fbpx Skip to the content Skip to the menu

The Colorado River Toad season is upon us, and these seemingly harmless amphibians pack a dangerous punch of toxicity that can immensely harm your dog. What to know and how to keep your dog safe.

Monday, June 14th, 2021

Here in the great Southwest we have the honor of sharing a home with some incredible, but deadly, wild animals. What almost immediately comes to mind are scorpions and rattlesnakes, right? You’re not wrong, however, there is a sneaky amphibian that is almost always forgotten, but has the ability to be fatal to your dog just as easily as a rattlesnake; the Colorado River Toad (also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad). 

Dawning from the Sonoran Desert, found from Central Arizona to southwestern New Mexico  and even down in Mexico, this impressive amphibian holds the accolade as one of the largest toads native to North America. Sporting an all-over greenish-gray coloring with a cream colored belly, the Colorado River Toad is most active from the end of May into September, and is nocturnal during the hotter summer months. You can be sure of one thing when the presence of the Colorado River Toad is made known... Summer monsoons are rolling in. 

In addition to its impressive size, this monsoon mainstay also packs quite a punch of tremendously potent toxins. This toxin is their best line of defense against predators, and is expelled from numerous glands within the skin. Whether it’s an innocently curious dog or a predator looking for its next meal, the moment these toads feel threatened this toxin is released, and when I say it packs a punch, it is not an exaggeration. The toxin is more than potent enough to be fatal to even a fully grown dog. 

As we approach the summer rainy season, and the most active time for the Colorado River Toad, we encourage dog owners to be extra cautious in their outings with their dog and offer an opportunity to further protect them with the HSSA Colorado River Toad Avoidance Training classes. In these classes dogs and their owners will acquire valuable and potentially life-saving training in Colorado River Toad avoidance. Each class lasts only 15-minutes, and has the potential to prevent an expensive, painful, and potentially fatal encounter with a Colorado River Toad. 

Being proactive in protecting our dogs through training classes and understanding the dangers of the Colorado River Toad, we are enabled with the ability to respect these impressive amphibians; providing them the space they deserve in their home, and keeping our beloved dogs safe from harm. 


Information Sources

Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum | www.desertmuseum.org

ASPCA | www.aspca.org