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Poisonous toads: How to spot them to protect your pets

Posted at 11:15 AM, Apr 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 12:03:50-04

What to know:

  • Many toads can cause harm to your dogs/pets, some more life-threatening than others
  • If your dog/pet consumes the poisonous venom, there are ways to buy yourself time before you get to the emergency vet
  • You can buy an emergency kit to give your animal more time before receiving treatment

I keep hearing about how the Bufo toads are dangerous to small dogs, like my dog, Tito (he is a small Schoaucher retriever mix).
Tito likes to smell EVERYTHING on our daily walks and get inside the bushes to make sure he hasn't missed a scent. But it concerns me because I see all these frogs around our neighborhood (usually lime ones falling from my backyard umbrellas when I open them up on a nice sunny day).

The poisonous toads aren't great climbers so that's not what I need to be looking out for to keep Tito safe. The poisonous ones are an invasive species called Bufo toads, also known as cane toads.

Florida Fish and Wildlife says, "They have enlarged glands behind the eyes, which angle downward onto the shoulders. The glands secrete a potent milky-white toxin (bufotoxin) as [a] defense against predators including domestic pets."

How to identify cane/Bufo toads (Source: University of Florida):

  • Chunky body
  • Short legs
  • Dry warty skin
  • Not good climbers
  • Slight webbing on their rear feet
  • Brown or gray in color
  • Spotted skin

Jeannine Tilford owns Toad Busters, a toad removal business. Her biggest tip is to get the dogs back inside before sundown.

"Toads are nocturnal. So generally they're going to be out at nighttime. So what we recommend is that if you have time to get your dog fed and to the bathroom before it gets dark, have them out at that point, because they're less likely to run into the toad," Tilford said.

Tips from Toad Busters:

1) Get your dog/pet in by sundown
2) Keep your dog on a leash to control/know where they are going
3) Don't leave your dogs alone
4) Have an emergency kit
5) Get toad-resistant pet protecting fencing
6) Have the emergency vet's number posted on the refrigerator (know their location).
Jeannine said removing Bufo toads is a good idea because they are territorial.

What to do if your dog/pet gets poisoned:

You'll notice your dog/pet may seize, eyes dilate, and vomit.

1) Immediately get wet paper towels and wipe out their mouth several times including the tongue, gums, and teeth.
2) Contact and take your pet to the emergency (smaller dogs are are at greater risk).
You may only have five to 20 minutes to get your dog assistance.

The Cuban Tree Frogs are the lime frogs that do drop down from my umbrellas (one dropped during a Zoom meeting... I shrieked). They also are invasive and have a toxin that could give dogs an allergic reaction. Toad Busters says they should be an issue unless your dog has a respiratory issue.

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