Dear Jeni: I’ve seen my dog chase a lot of toads around this summer, should I stop him or is it safe to let him investigate? 

In the humid summer months, toads become more active and can be found in wet places including backyards, ponds, and after it rains. Your dog, being a natural predator, may try to chase and even catch a toad in their mouth which brings them in contact with the toad’s toxin. Although most toads are not toxic enough to cause great harm to your dog, there are two species in the U.S. that are deadly to pets, including the Colorado River Toad and the Marine Toad. If your dog were to come in contact with one of these deadly toads, it would display symptoms such as severe drooling, pawing at mouth and eyes, difficulty breathing, foaming at the mouth, as well as neurological signs, including dilated pupils, vocalization, seizures or collapsing. If you believe your dog has been exposed to a toxic toad, the first step would be to flush his or her mouth with water for 5-10 minutes to prevent further toxin absorption, and then bring him to an emergency animal clinic. Most toad encounters only leave a bad taste in your dog’s mouth, but knowing the symptoms of toad venom poisoning can save your pet’s life. For poison concerns the Pet Poison Hotline is available at 800-213-6680.

- Jeni (aka The Doglady)