prompt action can make a significant difference in your dog’s outcome.