My Dog Ate a Frog. What Do I Do?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Some frogs and toads are highly poisonous to dogs. 
  • Early decontamination and treatment are key to achieving a positive outcome.
  • If you suspect your dog ate a toxic frog, seek veterinary care immediately. 

Dogs are natural predators, and some will go after anything that moves. So, what if your pooch sees a frog hopping by the lake and pounces on it? Is it safe to eat?

Whether frogs are safe for dogs depends on which type of frog your pooch encounters. To be on the safe side, you should call your vet if Fido ever swallows one.

In this article, we’ll talk about when frogs are dangerous for dogs to eat and what you should do when your pup swallows one of the amphibians. I’ll explain what can happen when dogs eat frogs and what your vet will do to treat your pooch.

Let’s get going.

Are Frogs Toxic to Dogs?

There are various frog and toad species in the world. Some are extremely toxic to dogs while others are harmless. So, if your furbaby munches any frog, call your vet. Depending on the type of amphibian your pooch got his teeth on, one bite could be enough to poison him.

If the frog isn’t poisonous, it can still be trouble for your pooch. The amphibians can carry salmonella and a parasite that infects dog lungs.

Some frog species are highly toxic to dogs but others are not. It’s best to contact your vet any time your dog eats a frog. Frogs that aren’t poisonous can still infect your pooch with lungworms or salmonella.

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate a Frog?

If your dog ate a frog and isn’t in distress, check his mouth and remove any remaining amphibian. Next, wipe down your pup’s gums and mouth with a damp cloth. Rinse the cloth and repeat the process. Do this for about 10 minutes to remove as much toxin as possible.

Then call your vet and let him know what happened. Describe the frog to your doctor and any symptoms that you notice. Report any medications or pre-existing conditions that your dog has.  Follow the doctor’s directions. 

If your dog ate a frog, remove any remains from his mouth and use a damp cloth to wipe the mouth and gums. Call your vet and let him know what happened, how your dog is acting, and any other information the doctor should know. Follow his instructions.

What You Should Do Immediately If You Suspect Your Dog Has Been Poisoned by a Frog

If you suspect that your dog ingested a poisonous frog, take him to the veterinarian. Check his mouth and remove any remaining parts. Use a damp cloth to wipe his mouth and gums. This may help reduce any traces of the toxin because the poisonous secretions are usually thick and sticky.

When dogs show signs of illness after eating a frog, seeking treatment is the priority. So, if your dog has difficulty breathing, a dazed look, seizures/tremors, loss of consciousness, or red gums, get him to the emergency clinic. Samples can wait.

If your dog ate a frog and shows signs of illness like red gums, seizures, or sudden collapse, take him to the vet immediately. Do what you can to remove any leftover pieces of frog from his mouth, and wipe down the gums and mouth to get rid of any traces of the toxin.

What if My Dog Ate a Lot of Frog But Is Acting Normal?

If your pooch ate several small frogs or a whole larger one but isn’t acting sick, the amphibian probably isn’t toxic. However, the frogs may still harbor pathogens that can make your pooch sick. Observe your pup for the next several days and report any signs of illness including vomiting and diarrhea to your veterinarian.

In the case of lungworm, it takes the ingested larvae at least 5 weeks to develop into adults and infest the lungs. Fortunately, lungworm infection is rare. If your dog ingests a frog or toad that carries Salmonella, you may not notice symptoms of infection for 72 hours. 

If your dog isn’t distressed or acting sick after eating lots of frogs, chances are the amphibian he swallowed isn’t poisonous. There are other ways frogs can harm your dog, but the symptoms may take days to weeks to appear. Keep observing your pooch and talk to your vet about any suspicious signs.

Signs of Frog Poisoning

Poisonous frogs secrete an alkaloid neurotoxin on their skin to protect them from predators. If your dog eats a frog that produces toxins, the signs of poisoning may include: 

  • Confusion
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bright red gums
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures and shaking
  • collapse/Loss of consciousness
  • Dilated pupils or abnormal eye movements
  • Difficulty walking
  • vomiting/diarrhea
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

Symptoms may vary depending on which frog species your dog ate and how much of the toxin he ingested. 

Poisonous frogs secrete a neurotoxin on their skin as a defense mechanism. When a dog eats a poisonous frog, you may notice a variety of signs affecting the digestive, musculoskeletal, respiratory, and other systems. The specific symptoms depend on the frog species and the amount of poison ingested.

What Happens to Dogs When They Eat Frogs?

Frogs secrete irritating substances through their skin to discourage predators. When dogs eat frogs, they’ll usually drool, drink lots of water, and foam at the mouth whether the creature is toxic or not. 

If the ranid is poisonous, the toxins can be rapidly absorbed through mucous membranes in the mouth. In the bloodstream, the toxin rapidly targets the heart, nervous system, and blood vessels. Symptoms appear soon after ingestion and quickly progress. Without treatment, collapse and death are likely.

All frogs secrete a substance through their skin to deter predators. In the case of poisonous frogs, the secretion contains a toxin that can be rapidly absorbed through your dog’s mucous membranes. The toxin targets nervous and cardiovascular tissue. Without treatment, death is likely.

Why Are Some Frogs Toxic to Dogs?

Certain frogs secrete a neurotoxin as a defense mechanism against predators. Because the alkaloid chemical attacks cells in the nervous system and the cardiovascular system, it causes life-threatening symptoms. 

Interestingly, poisonous frogs create toxins because of their diet. Frogs that eat ants, mites, spiders, and other small invertebrates that are full of alkaloids are immune to the lethal chemical. Their systems extract the toxin and store it in sacs under their skin. Then, they expel it when a predator threatens them.

Frogs are poisonous because of their diet. When they eat ants, spiders, and other alkaloid-containing invertebrates, frogs extract and store the chemical in sacs under the skin. They excrete the toxin when a predator threatens them. Once ingested, the alkaloid chemical attacks cells in the nervous and cardiovascular systems of dogs. 

How Will My Vet Treat Poisoning By a Frog?

When you take your pooch to the vet, he’ll work rapidly to minimize the amount of toxin your dog absorbs. If you haven’t already wiped or flushed the mouth, the doctor will thoroughly rinse your pup’s face, eyes, and mouth with cool water. Depending on your pooch’s symptoms, your vet will provide further treatment:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Antinausea drugs
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Medications to manage abnormal heart rhythms
  • Activated charcoal to neutralize the toxin
  • Endoscopy or surgery to remove any swallowed frogs or pieces of frogs

When you bring your dog in for swallowing a poisonous frog, the vet will start by flushing the mouth and face to remove any residual toxin. After that, he’ll administer medications and supportive care based on the symptoms he observes. Treatment may include IV fluids and drugs to manage seizures, heart rhythms, and nausea.

How Long Will it Take for My Dog to Recover from X Poisoning?

The prognosis for recovery depends on the type of frog or toad, how much of the toxin your dog ingested, his body size, and how quickly you seek treatment. Rapid decontamination and supportive care are essential for a promising outcome. If a dog survives the poisoning, there are usually no long-term effects. 

The recovery period depends on the effects of the poison and the timeliness of treatment. If your doctor performs surgery to remove any frog, the recovery period will be 4-6 weeks.

The prognosis and recovery depend on the species of frog and the amount of toxin your pup ingested. Early treatment and decontamination improve the prognosis. If your veterinarian has to surgically remove frog remains, the recovery will be 4-6 weeks. 

The Final Woof

Some frogs are toxic to dogs. Ranids that eat alkaloid-containing invertebrates isolate and store the chemicals in glands under the skin. Then they secrete them to defend against predators. If your dog eats a poisonous frog, the toxins primarily affect the nervous and cardiovascular systems with deadly results.

If your dog eats a frog, try to eliminate traces of the toxin and take him to the vet if you notice any signs of poisoning. Early treatment improves the prognosis. Your vet will provide treatment based on the symptoms he observes. Recovery and prognosis depend on the type of frog, the amount of toxin ingested, the effects of the poison, and the rapidity of treatment. 

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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