Beware the Bufo

The ubiquitous Bufo toad is more than bothersome, it’s downright toxic. The lumpy, lumbering Bufo, is an invasive species that makes its appearance after it rains. Omnivores, they eat insects,lizards, frogs, other toads, small rodents, even dog food and dog poop! They start out tiny, but can grow to be so large, two hands are required to hold one. As slow as they are, any self-respecting dog can catch one, though some dogs are more interested in doing so than others. When caught, the Bufo’s defense mechanism is to exude a toxin from glands on the side of its head. Needless to say, the larger the toad, the larger the poison glands.

Exposure to this toxin can cause your dog to foam, drool, shake his head, paw at his mouth, have seizures, convulsions, even cardiac arrest. One client described a sad scene to me, “ I let Sammy out in the yard. When she didn’t come to
the door to get in, I went to find her. She was lying on the ground unconscious next to two enormous Bufo toads- each the size of a tissue box! One was sitting there, and the other, was torn to shreds.” Sammy did not survive her encounter.

There is no known repellent. The only way to get rid of Bufos is to physically remove them and to eliminate any food source. Their favorite nocturnal hang-outs are near outdoor lights that attract bugs. Catching them regularly prevents them from growing larger and from breeding on your property. If your dog catches a Bufo, hose his mouth out sideways, so as not to get water into his lungs.

Then take a wet paper towel and wipe his face, mouth, and palate. Call your veterinarian for further instructions. The closest emergency vet should already be programmed into your GPS. Dogs treated by a veterinarian within 30 minutes of exposure have a better prognosis.