Toads are fascinating amphibians that you may find in the backyard (especially if you have a pond) and other places. Sometimes, dogs are curious about toads. And why not? Toads hop and flop around, presenting a dog with something fun to chase! But what if your dog happens to chase, catch, and eat an American toad? Can an American toad make a dog sick?
Has your dog eaten an American toad? Are you worried that the American toad will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.
We’ve gathered information about the American toad and whether it can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
What is an American Toad?
The American toad, also called Bufo [Anaxyrus] americanus, is a large toad. They’re usually between 2-3.5 inches in length and are usually brown or gray, though some of these toads have a reddish appearance. They can also be olive- or tan-colored. Their base color is often accented with yellow or tan patches that contain randomly distributed dark spots across the back. They may also have a light-colored strip down the middle of their backs.
American toads live across a wide range of North America, including most southeastern states (except Florida). Their range also extends up to parts of Canada and much of the contiguous 48 states of the US. They usually live in areas that contain hardwood trees and pines, though they can also be found in open fields, pastures, residential areas, and more. They love leaf litter, sandy/loamy soil for burrowing and a place where they can find plenty of food.
It’s possible that a curious dog or a dog that loves to chase other animals may find it fun to play with the toad. But what happens if a dog eats an American toad?
The American Toad & Dogs
Unfortunately, American toads are toxic to dogs. These toads carry toxins in their skin and in the parotoid glands (behind their eyes). The toxin can make dogs pretty sick or even cause death.
Symptoms of American Toad Ingestion in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten an American toad:
- Excessive drooling/frothing at the mouth
- Gums may become very read
- Pawing at the mouth/eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased or decreased heart rate
- Abnormal heart rhythms
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Treatment of American Toad Ingestion in Dogs
The vet may start by flushing your dog’s mouth with large amounts of water. This decreases the amount of toxin absorbed into your fur baby’s system and can reduce the severity of his symptoms. The vet may also rinse your dog’s face and eyes to remove possible American toad toxins.
Additional treatment depends on your dog’s symptoms. He may require IV fluids, anti-nausea medications, medicine to control his heart rate, muscle relaxers, medications for seizures, and more.
In some cases, your fur baby may also require surgery to remove any parts of the toad remaining in your dog’s system.
The prognosis is best for dogs who receive prompt medical treatment after eating an American toad. In the future, it’s best to train your dog to avoid toads (though he may stay far away from them after his experience). You’ll both be happier for it!