Porky and Buddy Pet Health – What’s The Truth About Toad Licking?

Dear Porky and Buddy,
My groomer just told me that if my dog Tucker licks a toad he could get really sick or even die, as toads are poisonous.  Is that true?  Know that he licks EVERYTHING!  What should I do to protect him?


Dear Diane,
It’s sort of true. Toads secrete a substance on their skin that is intended to protect them from predators because it (apparently) tastes really really bad and can irritate a dog’s tongue.

Catching and chewing or even just licking a toad can cause excessive salivation and sometimes disorientation, but usually nothing very serious.

There are some deadly exceptions.

Several species of giant toads are a serious threat to pets. The Colorado River Toad, found in Southwestern states from Arizona to Southern California, and the Giant Brown Toad (also known as Marine Toads, Cane Toads or Bufo Toads) found in South Texas and Florida, are the two most common poisonous toads in the U.S.

There are also a large number of Bufo Toads in Hawaii.

These giant toads can grow to be as much as  9 inches long and to weigh more than 2 pounds.  If you see one, you know it, and we are very very thankful that they don’t live around here. Of course, there is always global warming to look forward to, but that is another topic altogether.

If Tucker has caught or licked a toad, you may see him start drooling and foaming at the mouth and maybe vomiting. Flushing his mouth with water to relieve the unpleasant symptoms is usually all that’s needed.

To do that place a hose along the inside of his mouth, point his head downward so the water won’t be swallowed and flush his mouth to remove all trace of the poison. While flushing, rub the gums and the inside of his mouth until they no longer feel slimy.

If his symptoms don’t clear up very soon, you should definitely call your vet as a precaution.

And remember that drooling and foaming at the mouth can be symptoms of other more serious problems, so don’t make an assumption that they were caused by a toad unless you actually saw it happen.

If you don’t know what is causing such symptoms, call your vet immediately.

Maybe you should let him lick you more so that he forgets about toads!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Because people and pets are good for each other.