Cane toads can put your pet in peril. Although cane toads are more abundant in the spring and summer months, when there’s more rainfall, they can be found just about any time of the year in South Florida.
If your pet bites or swallows a cane toad it will become sick and may die, so take it to the veterinarian right away. Symptoms of cane toad poisoning in pets include excessive drooling and extremely red gums, head shaking, crying, loss of coordination, and sometimes convulsions. Cane toads are tan to reddish-brown, and their backs are marked with dark spots. Adults are 3 to 6 inches long, and their skin is warty.
Suggestions to prevent your dog from getting poisoned by a cane toad:
- Be aware of your pet’s location.
- Walk your dog on a short leash, especially at dusk and after dark.
- Don’t let your dog sniff under bushes.
- Trim shrubs so limbs don’t touch the ground, and remove debris and clutter in your yard. These two measures will make your yard less attractive for toads to hide.
- Turn off outside lights, which attract insects and toads.
- Don’t leave pet food out at night.
If you suspect you pet has been poisoned by a cane toad, follow these tips:
- Wipe your dog or cat’s mouth thoroughly with a wet rag.
- Using a hose, rinse your pet’s mouth for about 10 minutes, keeping its head pointed down so water runs out of the mouth.
- Call your veterinarian for more advice. The vet will probably suggest bringing the pet to the office.