Are Frogs Poisonous To Dogs or Cats?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: November 1, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Jennifer Sophie
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With access to the outside world, both cats and dogs are naturally curious about their surroundings and ready to explore. Because they are natural predators, they like pursuing and capturing small prey such as birds, rodents, and insects. Due to their unpredictable movement, frogs and toads are also an excellent choice for pets to chase.

However, did you know that if your dog or cat encounters a toad rather than a frog, the likelihood of something horrible happening is much higher? And you might be wondering: Are frogs poisonous to dogs or cats? Continue reading to learn which frogs are poisonous so you can keep your pet safe!

Are Frogs Poisonous To Dogs Or Cats?

American Green Tree Frog sitting in a tree
The pickerel frog and some tree frogs secrete toxins on their skin.

LorraineHudgins/Shutterstock.com

Although all frogs produce skin fluids, most of them are not poisonous to domestic pets. But this is not the case for pickerel and tree frogs. Both pickerel and tree frogs are commonly found in the United States and they are frogs poisonous to dogs and cats. They release toxins in their skin as a defense whenever they are attacked by predators. And if your dog or cat bites these frogs, the toxins can make them sick.

Pickerel Frog

Are frogs poisonous to dogs or cats- Pickerel frog
Pickerel frogs secrete host defense peptides in their skin that are toxic to dogs and cats.

Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

In the US, the Pickerel Frog is unique in that it secretes toxic host-defense peptides in its skin. Many mammals, including cats and dogs, find these secretions to be unpleasant or even deadly, although they often only mildly irritate human skin.

In most cases, your dog or cat will vomit it back up if eaten because it’s too slimy. They may experience diarrhea or other symptoms detailed below, but it’s more likely that your pet will go about their day as usual. Symptoms are not typically fatal.

Tree Frogs

The American green tree frog (Hyla cinerea) on a stick isolated
Caerulein secreted by tree frogs can cause hypersalivation and/or diarrhea in cats and dogs.

IrinaK/Shutterstock.com

The tree frog produces a toxin peptide called Caerulein on its skin. This toxin serves as a protection for this species against predators. If your dog or cat bites a tree frog, ingestion of the caerulein toxin may make your pet salivate excessively.

Tree frogs can poison cats or dogs, resulting in diarrhea. The toxin, however, isn’t strong enough to cause lasting issues or death.

Symptoms Of Severe Frog Poisoning In Dogs Or Cats Include:

The neurological system, heart, and blood arteries are the primary targets of frog toxins. It’s important to keep an eye on your pet and get them to a vet should they show any of the following symptoms:

  • Increased production of saliva
  • Howling, whimpering, or whining
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • smacking their lips together
  • Falling over or circling in place
  • Seizures

In severe cases, the toxin from a pickerel frog can cause a dog or cat to collapse, have severe convulsions, and can kill it if it isn’t treated.

What To Do If Your Dog Or Cat Has Encountered A Poisonous Frog

It’s important to give your pet a lot of water to drink if you suspect it has bitten a poisonous frog. And if your dog or cat starts to experience severe symptoms like seizures, get your pet to a vet immediately. Depending on your pet’s symptoms, the vet may administer intravenous fluids and other medications. There is no way to tell how your pet will respond and it’s not wise to wait around to find out!

How To Keep Your Dog Or Cat Away From Frogs

Cats and dogs that have access to the outdoors may hunt, kill, and consume tiny prey, including frogs. However, there are always ways to keep your pet safe from these tiny amphibians.

  • Ensure that your dog or cat does not wander too far from the property when they are out in the wild.
  • Small ponds near your home are the most likely places to find small frogs, so keep your pet away from these regions.
  • Remove any standing water sources in your immediate area, as frogs are drawn to these.
  • If you see frogs in your yard, you may want to move them to a pond nearby.

Are Frogs Poisonous To Dogs Or Cats if They are Pets?

What Do Bullfrogs Eat?
Pet frogs lose their poisonous potency when in captivity due to dietary changes.

iStock.com/William Krumpelman

Poison is rarely an issue with a pet frog. Frogs are poisonous due to their diet of ants, mites, maggots, spiders, and beetles. Even poison dart frogs are safe to keep as pets since their toxicity lowers when fed a different diet in captivity.

Therefore, it’s unlikely that anything bad will happen unless your pets get their mouths on the tree frog. However, it’s preferable to keep animals apart as much as possible because you never know how they’ll react to each other.

Bottom Line…

Are frogs poisonous to dogs and cats? Yes, at least to some degree in most cases. Some cats and dogs just pursue and play with frogs, while others inflict wounds on them to prey upon them. If your dog or cat eats one, don’t panic. Remember, most garden frogs aren’t dangerous and are okay to eat. However, if your pet eats a deadly frog, they may vomit, feel sick, and lose their appetite, so take them to the clinic if you are unsure or they start to develop any symptoms.

pet tree frog — Australian green species
These bright green frogs are some of the most popular exotic pets in the world
iStock.com/Jennifer Sophie
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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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