Are Frogs Poisonous To Dogs or Cats?

pet tree frog — Australian green species
© Sophie

Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Updated: October 25, 2023

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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.


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/

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.


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.

© 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 if they start to develop any symptoms.

Are Frogs in My Yard Poisonous?

World's Scariest Animal: Golden Poisonous Dart Frog

The indigenous Emberá people of Colombia have used the powerful venom of the Golden

Poison Dart Frog

for centuries to tip their blowgun darts when hunting, hence the species’ name.


Frogs that are brightly colored or have unique skin patterns are typically the amphibians that are poisonous and the ones that you should be careful of. These colors and patterns are theorized to be a warning to others to keep away. In addition to the pickerel frog mentioned earlier, which is prevalent in areas of the United States and Canada, there are several other frog species that display these characteristics:

  • Poison dart frog – found in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America
  • Golden poison frog – found in a small region of Columbia

While not all frogs in your yard are poisonous, if they fall into this category, they are more than likely harmful to not only your pets but to you as well. Frogs generally do not venture into areas that aren’t part of their regular habitat and if you don’t reside in the area that sees these species listed, odds are, the ones in your yard pose no threat but as a precaution, you should keep your pets away and should avoid handling any animals you aren’t familiar with.

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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