The Paw Pack, Adventure Dogs, Fenrir

Fenrir & The Toad

September 16, 2021

I totally have writers block this week!  I’ve been trying hard to post a lot of high quality, evergreen type content here lately.  But I still feel like I haven’t completely gotten back into the swing of things since we moved a couple of weeks ago.  Whatever the reason, my brain is just not firing on all cylinders right now and I figured, rather than trying to force myself to put out content that I don’t really feel like working on, that I’d tell you all about a funny story about when my dog, Fenrir, ‘met’ a toad.

This happened around a week or so before we moved from our old house.  You know how most pet owners have a lot of silly little nicknames for their animals?  Well my dog, Fenrir, recently earned a new nickname – Toad Bait.


There are a lot of toads around where we live.  I’m not sure if that’s common throughout the state or if, perhaps, it has to do with the fact that in both the houses we’ve lived in now we’ve been right across the street from bodies of water.  Whatever the reason, we run across multiple toads on an almost nightly bases during the warmer months.  Some of them are super small, so small that I often worry I’m going to miss seeing them and accidentally step on one.  But some of them are huge!

How FenFen Earned the Nickname “Toad Bait”

dog and toad

I’m no toad expert, but from what I can tell, the larger ones especially, seem to be territorial.  In our old house I became quite familiar with a handful of different toads and what areas around the yard they had dominion over.  There was one, for example, that lived under our old deck and would come out every night to explore my sunflower garden.

On a fateful night, some number of weeks ago now, I was outside after dark taking Kit and Fen on their ‘last call’ walk around the yard.  I remember, at the time, that I had Kit off-leash, so I was paying a bit more attention to Kit verses Fen.  Fen was harnessed up and on his leash.  While I was watching Kitsune, Fen walked a little ways into the brush around the edge of the yard.  No big deal – Fen does this often as that’s actually his preferred bathroom spot.

A Toad Tried To Eat My Dog!

A few seconds later Fen walked back towards me and I noticed right away that he was limping.  Oh no!  It was pretty dark out, but I had a flashlight with me.  I aimed my flashlight down towards Fen’s front paw, the one he was ever so gingerly holding up, and what do I see… a giant toad dangling from Fen’s leg!  I’d say dangling from Fen’s paw, but I didn’t actually see much of Fen’s paw, what with it being inside a giant toad and all.

dog and toadThe whole thing lasted just a few seconds.  The toad struggled a bit, wriggling around in an attempt to swallow Fenrir whole, but promptly fell off Fen’s paw down into the grass.  Fen’s reaction was so hysterical.  Despite being my high energy crazy boy, he was so calm.  He just limped out of the brush towards me with his paw held up in the air, as if he was saying “hey mom look at this!”.  When the toad fell off his paw he gave it a quick sniff then watched it hop back into the brush.

And Now Fenrir is Fondly Known As “Toad Bait”.

Ah, the joys of owning small dogs.  I imagine the poor toad was probably quite hungry, and maybe mistook Fenrir’s adorable little paw for some type of small, fuzzy animal?  Who would ever think that a toad would attempt to eat a dog!?  I know everyone is going to ask if I got a picture, but sadly I didn’t.  We were just outside for a quick potty break for the boys, I didn’t bring my phone/camera with me.  Plus it was dark and, like I mentioned above, the whole event lasted a couple of seconds tops.

An Important Note About Dogs & Toads:

Even though my intent in posting this was just to tell a silly story, I wanted to add that toads, some species more so than others, actually secret toxins onto their skin.  Most species of toads that are native to the US are relatively harmless, but can cause mild symptoms such as drooling, oral irritation, and vomiting if your dog decides to bite them back.  However, there are a few species, namely cane toads and Colorado river/Sonoran desert toads that can cause life threatening symptoms if your pet ingests (bites or licks) one.  Freak encounters aside, it’s best practice to keep your pet away from wildlife.

I guess, judging by Fen’s toad encounter, that toads don’t always feel the same way about staying away from domestic pets.  Thinking about the look on little Fen’s face as he calmly presented me with his toad bitten paw, coupled with how determined the toad was to swallow an entire dog whole, just makes me laugh every time I think about it.  Oh, toads don’t have teeth by the way, so little Fenrir was not harmed at all!  Maybe I should have written that sooner.

Comment below!  We always love to hear from our readers.  Did Fen’s….excuse me, Toad Bait’s, story make you laugh?  Have any of your pets ever had a silly freak encounter with a wild animal?

dog and toad

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  • Reply Terri September 18, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Oh my goodness! This must be the week for frog encounters. Henry, my dog, went outside for his last pee break on Wednesday and found a palm size frog on the sidewalk. Most of ours are super small too. He sniffed the frog. The frog seemed un-amused. Once I saw what it was, quickly pushed Henry onto do his business. I’m glad Fen…er, Toad Bait, is okay from his encounter. Henry seems to be find too. Give yourself time. You’ll settle into your new home and get into a swing. I could totally imagine Fen’s look of his show and tell for you. Great story!

  • Reply Ruth Epstein September 18, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks for the chuckle, I am sure it was funny but really relieved he was not hurt, you are so right we need to keep our pets away from wildlife as we do not always know what they are.

  • Reply Marjorie Dawson September 18, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    You had me in fits! OH I can just imagine Fenrir!!!! Toad Bait indeed * wipes away tears of laughter *

    Sharing this with ALL my dog buddies!!!!!

  • Reply Robin September 19, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    That is too funny! That poor confused toad. I don’t have a toad story, but I do have a leaf story. My younger cat, Dexter, absolutely LOVES fallen leaves. He will get all excited when he sees the leaves falling in the fall and he has to go out and get one and bring it back in. Not as funny as your story, but it is cute to see Dexter pick up a single leaf and carry it around like it is made of gold.

  • Reply jana rade September 19, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    Fortunately, we don’t have many toads around here, and none of the toxic variety I’d be aware of. More importantly, my dog learned early that they taste icky and has no interest in them now.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack September 20, 2021 at 11:02 am

      All toads are toxic, technically, but it’s a matter of degree. Most species in the US are not deadly, although they can cause some nasty symptoms depending on how much of the toxin your dog comes into contact with. Thankfully my dogs never try to put them in their mouths either, although they do like watching them.

  • Reply Lindsay Pevny September 19, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    Oh. my. goodness. We have serious trouble getting Cow to leave toads alone, it never occurred to me that they sometimes bite back!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack September 20, 2021 at 11:04 am

      Haha right? I don’t know if that individual toad was starving or just exceptionally brave or what. Cow is an awesome name, by the way!

  • Reply Sweet Purrfections September 26, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    There’s something about toads that freaks me out and we have a lot of them here in the South. I did enjoy your story. I can just picture the scene!

  • Reply Britt K September 27, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Since moving into this house with a pool in the backyard, we’ve seen a surprising number of toads. Each time we see one, my husband or I will catch it and move it out of our fenced back yard and to an area of safety. However, they keep returning. How do I know that they keep returning? My girl Daviana is a MASTER of finding them. Luckily, they aren’t overly toxic and simply cause her to drool and froth at the mouth until we rinse her mouth out. However, I feel bad every time it happens (which is far too often because our yard is too large to keep track of all the toads that make an appearance).

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