My Dog Ate a Frog

Yes, he did. Last year. I know how unbelievable that sounds, but apparently dogs do it all the time. Or at least that’s the conclusion I came to, after I checked the internet for things-to-do-when-your-dog-eats-a-frog, (without any hopes of success, because seriously, which dog would be foolish enough to eat a frog?) and found out that dogs are less intelligent than I give them credit for. Hunting frogs–like chasing squirrels or begging for treats–seems to be a universal trait in dogs irrespective of their country or breed.

But back to my story. Sherlock tries to catch frogs (or toads. Also squirrels and lizards and rats and cockroaches and ants and cats. That’s all the wildlife we’ve been exposed to so far) every night when we go out for a walk. Usually I keep him on a leash, so manage to keep him under control. That night though, I didn’t see the frog in time and by the time I could stop him, Sherlock had either let go or swallowed it whole. I thought I saw one leap away, but couldn’t be sure whether it was the same one or another since it was too dark. In the meantime, Sherlock had started licking his mouth; that was what made me thing he might have swallowed it.

I first called the animal helpline, but the guy on the other end told me only that we’d have to get my dog X-ray-ed to check whether the frog is inside or not, and even that would be done only in the morning. That was hardly helpful, so I turned to the internet. There were so many horror stories! The dogs who ate frogs (or rather, toads) had started foaming at the mouth, some vomited frog/toad-parts, and there were some stories where the dogs had died! However, the people who had written in were mostly based in USA, where a few species of poisonous toads are found. Also, the dogs who had died were small breeds. I might have been extremely insensitive but I felt relieved that I’m based in India–no poisonous varieties in my city–and that my dog is a large-sized breed.

So anyway, here’s what to do if you’re in India and your dog catches a toad/frog in his mouth (I’m inclined to think Sherlock didn’t swallow the frog after all, since he didn’t vomit it out). If your dog let the toad go, most probably he just got a small amount of mild toxin in his mouth. So he’ll be salivating excessively.

  • Wash out his mouth sideways with water. That will flush any toxins from his mouth. Similarly, if you see signs of irritations around his eye, flush that out with a lot of water. If possible, and if immediately available, use normal saline instead of tap water for the eyes.
  • I immediately gave my dog 3 pills of a homeopathic remedy, Apis Mellifica 30. It is actually used for insect stings, but since the basic principle is the same (that of countering animal toxins, and preventing any swelling or pain), I tried it anyway. I wanted to do everything I could to prevent a harmful reaction to the toxins.
  • Wait for an hour or so. If the dog swallowed the frog, that is probably how long it’ll take for him to vomit it out.

I am unable to give any first-hand advice for dogs who did in fact, swallow a frog or toad, except that if you’re in India, and unable to consult a vet, it was probably a mostly harmless frog/toad. If your dog is frothing at the mouth or vomits, just let him. He’ll get better in a few hours.


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