Cane Toads and Dogs

Cane Toads and Dogs - Jordan Dog Training

Cane toads can kill dogs.

At this time of year, cane toads are prolific. This can be a major challenge for those of us that have dogs, especially those dogs with a high prey drive. Dogs are often drawn to chase cane toads, and they may lick, nose-nudge or pick up cane toads in their mouth.

When cane toads feel threatened, for example, by a dog’s unsolicited attention, they release a toxin that looks like a white sticky slime from the glands on their back. This toxin will stick to your dog’s tongue and gums if they handle the toad with their mouth. The rapid-acting toxin is then absorbed by the membranes in the dog’s mouth, causing symptoms ranging in severity depending upon the amount of toxin absorbed.

Signs your dog has cane toad poisoning

  • Profuse salivation, drooling and/or frothing from the mouth
  • Very red and slimy gums
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation, shivers and/or tremors
  • Muscle rigidity, spasms or seizures
  • Very rapid heart rate and/or heart beat irregularities
  • Death

What to do if you suspect your dog has cane toad poisoning

It is vital to act quickly to provide first aid and veterinary attention if they are exposed to the toxin. First aid includes removing the toxin from your dog’s mouth (tongue and gums) as soon as possible to help prevent the poisoning from becoming severe. To do this, use a wet cloth to thoroughly wipe the inside of your dog’s mouth. Continue to rinse the dog’s mouth out for 10-15 minutes with a slow running hose or tap, and be cautious of the direction of water to avoid it going down the dog’s throat or into the airway.

If your dog settles down after wiping and rinsing the mouth out, keep them confined for several hours and monitor them very closely for further symptoms. It is always recommended to consult with your vet or local vet emergency when any poisoning has occurred as the situation can quickly become life threatening, requiring veterinarian monitoring and treatment with intravenous fluids and anti-seizure medication.

Prevention

Jordan Dog Training - Cane Toad Poisoning

The safest way to prevent cane toad poisoning is to keep your dog locked inside at night away from the threat of the cane toads.  You may also like to try and teach your dog to stay away from cane toads altogether. Although this is not always 100% effective, it can be very effective for some dogs.

Talk to your vet for a recommendation to a professional trainer for help to achieve this. A small amount of the toxin can also have a hallucinogenic effect on dogs, which leads some dogs to actively seek out cane toads to have a repeat of this effect.

If you want to not only help prevent poisoning to your dog but also help the natural environment and wildlife, eradication of the cane toads is something to consider. The more you dispose of, the less you get in your yard. A humane and easy way of doing this is by using a product “Hop Stop” available at most hardware stores.  Go the website for more information www.hopstop.com.au