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Stop Poisonous Bufo Toads from Spraying Your Dog

Last Modified on Nov 20, 2015

Preventing Toad and Frog Poisoning in Dogs
True toads (known as Bufo in Latin), lack tails and teeth, but behind their eyes are wart-like structures called parotoid glands that secrete a poisonous substance to deter predators. While the ordinary handling of toads is not dangerous and does not cause warts (contrary to enduring popular belief), bufotoxin can have a wide variety of effects and is even used as medicine in some cultures.

Poison toads can easily affect a dog or puppy exploring the yard, going on a walk in the park, or given any opportunity for a dog to lick or mouth at a toad. Bufo marinus or the cane toad of Florida can cause a severe and sudden reaction in dogs. Symptoms of toad toxin poisoning include excessive salivation, pawing at the mouth, vocalization, very red gums, stiff movements or loss of coordination, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms from a poison toad can even progress to seizures or death.

Remedies for Bufo Toad Poisoning

On this page you can find user-submitted remedies and strategies for soothing your dog in the event of a poisoning and preventing them from coming into contact with bufo toads in the first place. Some of our popular remedies include: mothballs, liquid antiseptic, benadryl, or even keeping your dog muzzled. After reading about it on Earth Clinic, let us know what you try in order to keep your dog safe from toads. Know of a remedy not yet listed here? Let us know about it here!

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Most Popular Bufo Toads Remedies:

Flushing Mouth With Water7

User Reviews

Baby Shampoo, Olive Oil, Vet
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Posted by Paulette (Thonotosassa, Florida) on 06/23/2009

[YEA]  On June 22, 2009 our little Jack Russell was poisoned by a Bufo Toad. We caught her almost immediately after we saw her flipping it with her nose. Her left eye was shut. I immediately washed her head and nose with Baby Shampoo and rinsed for an extremely long time. I gave her a teaspoon of olive oil and she started throwing up volumous amounts of frothey white liquid. She started stiffening up and closed her left eye completely. We rushed her to the vet and they started an IV to push fluids. We were sent home as soon as she could walk. They gave us anti convulsants in case she started to have seizures in the night. I think that the extreme wash saved her life. We are still watching the eye to make sure that she doesn't form an ulcer from the poison. She is one lucky little dog.

Replied by Shaya

I live in Florida and have a yard full of these toads, I live near a lake and cannot seem to get rid of them. Yesterday my little 10 lb Maltese, who I had on leash; darted to a baby bufo and flung it across the patio..she immediately started shaking her head..i grabbed her and using a wet paper towel wiped her mouth out. then rushed her to the ER vets. I was having a panic attack but she seemed perfectly fine so I decided not to pay the $150 to see a vet but the tech checked her vitals for free and they were normal..I watched her all night and she is fine now, thank god..I don't have it in me to kill a toad (it's not their fault their poisonous) but I need to get rid of them..the vet tech said to sprinkle Epsom salts all over the yard to repel them..has anyone heard of this? (everything in Florida is trying to kill you):)
Replied by Coni

I heard moth balls are helpful. Hope I never see one of those toads. Hope my dogs never do either.

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Posted by 20yrswflvettech (Fort Myers, Fl) on 09/21/2013

Hi to all! I've been reading the comments here and I just wanted to respond with a few things.... 1st, I was born and raised here in SWFL, & I've been a vet tech @ an emergency vet clinic for the past 20 yrs. So Linda's question about how much Benadryl, the correct dose for dogs is 1mg per pound of body weight, so a 25 pound dog would get one (1) 25mg Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) tablet/capsule, or 10mls of childrens liquid Benadryl (check your labels, but MOST Liquid is 12.5mg/5ml). Next, unfortunately I've seen Bufo toxicity and deaths in dogs more than I'd like to count, and obviously prevention is your best bet, but it's true the best thing to do 1st is to immediately try to rinse your dogs mouth out with running water, then get your pet to the vet for them to treat the consequent symptoms caused by the toxins (ie seizures etc). Most dogs are killed from experiencing uncontrolled seizing, which left untreated will cause their temperature to rise quickly, effectively frying their internal organs (sorry about my graphic bluntness, but I want everyone to understand the seriousness of getting your pet the help he/she needs). You are all correct in keeping a close eye on your pets at night, as bufo's are generally nocturnal creatures, but they will come out during the day, especially during overcast rainy days, so be vigilant always. My neighborhood is overrun with the terrible toads and even though my dog is well trained and behaved, she is kept on a leash under a watchful eye.

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Posted by Katyvan (Wpb) on 10/12/2015

[YEA]  My friend's 10 pound terrier mix (looks like Toto) has nearly died twice from bufu toad poisoning. Had severe seizures both times. She will not leave them alone. She is muzzled at night and carried in my door during the day.

As a security measure, we must leave our lights on at night. The lights draw mosquitoes and other critters which draw the bufos. I have had a HERD of frogs outside every night and morning for a long time! They have even jumped inside the house several times. YUCK! I have treated the area w/ammonia, but don't want to see them suffer so I haven't tried killing them with it. I have unsuccessfully tried moth balls. My sister in MD has taken them home in plants and they have lived through several very cold winters.

My latest effort has proven VERY SUCCESSFUL and no one had to die or suffer.

Cleaned my headlights and rubber trim with Kaboom w/Oxiclean. Hate the odor and won't use it indoors. On a whim I sprayed the front door area, under the fence where frogs enter, on top of the constant flow of dead leaves, and along possible paths to my door. Had a lot of rain lately and so have "refreshed" the area several times. Haven't seen a frog for days! I know they are still somewhere nearby, but they aren't now a nuisance. Is it the Kaboom? Is it the Oxiclean? Don't know. Maybe someone else will figure it out.

Flushing Mouth with Water
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Posted by Deb (Hobe Sound, Fl) on 05/17/2015

[YEA]  Tonight, my American Bulldog came into contact with one of these frogs. She immediately began frothing at the mouth excessively. My husband and I put her in the bath tub, pulled down the removable shower head and began rinsing the outside of her muscle, then running water into her mouth, trying not to let the water be swallowed. After we no longer so the frothing, we gave her a few cups of milk. We have read NOT to give her milk, however; this happened once before and the milk seemed to help. Thank God, after we washed the outside of her mouth and muzzle as well as the inside of her mouth, she drank the milk. Within about ten minutes of her drinking the milk, she got her toy and wanted to play, wagging her tail. There was no strange behavior from her. We are so thankful that she seems to be fine. For those that have experienced this, it is extremely scary, time is of the essence. I will try the moth balls outside, but from now on, when I take her outside in our back yard, she will be on a leash and I will have a flashlight so I can see the frog before she attacks it. I hope this helps. Thanks to everyone else for your helpful comments.

Flushing Mouth With Water
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Posted by Miz Rose (Miami, Florida) on 09/18/2014

[YEA]  My niece came crying and holding her cat. She was not from Florida and did not know about bufo/cane toads. The cat was seizing and dying! This was the first time I had seen the poison effects personally. I immediately grabbed an area rug and tightly rolled up the cat, leaving her head out so I could control her. Luckily there was a decent sprayer head with good pressure on the end of the hose. I very aggressively washed her mouth out nearly drowning her but I knew I had to remove the poison. It was all one instinctive act. It worked.

Flushing Mouth with Water
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Posted by Andie (Jensen Beach, Florida) on 05/13/2014

[YEA]  Our mini dachshund had a brief encounter with a poisonous bufu cane toad, and began to rub his mouth on the grass, and had some frothing of the mouth. We rinsed his mouth immediately with the garden hose, & continued with the shower hose while calling the vet. This site has a lot of good info. I wanted to add that I read on wikipedia that the tadpoles & young ARE also poisonous. Luckily, our doxie needed no more treatment. The vet also rinsed his mouth thoroughly, & released him. I'm not sure if benadryl was recommended or has been years since this happened. He no longer gets to roam free in his fenced back yard due to these monsters. People should not leave any type of pet food out whatsoever; they even ate corn & other grains from bird food that fell out when I cleaned the bird cage. Thanks to all for all the info on these killers.

Flushing Mouth With Water
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Posted by Gordy (Naples, Fl) on 05/03/2014

[WARNING!]  I patrol the area with my Pellet gun. Our yorkie got in to a Bufo toad. Effect was immediate but we knew the protocol and washed his mouth & face, then headed to the emergency vet clinic. He had a bad night but survived.

Posted by Holly (West Palm Beach, Fl) on 05/05/2013

My vet says that the poison is ON their mouth, lips, gums, etc., and that inducing vomiting is not only unnecessary, but dangerous... The idea is to rinse the poison through, out and off of the mouth. We use a hose from one side and then the other with the dog's head forced downward, wiping the slime away and OFF with fingers and a towel. In my opinion, FAST rinsing is the only cure. Seizures and death can be astonishingly quick. Our dogs NEVER go out after daylight alone. It's too dangerous, especially in the spring and summer, here in West Palm.

Posted by Jay (Tampa, Pinellas) on 09/28/2011

[YEA]  This is the second time that I have had one of my Frenchies lick or eat these toads ( by the way, they all have some form of nurotoxin) The first dog I revived 5 times on the way to the Emergency Vet. She had a 5% survival rate. Tonight (9/28) My second female Frenchie ate a small one. They go absolutely spastic trying to get the toxins out of their mouth. Both times hitting them with Benedryl help, also you need to get as much of the toxins out of their mouths(wet Cloth). She was bleeding profusely from the mouth due to a dollar shape (necrotic) circle.

It may sound cruel but I also took the hose from the sink and forced as much water into her stomach and mouth. The first was to ensure she threw up, second to clean as much of the toxin into a wet cloth. The key is whatever you do has to be quick. The first 15 mins to half hour are critical. I have not heard of the vinegar before but if it works and I will check with the VET in the morning. Please pay attention to ALL toads. Theses incidents occured in Delray Beach and Palm Harbor.

Posted by Scissorgurl (Honolulu, Hi) on 07/21/2011

I moved to Hawaii 7 months ago and have never heard of a Bufo Toad. I have to boston terriers about 20 to 25lbs each and luckily the 1st time I caught it right away and rinsed there mouths being sure to keep them from not swallowing the water, its hard but try your best. It worked best for me to lay them on there side so it would drain out. And if the jaw locks up I used my sons fork that has the rubber grip to prey his mouth open to get some air. And then once you get them able to move a little and breathe go to the vet if not sooner. After that the vet told me they come out at night so be careful so after 5 I NEVER let them outside I only walked them on a leash. During the day I never saw them until monday afternoon I let them out while I had people delivering my sons bed and when I went to get them less than an hour later I found one dog already dead and the other I took to the vet. He stayed 3 days and now has edema on his left side the vet said he has never seen that before but he is ok. They are litter mates so I worry about him, This has been so difficult I dont know how I am going to get through this I feel like its my fault and I know people said they didnt want to kill the toads but I will now go out of my way to do so if I see one because they killed my family member. These are no joke! Watch out and take precautions. R. I. P Monk! You were the greatest dog!

Replied by Mrsmike6
Boynton Beach, Florida

My question I suppose is what I have read a little about here. What can you do around the outside of your house? I read something about cedar? What else can you do? I have 2 mini dachshunds and am scared for them! I had a Bofu toad IN my garage this morning when I went out to get my newspaper! I took a long handled broom and ushered it outside. I will continue to go outside with my dogs to make sure it went away! What can I do outside my home to help keep them away OR make it unattractive to those creepy things. Thank You. Michaeleen

Posted by Kristin (Pahoa, Hi) on 11/22/2009

[YEA]  My Pit has a grudge againt the Bufo frogs we have here in Hawaii and I find it interesting that nobody seems to know they exist here too! The last two weekends in a row he has gotten ahold of one. Luckily he didn't swallow it, just shook it. He immediate began froth at the mouth, his jaw locked up. I dragged him inside and started the flushing process. It usually takes about fifteen minutes of flushing with clear water and wiping gums with a wet cloth before I can even get his jaw open to start on the inside of his mouth. I know everyone says to flush the inside, but when a pitbull locks his jaw, it takes a lot more strength than I have to open it... Luckily my Pit is a big pussycat and the only danger is that he can't control his jaws when this happens.. I have noticed when they begin to unlock, they do have a tendency to involunarily snap back shut the first several times so watch your fingers!!

Posted by Jim (Stuart, Florida) on 06/07/2008

[YEA]  There are two forms of Bofus frog, only one is dangerous.

In my many years I have found that a garden hose and wasting the mouth of the dog, holding the head sideways, as quickly as possible is very effective in saving the dog. Also rub the mouth and gums. Once it gets into the blood stream, it will take 15 minutes or less to kill a dog or cat, generally a smaller size. Humans will get a rash or burning eyes so wash asap.

The bad one is the Bufo marinus. The Southern Toad is the smaller of the two, no larger then 3 inches and is not plump as the other is.

They are brown or gray-brown on top, sometimes with cream colored spots scattered across their backs, sides and legs. The underside is a sickly pale yellow, sometimes flecked with black. The back and legs are covered with spiny warts.

Posted by Linda (Pahoa, Hawaii) on 07/06/2007

[YEA]  In Hawaii and at night, the Bufo Toads rule the garden. When the garden contains several koi ponds, you better believe the toads are in residence. My large rotti/lab mix has gotten in the habit of hunting these poisonous critters. By habit, I mean she is addicted to the "high" she gets when she bites into one of these creatures. I've taken to flushing out her mouth with water using the garden hose when she approaches me and is frothing at the mouth. Eyes glazed, rolling on the lawn, and snorting, she appears to be having a grand old time. The only way I can prevent her from indulging in this toad sport is to tie her up or keep her in the house at night. The toads are an asset in the garden as they keep the centipede population in check as both creatures are nocturnal. We are learning to co-exist and I am lucky my dog weighs over 100 lbs and is only mildly affected by this toad venom.

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Posted by Cnf (Wilton Manors, Florida) on 02/24/2015

Bufo toads are also out in the mornings so please make sure your animal is closely watched. My 15 pound dog is alive thanks to the quick action of the emergency vet hospital.

Posted by Colleen (Wesley Chapel, Florida) on 06/20/2009

I was very lucky when one of my mini doxins bit a bofus toad.This was the first time I have ever heard of this toad. After the dogs went outside and got into there crates for the night I heard two of my dogs howling and crying. I go to there crates to see what was going on and my sallest younger doxie was laying on his back. He did not wag his tail when I came in the room and I knew some thing was wrong. He had already thrown up in his crate. I took him out and he was frozen in the fetal position with his eyes hardly open. The first thing I did was take off his colar then I wrinsed him off in the bath tub because he was covered in this sort of sticky slimy stuff I kept trying to open his mouth but he had lock jaw. Finaly I got his mouth open and made sure he wasn't chocking on something. I wraped him in a towel and kept rubing him to keep him warm. His mom came over and licked his nose and kept a watchful eye on him. A few mins. after that his stomach started to rumble. He threw up again. He started to come out of the sorta trance he was in. He also started to loosen up his body and move his legs and head. At that point I knew my praying would keep him here. About an hour after all this happened he was wagging his tail and showing the loving affection he all ways does. The next morrning he was still fine and ready to run out of the door to do his morrning duty but before I let them out I scouted the yard for more of those "killer toads" and found the one from the night before. It was dead with what looked like teeth marks on the top of his head and under the throat. I tell ya I was truly lucky that my dog survived. I love my Little Sabastian!