Schnitzel sitting under her favorite tree lizard watching
I have been spending some time in Miami. Over dinner the other night I pointed out how cute my dog Schnitzel is sitting under a tree staring at lizards. She's too scared to actually interact with them, they are simply the best movie she has ever watched. She sits like a stature staring at the bushes waiting for the lizards to run up and down the trees. My friend's response was not at all what I expected ... He said "don't let her near a Bufo frog as it can kill her!" Having never heard of a Bufo frog before, or envisioning a FROG that could kill a DOG, I quickly did some research. Here is the bad and the ugly...
Bufo toads also known as the cane toad, marine toad and giant toad have shown their ugly faces in Florida and are highly toxic to dogs. They are usually found in wet areas near canals, ponds and even in your own yard. Cane toads breed year-round in standing water, streams, canals and ditches.
Bofu toads are large and jump around a lot which can attract the attention of your pooch. As a defense mechanism the toad secretes toxins and venom through its skin. If your dog licks or grabs the toad with its mouth it can cause illness and even death. A very small amount of the toxins are needed to cause serious damage to your pup.
Symptoms usually show within minutes and can include:
- red gums
- excessive drooling
- trouble breathing
What do you do if your dog comes in contact with one?
If you notice any of the above, take your dog to the vet immediately!! The Bufo Toad can kill your dog in as little as 15 minutes. There is no cure for Bufo poisoning but there are steps you can take to help. You need to rinse their mouth out as soon as possible without causing them to swallow the poison already in their mouth. Take a squirt bottle of water and squirt into their mouth from the SIDE so the poison leaves the mouth, while keeping their head BELOW their body. Be sure to protect your hands as Bufo toads are toxic to humans as well. Once you have rinsed their mouth out proceed to vet. The vet may induce vomiting, give your dog anti-seizure medicine, put your dog on fluids, or even receive oxygen.
The key is to try to minimize exposure for your pup. Do not feed your dog outside as Bufo's will eat pet food. While we never recommend killing any animal, if you are positive it is a cane frog you are legally allowed to humanely euthanize it.
What do they look like?
- tan to reddish-brown or dark brown or gray in color
- backs are marked with dark spots
- warty skin
- 4-6 inches long but can grow to 9.5 inches in length
- triangular glands
How to get rid of them?
The University of Florida recommends euthanizing them by rubbing or spraying 20% benzocaine toothache gel (topical anesthetic) or lidocaine on the toad. In a few minutes, it will become unconscious.
Put the toad in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for 24-48 hours to ensure it is humanely euthanized.