Florida Frenchie Owners:
Beware the Cane Toad!
Most Florida residents are well-aware of the invasive species of toad that can grow to nearly a foot in size and which spews a poisonous white fluid that can sicken people and pets alike.
The downpours this spring have resulted in larger than usual numbers of toads in multiple breeding cycles, the most recent just this week.
Some Floridians, particularly those near the Miami area, can barely walk in their yards without stepping on the toads or encountering them in near-misses.
If your Florida Frenchie has a strong prey drive – or can't resist taste-testing things they find in the yard - consider fitting them with a special basket-type muzzle meant for brachycephalic dogs. If your dog does encounter a cane toad and gets some of the toxin in his mouth, immediately and thoroughly rinse his mouth out and either call your vet or hie thee and your frogdog to the ER vet right away. Time is of the essence! Rinsing the toxin out of his mouth can buy you time to seek medical advice but might not be enough on its own to prevent illness -- or worse.
An Orlando Weekly article from March 22, citing the University of Florida, advises residents to humanely euthanize as many toads as possible. Dog owners would be wise to patrol their yards at least once a day wearing gloves and prepared to euthanize these invasive creatures. Another option is to call a trapper (https://public.myfwc.com/HGM/NWT/NWTSearch.aspx) . “If you see a cane toad, you're most definitely encouraged to destroy it. According to the University of Florida, the most humane way to euthanize a cane toad is to ‘rub or spray 20 percent benzocaine toothache gel or sunburn spray (not 5 percent lidocaine) on the toad's lower belly.’ This will apparently make it become unconscious, which at that point UF says to put it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 24-48 hours. A cold peaceful death. Just be sure to wear gloves.”
Be careful to leave ordinary, harmless toads alone! The photo below will help you identify the differences—apart from enormous size—between the cane toad and the native southern toad, a friend that consumes lots of bugs and does not poison our pets or even cause warts. Here’s a photo from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to help you correctly identify the visitors you come across.
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