Dogs are super curious animals, and as a pet parent, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers they face while exploring their surroundings. One such threat is Cane toad poisoning in dogs. To keep your furbaby safe, do not panic and immediately administer first aid, which will be discussed in this blog.

Why are Cane Toads Dangerous to Dogs?

With Australia’s tropical climate and rich wildlife, the country is home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, and our cherished pets may get exposed to such animals. 

The Cane toad, also known as the giant neotropical toad or marine toad, is one very deadly wildlife species. They are large, warty amphibians more prevalent during the warmer season. Tropical North Queensland, however, has them present all year round. These giant creatures excrete a rapidly acting toxin released through the back of their necks. When a dog bites or licks the Cane toad, the poison sticks to the tongue and gums. It is then is absorbed through the mouth membrane. It’s so potent that it can cause hallucinations, tremors, seizures and potentially cardiac arrest.

Signs of Cane Toad Poisoning In Dogs

  • Excessive drooling
  • Frothing in the mouth
  • Dilated eyes
  • Pupils appear larger than usual
  • Vomiting
  • Pawing
  • Disorientation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Convulsions
  • Death

First Aid for Cane Toad Poisoning in Dogs

  1. Get a damp washcloth. DO NOT use a running hose or tap as water might enter the lungs.
  2. Thoroughly wipe the outside and inside of the mouth. 
  3. Make sure to remove the slimy substance completely. *This entire process takes about 10-20 minutes. 
  4. Immediately take your dog to the vet when their condition gets worse. Even if they seem better, take them to the vet for a routine check to be on the safe side.

How To Avoid Cane Toad Poisoning

  • Determine if it’s a Cane toad. – The colouring may differ; the upper surface may be brown, olive-brown or reddish-brown. The ventral surface varies from white to yellow and is marked with spots. They all have dark brown warts at the caps, but the males possess more than females. 
  • Cane toads are nocturnal so preferably take your dogs out during the day. If you’re walking them at night, ensure they have ample supervision.
  • If you find a Cane toad in your yard, remove young children and pets from the area. 
  • According to RSCPA guidelines, there are a few available methods considered humane for euthanising Cane toads, which include Cooling and Freezing and using Eugenol. Another conditionally acceptable method is using Hopstop.  Spray it onto the toad, and once the toad stops moving, repeat the spraying process.   Two hours after spraying the toad must be confirmed dead before proper disposal can then occur.

Related Blog: First aid for pets: How we can help our furry friends in their time of need

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