Dogs and toads do not work well together so it’s important to keep your dog away from toads. There are 16 species of toads in Arizona, most of the species are from the family Bufonidae. Toads aren’t exclusive to Arizona; they can be found all over the southwestern United States. The most poisonous toad in Arizona is the Sonoran Desert toad, also known as the Colorado River toad. Always take the safe route when it comes to your pup, because you never know if your dog may encounter a poisonous toad. 

The Cause of Toad Poisoning 

Dogs will eat, lick, or chew anything they can get their mouth on, including toads. Dogs can get poisoned by toads through simple, quick contact. Toad poison is secreted through their skin when they feel threatened. Poisoning in dogs occurs when these toxic substances are absorbed through the mouth, open wounds, or mucous membranes. Toads are poisonous at all stages of their development from eggs to fully grown adults. Water from a bowl which a toad has been in or pond water holding eggs can cause poisoning as well.

When are Toads Most Active in Arizona? 

The most poisonous toads, Sonoran Desert Toads, are most active during the summer months. They will find any water source; including pools, ditches, drains, lakes, and rivers. Be careful when walking around your water sources with your dog. These toads emerge from the ground which may entice your dog to catch them, but this can have fatal consequences. 

Toad Poisoning Symptoms

Toad poisoning is a life-threatening medical emergency, and most desert toads are toxic to pets. Living in a high-risk area requires preventative steps to take for you and your pet to stay safe. If you do this, you might save yourself some heartbreak or the expense of an emergency vet visit. Dogs have almost immediate clinical signs of toad poisoning, so understanding them is crucial.

  • Drooling excessively
  • Shaking of the head
  • Mouth or eye pawing
  • Red mucous membranes
  • Hyperthermia
  • Breathing difficulties


Toad Poisoning Treatment 

The first thing you should do is rinse your dog’s mouth and face with clean fresh water. Do not give your dog an excessive amount of water because this can cause additional health issues. Next, call Pet Poison Helpline® for medical advice and take your dog to a vet so they can be looked at. Toad poisoning can occur rapidly and result in mobility issues. There is not a single antidote to toad poisoning. Instead, your vet will treat the clinical signs. 

Treatment will depend on the signs that develop. Medications to control heart rate, muscle relaxants, seizures, and medications to treat abnormal heart rhythms may be needed. Immediately call your vet and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 if your dog encountered a toad. It’s highly important to get immediate veterinary care.