My Dog Ate A Lizard! What Should I Do?

By John Martin - September 25, 2022

Green lizard on leaf

Imagine failing at trying to exterminate lizards from your home and one day, your dog eats them. It is common for dogs to eat lizards and small frogs.

To them, it is just another small animal they can play with. Especially in the warmer months, and if you have a dog that has a massive prey drive, it gets very common.

But is it toxic and poisonous for your dog if it ingests the lizard? Keep reading to find out and figure out what you should do about it.

Are Lizards Poisonous?

Most incidents where your dog eats a lizard pass without any issues arising. But there are some cases when it could lead to:

  • Bites inside your dog’s mouth
  • Infections and poisoning due to swallowing
  • Bacterial infections
  • Lethargy and a loss of appetite

These are instances, just to name a few. Did you know that dogs and cats are the most common animals that owners seek help for poisoning?

You are lucky if you spotted your dog eating the lizard and noticed what kind it was.

This can help you gauge if the lizard is poisonous or just a house lizard. Salamanders and newts, on the other hand, are quite toxic and give off poisons from their skin.

If you can make your dog spit out the lizard and retch out any toxins secreted, you are good to go. Even in such cases, it is best to take them to a vet for a check-up.

If your dog has swallowed the lizard or bitten into it, you won’t know what species the lizard was or how toxic it could be.

In such cases, the best you can do is watch for symptoms and try to find a cure at the earliest if you find unusual behavior.

Which Lizards Are Generally Poisonous?

It depends upon which part of the world you reside in. If you belong close to the Southwestern deserts of the US, you must be aware of the Gila Monster.

If you are near Florida, you would know about the subtropical monitor lizards that roam about. It is also common for salamanders and blue-tailed skinks to harm your pet.

These lizards carry venom in their bite and secrete poisons on their skin. They have the power to kill small dogs and cats if they are preyed on.

If your dog has eaten a common house lizard, it is not so scary. But if the lizard carries a liver fluke or your dog ate a toad that carries parasites, you might have to reconsider.

Another animal to be aware of is the Cane Toad. These toads are said to lay eggs that have a high concentration of poison.

It could result in respiratory issues or neurological ones for your dog. Take immediate steps if your dog eats such a toad or if your dog eats an egg (especially an entire big one).

What Symptoms Do I Look Out For?

If your dog is acting lazy and tired all the time, it might be a cause for concern. It could also be reflected through a loss of appetite or excessive thirst.

Even if your dog is drooling more than usual or displaying erratic movements, you should take them for a consultation.

Other symptoms could include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Hyperactivity or erratic movements
  • Muscle tremors or crossed eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upsets
  • Swollen lymph nodes (in the case of very poisonous lizards)
  • Pale or yellow gums

If you notice these stages setting in, you should visit your vet. It isn’t likely that a lizard could cause anything fatal for your pet.

Get that out of your mind if you have a full-grown dog. But try to be extra careful if you have just brought home the dog or it is still a puppy.

These are symptoms considering your dog has eaten a common lizard or a mildly toxic one. There are worse diseases and health issues possible depending on the lizard eaten.

What Are The Worst Cases I Should Be Aware Of?

To be honest, dogs have a lot of acid in their stomachs and can get away with a lot of things that could make us sick.

They chew on socks, used napkins, and even poop that is lying on the street while you are taking them for a walk! How much more dangerous could a house lizard be?

The reason it is recommended to visit a vet is owing to the more severe cases that might arise. Your dog could have eaten a poisonous lizard or one that carries a disease.

Read on for some common health concerns that you should be aware of.

Salmonella

If the lizard your dog ate carries salmonella, it might get passed on to your dog if it is ingested. This could be a serious problem if your dog is already sick or has health issues.

In such cases, the worst that could happen is your dog experiencing a rapid heart rate or shock. Full-grown dogs might not have fatal issues, but it is better to stay safe.

This could require immediate treatment, especially if your dog has pre-existing health concerns.

Bites And Internal Bleeding In Their Mouths

Lizards, like any other small animal that is being preyed on, tend to fight back. There is one concern about your dog biting and swallowing the lizard.

But there is another concern about the lizard biting back your dog while it is inside its mouth. It could lead to bites inside the dog’s mouth and internal bleeding due to cuts.

Your dog will face some serious discomfort due to it and might find it hard to eat properly for a few days. It might result in swelling even if the bites are not venomous.

Speaking of venomous, try to find out what species of lizard your dog ate. If it is a monitor lizard, their bites have venom that could potentially harm your dog.

Intestinal Blockages

Very small animals and lizards might block your dog’s digestive system. This is because they get stuck in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

Not just lizards, but these blockages could happen even if your dog swallows a small toy or a paper clip. It could occur if your dog swallowed the lizard without chewing on it.

Why is this dangerous? Because any obstructions to your dog’s digestive system could lead to a loss of appetite and intestinal obstructions could be fatal.

Your dog might not be affected due to a bite from a monitor lizard. But if he is starving and not able to swallow properly for days, it could be another story.

How Do I Prevent Such Cases From Occurring?

The best solution is a watchful eye and extreme care. Observe your dog and if it is showing any unusual symptoms.

Add nets or close your windows to prevent any lizards from entering your home. Keep an eagle eye on what lizards sneak into your home when the doors are open.

Have exterminators frequently check if there are lizards or cockroaches at home before your pooch has a chance to pounce on them.

If your area has a lot of lizards, never let your dog cross your fence without you, and take them out with a tight leash around them.

Despite taking so much care, you will never know what your pet is up to at odd hours or when you are not watching. Hence, take them to the vet whenever possible for a test.

Also Read: Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?

Summing Up

It is fine if your dog eats a lizard provided it is a common one with no venom. You could call it off as a bad day for the lizard or an overenthusiastic adventure for your dog.

But there are rare occasions when your dog could swallow a poisonous lizard. Or swallow a small lizard without chewing it.

There are also cases when the lizard bites the dog inside its mouth or carries some poisonous diseases that get passed onto your pooch.

In such instances, it is best to be prepared and take your dog to the vet. Even if you haven’t seen your dog eating anything suspicious, it is best to check for symptoms.

If they seem more lethargic than usual, aren’t eating their meals properly, or display any changes in behavior, it is best you get them checked and get them some meds.

In any case, keep a close eye on your dog the next time it ventures out of doors. And try to find out if there are any lizards around your house that you should be aware of.