Home Health and Care Safety, Emergencies and First Aid Toad Poisoning in Dogs: What to Do If A Toad Poisons your...

Toad Poisoning in Dogs: What to Do If A Toad Poisons your Labrador


Toad poisoning in dogs is more common than you think. Because Labradors are adventurous and love to spend more time outdoors, it is common for them to encounter one – or even catch a toad with their mouth. As natural predators, it is normal for your Labrador to try catching these amphibians. However, there is a problem, some species of toads can be poisonous and could easily kill your Labrador.

Toad Poisoning in Dogs

Not all toads are poisonous. But some may pose serious threats for your Labrador Retriever. Here is your guide to toad poisoning in dogs, including how to identify and treat it successfully.

Poisonous Toads That Can Kill Your Labrador

Toads – no matter what the type – secret mucus that makes them taste repulsive to predators. However, some toads are poisonous and can cause allergy or death in dogs. In the United States, the most common toads that are poisonous for dogs include the following.

  • The Bufo Alvarius, which is also known as the Colorado River or Sonoran Desert toad. Mostly found in the southwestern United States and areas bordering Mexico, it is highly poisonous. The toad has glands within the skin that release a type of toxin similar to psychedelic drugs in effect. This toad venom can cause altered brain functions in your dog, including hallucination and extreme disorientation.
  • The Bufo Marinus, which is also known as Marine or Cane toad. It has poison glands that secret highly toxic substance. Any animal ingesting it is likely to suffer from symptoms similar to poisoning. It can kill both wild and domesticated animals.

Toad toxins produced by glands in the skin contain an agent that is similar to digoxin, a heart medication. Oral exposure to the Bufo Marinus can result in a speedy death – even as fast as 15 minutes.

Since Labradors and other dogs love to play with things using their mouth, they mostly get exposed to these toxins orally. However, the toxin may also be absorbed through the broken or wounded skin. Dogs may not only get poisoned through direct contact with toads when playing outdoors. There have been reports of toad toxicities caused by toads sitting in pet water or food bowls. So, ensure your pet’s living and dining areas remain free from toads.

Signs of Toad Poisoning in Dogs

A dog, who has been in physical or oral contact with a poisonous toad, may show some or all of the following symptoms.

  • Excessive or abnormal drooling previously unseen in your dog
  • Headshaking recurrently that is without any sign of normal behavior and indicating the possibility of any health disorder
  • Vomiting that is an indication that your dog has eaten something and trying to vomit it.
  • Retching showing that your Labrador Retriever is trying to vomit and he is trying vigorously
  • Pawing at the mouth or face with or without drooling is an indication that your dog has eaten something not good for his health
  • Reddish mucus membranes in his vomiting
  • Your dog turns more vocal than its normal behavior and he may look irritated or agonizing.

In severe cases, the affected dog may have heart rhythm disorders that can cause seizures, apparent blindness, collapse, and death.

What to Do If You Suspect Toad Poisoning in Dogs

If your Labrador has been in contact with a poisonous toad – as symptoms are visible – you must act immediately. Any delay may cause further deterioration putting your pet at the risk of fatal consequences. Wash your Labrador’s mouth by hosing down large amounts of water. Then, take your Labrador to the veterinarian as fast as you can.

At the Vet’s

Once at the clinic, the attending veterinarian will check your Labrador’s oral cavity and other exposed parts to rinse them with large amounts of water. Anesthesia may be used so that the vet will be able to wash the entire mouth and throat thoroughly. The veterinarian may also use activated charcoal to help your dog get rid of the toxin.

Your Labrador will then be monitored with an electrocardiogram and treated if there are abnormalities in his or her heart rhythm. The vet may also administer IV fluids to keep your Labrador hydrated. He may prescribe other medicines to control any seizures and drooling.


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