Don't Kiss This One

Did you know this guy can kill your dog?!  Bufo Toads are your pup's worst enemy, especially these days with all this hot, humid weather.  They're everywhere.  And they're coming to get you. Okay, maybe not really, but they are BAD NEWS.

Bufo toads were brought to south Florida sugar cane fields to eat pests; they also escaped a couple of times from pet dealers, and now they're settled in and not going anywhere.  They're scary predators of other small wildlife, and they'll even eat pet food (so keep it off your patio!). They'll also hang out in your pet's outdoor water dish and can poison that, so keep water bowls refreshed and clean.

And mostly, do NOT let your dog get anywhere near a bufo toad.  The toad will release a milky-white venom from glands at the back of its head, which can irritate human skin but it can kill a cat or dog. Signs that your pet has been poisoned: 

  • Severe, immediate drooling -- foaming at the mouth (like shaving cream)
  • Crying or whining
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Walking "drunk"
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

What to do:

Immediately clean your pet's mouth. Experts disagree on the safest way to do this, but most agree you need a small amount of water to clean your pet's mouth, gums, and tongue.  Some say to point your pup's head downward and rinse out his mouth; others say use a very wet washcloth to wipe it out.  You just want to make sure you're not washing the venom down into the stomach and that your pet is not breathing it in (which would happen if he were to choke on or inhale the water).  Then, immediately head to the vet. (Make sure you know the address and phone number of your nearest 24-hour emergency vet, as toads are out in the evening and night.)

Click here and here for more info on the bufo toad and how to recognize one. (That way you'll know when to walk away, know when to run...)

Click here for detailed medical/veterinary information on bufo toad poisoning. And ask your vet what he or she recommends for immediate treatment, whether to flush or to wipe out the mouth, etc.

For future reference:  The Pet Poison Helpline

So keep your cats, dogs, and kids away from these bad boys, and remember: there ain't no prince under that toady skin. That ugly goes aaallll the way down.