Keep Your Pets’ Safety in Mind This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving—it’s a time for falling leaves, family gatherings and plenty of turkey and dressing—but the holiday is not always a festive time your  pets.   You need to think of your four-legged family members’ safety when planning Thanksgiving activities this year.

Simple holiday traditions, such as hosting a Thanksgiving feast for friends and family, can pose potential problems to pets if not monitored carefully.  Fortunately, there are simple precautions pet owners can take to help promote a safe and happy holiday for pets and humans alike.”

1. Know which treats are “off-limits.” Food is a culprit for some of the most common holiday pet emergencies, so know which foods are off-limits for your pets, and make it clear to any guests. Holiday treats—such as rich, fatty scraps; bones from pork and poultry; alcoholic beverages; chocolate; and other sweets and candies—can be harmful or toxic to pets. Some of these foods have been linked to pancreatitis in pets.  Signs and symptoms of an inflamed pancreas include vomiting and abdominal pain, and severe pancreatitis requires emergency medical care and treatment. Other dangerous substances for pets include the sugar substitute xylitol, bread dough and onions. If a pet ingests any potentially harmful product, call a veterinarian or a local emergency animal

Safe at Thanksgiving

Keeping Safe at Thanksgiving

hospital immediately.

2. Put holiday decorations out of pets’ reach. Will you be decorating your home with cornucopias, pine cones, plants, lights or other festive décor this Thanksgiving? Or will you put up a Christmas tree or other holiday decorations following the Thanksgiving feast? Be sure to keep out of pets’ reach any decorations that could be harmful if chewed on or ingested.

3. Provide a safe space for pets. For pets that are easily frightened or not used to being around a lot of people, Thanksgiving can be an especially stressful time. If guests will be at your home, make sure you have a room set aside where your pet can relax with favorite toys and will not be disturbed. It is also important to make sure your pet is wearing an identification tag with your name and current contact information, in case he or she slips out the door as guests come and go. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet.

Following these steps will ensure that you, your family, your friends AND your pets will have an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving.

Announcing Our New Service – ‘Cage Free In-Our-Home Dog Boarding”

Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services is happy to announce our new dog boarding service.  We specialize in small dogs, under 30 pounds, with only one pet family at a time.  Why send your dog to a boarding kennel where they will spend their time in a small enclosure and only let out for a run, when they can come to us instead and be treated like royalty! Our home dog boarding service will welcome your dog into our dog friendly home where they will be cared for as part of the family, with plenty of love, cuddles, walks, and attention.  During your dogs home boarding they will enjoy the use of our fully enclosed backyard and also have at least 2 walks per day.  

We do have our own resident dogs “Pookie” and “Pepper”  who are 9 pounds Pomeranians.  They are great with other dogs so providing your dog is okay around other dogs too and you’re happy for your dog to board with ours then please get in touch!

All dogs are required to show proof of vaccinations for Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, and Bordetella. Puppies must be 10 days past their final round of distemper/Parvo Vacccinations before we accept them for boarding. Vaccinations must be given no less than 7 days prior to boarding.  They are also required to be up to date on flea prevention.

  • We Strive to keep a healthy and clean atmosphere.
  • Safety and fun are our number one priority.
  • Our goal is for your dog to have a fun, stress free vacation away from home. 

We suggest that you bring anything that makes your dog feel right at home. Some suggestions would be to bring his crate or bed, bowls, food, collar and leash, treats and toys.

  • Boarding Service is $40 daily for one dog and $20 daily for each additional dog.
  • Drop off time: Preferably before 11:00am
  •  Pick up: Before 11:00am or another daily fee will be added.
  • We try to be flexible with drop off and pick up times to allow our clients to have a stress free experience as well.

Coddled Critters does NOT do forced crating.  If you prefer crating for your pup, we can accommodate your request. We have a “free roam” home, but can separate dogs, if needed.

We’re sorry, we cannot accommodate large, high-prey or high-energy dogs in our home.



How can I tell if my pet is in pain?

A pet in pain is clearly a situation that is going to distress pet owners. I generally find that there are a lot of misconceptions about pain in our pets. The most misleading of these is that if your pet is in pain it will somehow be obvious, because your pet will be crying out, whining or making some sort of noise.

Usually this is not the case. Animals in extreme pain do sometimes make a noise, like a distressed yelp or howl if in extreme pain, like a cat has a broken leg after a car accident or a dog has a ruptured spinal disc.

Hopefully, this article will give you a few ideas on how to detect whether your pet is in pain before it gets too severe. The main things to look out for are changes in behaviour, changes in movement and changes in eating or drinking.


Is your pet in pain?

Changes in behavior

Changes in behaviour

Has your pet suddenly become more aggressive? Is she less tolerant of you or family members?

Chronic pain makes us irritable and it is safe to assume that the same is true of our pets. Pets in pain may also be feeling anxious, feel that they cannot get the peace and quiet that they need and feel less able to ‘defend’ themselves. They may also fear being handled or approached, anticipating that such handling is going to touch their sore spot. All of these worries may manifest as a usually placid pet becoming grumpy or a grumpy one becoming even less approachable.

There are, of course, other reasons as to why a pet may suddenly become more aggressive but in my experience pain is one of the most common reasons, so book an appointment with your vet to see if you can unravel the problem.


Withdrawal, lack of interest, lack of activity

Pets that are in pain try to rest and will move as little as possible to minimise pain. This is true of most types of pain, not just limb pain. Pets with chronic tooth pain, tummy ache, neck or back pain will all be less active. They often spend increasing amounts of time sleeping and less time playing and pestering you for treats, cuddles, walks or games. Quite often a decline in activity is put down to age but with age comes an increasing likelihood of arthritis, dental problems and chest problems. These are all treatable; don’t let her suffer in silence.  An older pet can still be a fit, healthy pet.

Sometimes a decline in activity can be difficult to detect, especially in cats that seem to spend a lot of time asleep anyway! You need to look for subtle clues. Does your cat no longer come to greet you when it normally would?  Does it sleep in a different spot?  

Don’t be misled by the fact that your dog is still happy to go on its walks, so if they are suffering chronic pain, for example from bad teeth or arthritis they will still bounce around and look excited. They may take the walk a little more slowly or be less inclined to play. These are the subtle signs you need to look out for that will tell you that your dog may be in pain.


Is your pet in pain?

Lack of interest or activity



Changes in movement

It is usually quite obvious if your pet is limping. If your pet is limping, in the vast majority of cases it will be because that leg is painful. He doesn’t want to put any weight on it. I have examined dogs and cats with broken limbs that make a minimum of fuss when examined. This is not because they are not experiencing pain.

Some pets are trying to hide their symptoms because they don’t want to show any sign of vulnerability; maybe you have been exasperated by a cat that’s been limping for days that walks normally in the vet’s office and jumps on and off the table as if to show you up?  At the vet your pet is suddenly more concerned about the different smells and different people, their pain suddenly becomes less significant.  Less obvious is a change in the way your pet moves. Some conditions affect more than one leg, and some conditions move from one leg to another. Any change in gait can be a sign that your pet has painful limbs, joints or spine.

If your pet cannot do the things that last week it seemed to do easily – then it is likely to have pain somewhere. Joint and muscle problems are very common and usually easily treated so make an appointment to see your vet.


Changes in eating/drinking

I often show people their pet’s teeth that are smelly, loose, infected and even falling out. They seem surprised when I tell them that they are likely to be causing their pet pain. 

Animals that feel sick, nauseous or are running a temperature don’t feel hungry so they don’t eat. Animals that have toothache still feel hungry, they find a way of working around the pain. Very often when the teeth are cleaned up, owners remark how much more lively and engaged their pets are.
Cats will not eat if they have an infected mouth or severely infected gums. Both of these conditions could be put into the extreme pain category and need to be treated urgently.

Unexplained shaking or trembling can be a sign of pain.  In my experience it often turns out to be colic or gut pain. Occassionally excessive panting can be a sign of pain but generally animals in pain don’t pant because it involves a lot of body movement.

If you suspect your pet is in pain don’t panic but do make an appointment to visit your vet.


Your Dog Barks All the Time but What Is She Saying?

Your Dog Barks All the Time but What is She Saying?

Your Dog Barks All the Time but What is She Saying?

Your Dog Barks All the Time but What Is She Saying?

Many pet owners can distinguish meaning from their dog’s various barks. One bark may be used when your dog is excited, like when you come home, another when your dog senses a threat and another when she’s feeling playful.

To the research world, however, it’s been suggested that dog barking, which can sometimes continue at length even in the seeming absence of a reply, is mostly just noise.

This sentiment began to change in light of research on other animal vocalizations. These other animals, like chickens, make different sounds for attention, food, warning about predators, distinguishing between flying or ground-based predators, etc. If chickens have a complex language, then why not dogs? Even longer communications that seem to elicit no direct responses, like barking may be misunderstood.

Studies have demonstrated that ground squirrels listening to long vocalizations from other ground squirrels change their activity and body postures in response. Even wolves may howl for hours on end, and it’s unlikely this is done with no purpose.

Dogs Produce Different Bark Subtypes

The late Dr. Yin, an applied animal behaviorist, explored the hypothesis that dogs bark differently in different contexts, essentially producing a variety of bark subtypes that may act as specific forms of communication.

She recorded 10 barking dogs in three different situations and found each could, in fact, be categorized into a subtype:

A disturbance situation: Dogs barking at the sound of a doorbell had harsh, low-pitched barks with little pitch variation. Dr. Yin stated “Dogs blurted these barks out full force and so fast that they were often fused into what I formally dubbed ‘superbarks.’

An isolation situation: When dogs were locked outside, isolated from their owners, they used higher pitched, more tonal barks that varied in pitch and amplitude.

Usually, they occurred as single barks, but some dogs definitely learned to bark more repetitively when doing so eventually reunited them with their owner.

A play situation: Barking that occurred when dogs were playing with their owners or other dogs were similar to isolation barks but tended to occur in clusters, not singly.

The subtypes were revealed via careful analysis of more than 600 recorded barks. Dr. Yin used a sound-analysis program to convert the audio recordings into visual representations of pitch and amplitude over time.

Dogs Can Be Identified by Their Barks

Another intriguing aspect of the study related to identifying individual dogs according to their bark. It turned out that this is indeed possible, but if you’re the owner of multiple dogs, you probably knew this already.

Not only can you likely determine which of your dogs is barking at any given time without actually seeing them, if you pay attention you should also be able to identify which one of your neighbors’ dogs is barking solely by the sound.

In addition, the study revealed that since bark subtypes tend to occur in different contexts, barking can provide specific information to listeners. For instance, your dog may have a specific bark to alert you of an intruder and another to tell you that a familiar friend is at the door.

He may also use different sounds, huffs, for instance, depending on the urgency of his requests, such as to be let in or outside.

Your Dog Barks All the Time but What is She Saying?

Your Dog Barks All the Time but What is She Saying?

Are Your Dog’s Barks a Form of Communication?
Again, most dog owners would quickly say, “yes,” but in terms of science, for a vocalization to be communication, the animal who hears the signal must respond in a specific way. At least one study on dogs in Italy suggests this is the case. When small groups of feral dogs heard the collective barks of a large group of feral dogs heading toward a garbage dump, the smaller groups left the area, presumably rather than staying to challenge the other dogs.

In order for vocalizations to be communication, it’s also said that the vocalizer should change her tune in response to her listeners reactions.

When one dog barks at the doorbell and another dog, or even the resident human, joins in a barky ‘No! No!, the dog responds with louder and more prolonged bark behavior. Take away his back-up and suddenly, the initial barking bout abates.”

A Universal Animal Language

Some researchers have also suggested that a universal animal language unites all mammals, even humans, to some extent. In a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, for instance, researchers found both adults and children could easily identify fearful/lonely, angry and playful dog barks. Even people who had little experience with dogs were able to correctly interpret a dog’s emotional state based on its bark. It’s possible that all mammals are genetically wired to make and interpret similar sounds in response to certain emotions.
It’s also possible that humans preferred dogs with more interpretable barks, and this trait was selected for over time. The end result may be that dogs are able to easily communicate different emotions to us via their barks and they, in turn, are able to pick up on our emotions as well.

Canine Myths and Old Wives Tales Debunked

Canine Myths and Old Wives Tales Debunked

It always amazes me when I talk with a dog owner who is still clinging to certain myths or old wives’ tales about their canine companion. Much of it is just silly and harmless, but some tall tales about dogs’ nature can prevent pet owners from providing proper care to their canine companions.

Here are four dog myths that deserve debunking…..

1. Myth – Your dog’s mouth is cleaner than the average human’s.

Myth debunked – I don’t know how this one got started, but … really? Dogs’ mouths are overflowing with all kinds of bacteria. Your dog uses his mouth to do many of the same things you do with your hands, right before washing them. Dogs also lick their butts, sniff the rear-ends of other pets, sample poop, pick up dead animals, shove their noses into dirt, lick shoes, chew on socks and underwear, well, you get the idea. I’m not saying you should push your dog away when he tries to lick you, because honestly, what’s better than puppy kisses? I’m just saying your pet’s mouth might at times have really harmful bacteria, so it’s a good idea after a slobbery pooch smooch to wash well with soap and water.

2. Myth – Dogs have naturally stinky breath

Myth debunked – First of all, anyone who thinks a dog’s breath should be minty fresh is in denial. Healthy doggy breath doesn’t smell like human breath, but it shouldn’t be offensive. Hands down the most common reason for stinky dog breath is a problem with the teeth or gums. The most common reason for these problems is lack of home dental care. It doesn’t make much sense to expect a dog whose teeth are rarely or never brushed to have fresh breath, does it. Since GI disorders and other health problems also sometimes cause bad breath, if your dog’s mouth is clean but his breath is still stinky, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

3. Myth – Dogs have a guilty look



Myth debunked – Many dogs have facial expressions that look a whole lot like guilt to us, but according to canine behaviorists, that look, you know the one, lowered head, ears back, pleading eyes is simply your dog’s reaction to the hissy fit you’re throwing over something he did earlier. In one of the first studies on dogs and feelings of guilt and shame, canine behavorists observed that the dogs assumed the look most often when their owners scolded them, regardless of whether or not they had disobeyed.  In fact, the dogs reacted more to a scolding when they had behaved themselves than when they were disobedient. According to the canine behavorists, the dogs weren’t displaying guilt, but a reaction to the owner’s tone of voice. However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that dogs may feel guilt, but simply points out that the look isn’t an indication of it.

4. Myth – Dogs eat grass only when they feel sick

Dog Earring Grass

Dog Eating Grass

Myth debunked – If your otherwise healthy, well-nourished dog nibbles on selected grass once in awhile, there’s not much cause for concern. Dogs who selectively choose grasses to nibble on may be seeking out specific nutrients, as many grasses are high in potassium, phytonutrients and enzymes or looking for a natural source of fiber.  

However, if your dog is frantically eating the first patch of grass she finds, it could mean a GI problem is brewing. Dogs with gastric intestinal issues instinctively search for natural remedies for the upset stomach, and grass often does the trick, not to mention it’s usually easy to find. There’s something about the texture of grass that triggers vomiting or a bowel movement in many dogs, which relieves discomfort. But if your dog’s grass eating is chronic and especially if it causes him to vomit frequently, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

In the meantime, upgrade your dog’s diet if he’s still eating kibble or any non-human grade commercial dog food. Most healthy dogs fed a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet don’t eat grass because they receive all the nourishment their bodies need from their food, and rarely suffer from digestive issues caused from food. If you’re sure your dog is receiving optimal nutrition from a species-appropriate diet but he still eats a lot of grass, consider growing your own sprouts. Sprouts can provide an easy, inexpensive source of fresh, live, organic vegetation and are more nutritious for your dog than grass.  


Coddled Critters has resumed Overnight Pet Care

Coddled Critters Pet Services is pleased to announce we have resumed offering Overnight Pet Care.  After a short interlude, we have received so many requests from clients and potential clients for this service, it made good business sense to offer it again.  Hours are 7pm to 7am and the cost is $100.  If you prefer different hours, please contact Coddled Critters at 727-424-5341 and we will be happy to work with your specific requirements.  At Coddled Critters, our aim is please.  Below is an outline of our Overnight Service:

Services are individually customized for you and your pets.  We come to your home and stay to keep your pets in the comfort of their own surroundings instead of your best friend being alone all night or in a kennel.

Keeping your pets relaxed and happy and in their regular routines while you’re away is our top priority.  Do your pets snuggle in bed with you?  Then they’ll be snuggling in bed with us too!  Do they need that late night, middle of the night and early morning potty?  No problem – that’s why we’re there.  As a bonus, your home will be more secure and have a lived-in look!

Our overnight service is great for multiple pet households, puppies, late night barkers, crated dogs and older dogs that need medications and/or frequent potty breaks.

Benefits of in-home overnight care:

  • Your house isn’t sitting empty, targeting burglars
  • We are there overnight to handle any medical emergency
  • No small, cramped kennel cage
  • No loud, continuous barking in a kennel
  • Not exposed to any illnesses from unknown dogs
  • Your dog gets one on one attention unlike a kennel stay
  • You don’t have to pay an extra night’s stay because the kennel has limited pick-up times.


How Do I Keep My Dog Cool in Summer?

Keeping Your Dog Cool in St. Petersburg, FL

Photo Courtesy of of WIKIMEDI

We are having a sweltering summer here in St. Petersburg, FL and Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services would like to give you some tips on keeping your dog cool and comfortable.

Did you know that your dog only has sweat glands on their paw pads so they can’t sweat the same way we do?  Yes, they do lose heat through evaporation by panting.  Panting moves air from the hot internal body core to the outside and increases airflow over the surface area of the moist tongue, throat and windpipe. 

Panting, and the necessary increased salivation to keep the tongue and airways moist, leads to massive fluid loss which if not replaced can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can lead to heatstroke, so make sure your dog always has access to fresh drinking water.


Plug the small hole of a Kong with cream cheese or peanut butter, and then place it in a plastic cup or carton, with the large hole facing upwards. Fill with chicken, beef or lamb stock, leave to cool and then freeze. When it’s frozen, give it to your dog, although it’s best eaten outdoors. You could also stuff a Kong with canned food and freeze it.

Keeping Your Dog Cool in St. Petersburg, FL

I love my Ice Cream!

Make some doggy ice cream. Mash a banana with low or fat-free yogurt and add runny honey to taste. Pop it in the freezer — put a scoop in your dog’s bowl as a special treat. Alternatively, spoon the unfrozen mixture into a Kong and then freeze it.

Many dogs enjoy crunching ice cubes.  For added interest, make up a batch flavored with meat stock, or place a strawberry, raspberry or slice of banana into each compartment of an ice cube tray before filling with water and freezing.


If you live in St. Petersburg or any of our surrounding communities, you probably have air conditioning, so obviously keeping your dog in the house is a solution. 

If your dog has access to the outside through a doggy door, keep it locked between 11:00am and 3:00pm when the sin is at its hottest.


Obviously we will have the air conditioning on.  Make sure you have drinking water.  A traveling bowl will prevent spills.  Remember, water you have left in your car will heat up quickly, so replace with cool water before starting off again.

NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR!!  Even on a 72-degree day outside, the temperature inside the car can rise to 116 quickly, even with the windows cracked open.  In the enclosed space of a car, humidity builds up quickly and panting becomes less effective. Overcast days can be just as dangerous; hazy sunshine is still sufficient to send internal car temperatures soaring, and cloud cover can clear unexpectedly and rapidly.

On extremely hot days, leave your dog at home.  Even with the air conditioning keeping the car cool, your dog will still have to cope with the heat outside at your destination. And if you get stuck in a traffic jam, or break down, it could turn into a nightmare.

If your dog travels in a crate, put a heat-reflective sheet over the top to shade it. Keep watch, as you may be much cooler in the front than he is at the very back of your car.


You could buy him a pool to splash in and out of.  One of the rigid kiddie pools is perfect.  He may like a cooling mat to lie on (available at most per stores), or a special bandanna containing water-absorbing crystals so it stays wet and cool for longer. 

There are also heat reflective coats and jackets available with panels filled with water-absorbing crystals, or you can pop an ordinary doggy T-shirt on your dog and wet it with water.


Keeping Your Dog Cool in St. Petersburg, FL

A kiddy pool is a cooling and fun thing for your dog

Don’t take your dog out during the hottest parts of the day.   Go for a walk when it’s cooler in the early morning and late in the evening. Woodland walks tend to be cooler than open areas.  And always carry a supply of drinking water and a portable bowl.  Encourage your dog to take things steadily and not run around.  Don’t throw toys or anything else that would encourage him to run and retrieve.  Swimming can be a fun way of cooling off, but I recommend a pool rather than a lake or river because of the abundance of alligators in our waters. 

Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services recently wrote about how to keep your pets safe from alligators.  You can read it here:





Rescue a pet locked in a hot car without being arrested

Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services wanted to know how we can rescue pets locked in hot cars without getting arrested.  Here’s what we found…

Rescue pets in hot cars without getting arrested.

Rescue pets in hot cares without getting arrested.

Most pet owners know not to leave their pets locked inside a hot car during the summer, or here in Florida, any time of the year; however, that doesn’t stop many people from doing it. But a new law in Florida gives random passersby the authority to smash a window in order save dogs in hot cars.

This year, Florida passed a law allowing any good Samaritan to “use reasonable force” to rescue dogs in hot cars without being held liable for the damages. After the dog has been rescued, the pet owner could then face criminal charges.

So, in simple language, here’s what you need to know before smashing someone’s car window to rescue a stranger’s pet:

Florida defines a domestic animal as a dog, cat, or other animal that is domesticated and may be kept as a household pet. The term does not include livestock or other farm animals. [Read more…]

Alligators – Keeping Your Pet Safe

Alligators - Keeping Your Pet Safe

Alligators – Keeping Your Pet Safe

As you know, I am a native Floridian and have been around alligators my entire life and I want to give you a few tips on keeping your pet safe.  Alligators will and do eat pets. If you live in Pinellas County, or anywhere

else in Florida, alligators occupy every body of fresh water in the state.

Alligators Generally Avoid Humans

Human-alligator encounters do happen, as you well know from recent news accounts.  Although some years do not see any fatal attacks, other years have seen many. These numbers appear low in comparison to many other deadly animal encounters. This may be due to the alligator being primarily water-bound. 

Safe Distance

Local Florida wisdom tells that one should stay at least twenty to thirty feet from the water to be safe from an alligator attack. Some suggest greater distances, up to 60 feet. Alligator experts say that alligators will most often try to avoid contact with humans. This is not true of smaller animals, especially dogs and cats. Alligators see these animals as potential meals. Every now and then, a pet goes missing and is never seen again. Though the cause of death in such cases is a mystery, alligators are usually to blame. Some pet owners are not so lucky however; being on-scene when an alligator attacks and eats their pet.

Control Your Pet

Your pet cannot be expected to know what is best. It is up to you, the pet parent to take precautions. Keeping your pets away from waters that contain alligators is simple. If you’re walking near a body of water, keep a safe distance – 20 to 30 feet or more from the water.  We have a leash law in Pinellas County but if you happen to be visiting an area that allows off leash dogs, be aware the only protection your pet has is a mere growth of cattails or weeds along the bank and you would be wise to keep your pet on a leash if there is water nearby.

Coddled Critters’ Alligator Do’s and Dont’s

  • Never feed alligators. It’s dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food.


  • Dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at boat ramps and fish camps. Do not throw them in the water.


  • Be aware of alligators when you are near fresh or brackish water. Be aware of your surroundings.


  • Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Avoid wading or swimming after dark or at dusk and dawn.


  • NEVER swim with your dog. Dogs attract an alligator’s interest. Dogs and cats are similar in size to an alligator’s natural prey. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that might alligators.
Dog Encounters Alligator

This could easily be your dog! Photo courtesy of Animal Wire

  • Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators. Observe and photograph alligators from a distance.

For further information about alligators in Florida, visit the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission


Bufo Toad – Protect Your Pets

Bufo Toad –

Native Floridians know the state’s wildlife can pose various challenges, especially when it comes to domestic pets. And with summer in full swing comes the challenge of keeping pets away from the poisonous Bufo toad, also known as a Marine or Cane toad.

Poisonous Bufo Toad

Bufo Toad – Protect Your Pets

This giant toad is the largest of the frogs and toads found in Florida. The Bufo Toad is not native to the United States. It was originally released in southern Florida as result of accidental release of about 100 specimens from the stock of a pet dealer at Miami airport in 1955, and by subsequent releases by pet dealers in the 1960s. These Bufo Toads are a highly predacious exotic species that will eat all types of native frogs and toads. This species is skilled at locating all types of food, they have even been known to eat pet food, according to the University of Florida Wildlife Extension.

When this non-native species is threatened or handled, it secretes a highly toxic milky substance from the large glands at the back of its head, behind the ears. This secretion can burn your eyes, may irritate your skin, and can kill cats and dogs if they ingest the secretion.

It has been our experiences here at Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services, that the symptoms of Bufo Toad poisoning in pets include drooling, head-shaking, crying, loss of coordination, and, in more serious cases, convulsions. The dog’s or cat’s gums often turn red, an indicator used by veterinarians to distinguish toad poisoning from epilepsy. For this reason, pet owners should be familiar with their pet’s normal gum color.

If you suspect toad poisoning, get a hose and run water in the side of the dog’s/cat’s mouth, pointing the animal’s head downward so water isn’t swallowed. Rub the gums and mouth to remove the toxin. This treatment is usually successful, but call your veterinarian immediately.

Bufo toads do not have any natural predators in the U.S., so if there’s one hanging around the house, it’s likely to stay there.  Florida Wildlife officials said anyone who wants to eliminate a Bufo toad from their property should consider calling a trapper. They went on to say the toads can also be humanely euthanized by putting oral pain relief gel on the its stomach, which will make it sleepy, then putting it in a bag and into the freezer.

Please visit the University of Florida Wildlife Extension for more detailed information…

Your St. Petersburg sitters at Coddled Critters hope you have a safe summer with your pets!