Living in the desert presents many dangers to our pets that are not seen in other parts of the country. As pet owners, we have to protect our pets from rattlesnakes, coyotes, javelinas, bobcats…and toads? You don’t often associate toads with the desert, but encounters with the Colorado River Toad, also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad, can be fatal.
During monsoon season, Colorado River Toads are alerted by thunder that it is time to mate. They may emerge a month or more before the rains start. They burrow out of the ground and can enter enclosed yards and even dog doors.
These toads release poison through their skin to protect them from predators. Dogs most often become poisoned by licking the toad or picking it up with their mouth. Colorado River Toads like the moisture of standing water, and if your dog drinks from water a toad has been sitting in, they can also become poisoned that way. The poison will cause your pet severe, immediate drooling that often looks like foam. Their gums will also turn a dark shade of red and they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and seizures.
The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) offers valuable and potentially life-saving Colorado River Toad Avoidance Training classes. Each class gives dogs the necessary training to help prevent an expensive and potentially deadly encounter with a Colorado River Toad.
During monsoon season, make sure to check your yard regularly and remove any standing water. If your dog is showing signs of toad poisoning, rinse their mouth out for several minutes using a garden hose or a handheld sprayer from the sink or shower and contact your veterinarian immediately!
Have you ever found a Colorado River Toad in your yard? What did you do? Let us know in the comments below!