How to Know If Your Pet Frog is Dying

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Several external symptoms can indicate if a pet frog is dying. These symptoms are similar to those of wild frogs. However, there are extra aspects you can take into account when observing if a pet frog is dying.

If your pet frog is not eating, has suddenly or gradually lost weight, is more lethargic than usual, seems disoriented, is not sloughing, has pale skin, cuts, open wounds, is not breathing or is belly up, your frog may be dying or dead.

Here are common pet frog behaviours with approximate time to death:

Frog BehaviourTime to Death
Not eating, sudden or gradual weight loss1 to 7 days
Disoriented, Lethargic1 to 4 Days
Discoloration, pale skin, skin blotches1 to 3 Days
Dead skin, not sloughing1 to 2 Days
Open wounds, red blotches on skin, bleeding0 to a few hours
Not breathing, floating, belly up0 to a few hours
Tongue hanging out, not moving, no heartbeat0

The majority of pet frogs, if healthy when first brought home and well taken care of, can live long lives from 5 to 30 years.

But a frog that is not cared for in the correct conditions can die prematurely. You may still have time to save your pet frog. So read on to find out a few things you can do to save your pet frog.

Signs a Pet Frog is Dying 

Here are some visible indicators that show a pet frog may be dying

  • Skin appears discolored
  • Ulcers (open wounds) anywhere on the frog’s body
  • Bleeding
  • Appears very lethargic
  • Appears disorientated

Here are some indicators that show a pet frog may be dead

  • Eyes are closed with no breathing movement
  • A limp body that is very close to the ground
  • Their color is dull or is turning white
  • They are not moving for a long time
  • Arms and legs are spread out on the ground
  • They are laying with their bellies up
  • Their tongue is hanging out of their mouths
  • A rotten smell is coming from them
  • Flies or maggots are on them

Before you freak out your frog is dead, make sure it is not hibernating, estivating or playing dead.

What Should You Do If Your Pet Frog is Dying

If you are worried that your pet frog is dead, dying, or sick, you should immediately call a qualified veterinarian in your area. You should also look to improve the physical conditions the pet frog is currently in if the frog is experiencing symptoms you have control over.

Pet frogs die due to illnesses, diseases, and disorders. There may still be time to save your frog if their conditions are due to their environment.

Here is a general idea of a few common pet frog behaviours and the diseases that may be involved with actions that can be taken.

Pet Frog BehaviourPossible DiseasePossible Solution
No appetite, redness, excessive sloughing, skin blotchingBacterial InfectionsRadically improve their environment
Seek veterinary help 
Dropped lower jaw, muscle twitching, bone deformitiesMetabolic Bone DiseaseGive the frog Calcium +D3 every few days
Seek veterinary help
Cloudy eyes, jumping all over, erratic behaviourToxic Out SyndromeReplace the frog’s water every few hours until symptoms disappear
Seek veterinary help
Frog is bloated, full of water, retaining waterWater Edema SyndromeSeek veterinary help
Presence of parasites or tapewormsEndoparasitesSeek veterinary help

Pet frogs are heavily affected by their living conditions. If one of the conditions is stressful instead of optimal, your pet frog may start getting sick.

You should look over your pets living conditions and ensure everything is suitable for them. Oftentimes, fixing the living conditions of your pet frog can help improve their health.

Of course, be sure to consult a qualified vet in your area before taking any action to ensure your frog effectively has the disease listed above (CTNF).

How to Prolong a Pet Frog’s Life

Unfortunately, the most common reasons pet frogs die have to do with how the environment the owner sets up for them.

Improper substrate, lighting, heating, amount of humidity, water and lack of vitamins and minerals can contribute to a pet frog dying prematurely.

So here are some key tips to help prolong your pet frog’s life:

  • Change the water daily.
  • Check nitrite and ammonia levels of the water and keep them low.
  • Only feed them live food and choose appropriate size and food type for your frog.
  • Make sure you correct and clean substrate and soil for your pet frog.

  • Make sure to keep the temperature and humidity at ideal levels for your pet frog.
  • Gutload the frog’s food to ensure it gets the vitamins and minerals it needs.
  • Make sure your frog is getting enough calcium and vitamin +D3
  • Feed the frog a low-fat diet to help avoid obesity and the frog going blind.

These are things you can control.

So if your frog is still healthy, or if you have other pet frogs that are still healthy, be sure to consult with a qualified pet frog professional or vet to ensure you are treating them with the best care possible to ensure a long life in captivity.

Taking care of frogs indoors is not that easy and poor maintenance can result in premature deaths. This is why I believe having wild pet frogs is better for the frogs and for the owners. 

What to do With a Dead Pet Frog

If your frog did not make it and passed away, do not flush it down the toilet or dispose of it in the wild directly. Many people do this but you could transmit diseases to other wildlife by doing so.

Here are some things you can do with the body if your pet frog died:

  • Burry the frog in a small shoebox in your backyard and have a small ceremony for it
  • Bring your pet frog to the vet so they can correctly dispose of it
  • Wrap the frog up in paper towel and place it in the garbage

  • If your frog had no diseases, you could bring it to a taxidermist
  • Do not flush it down the toilet
  • Do not dispose of it in the wild

More About Dying Frogs

Now you know how to tell whether a frog is dying, and not just hibernating or playing dead. Know what conditions are necessary for your pet frog and maintain them religiously.

This way your pet frog can be happy, healthy and live a long life. We have a few more guides on the topic available on our blog, check them out below:

Common Questions About Dying Pet Frogs

Why are my pet frogs dying? Your pet frog may be dying due to an inappropriate environment, illnesses, diseases, or disorders. One of the most common reasons pet frogs die is due to their environment. Therefore, ensure they have the correct temperature, humidity, water, lighting and substrate.

How do you know if a frog is dying? If your pet frog is not eating, has suddenly or gradually lost weight, is more lethargic than usual, seems disoriented, is not sloughing, has pale skin, cuts, open wounds, is not breathing or is belly up, your frog may be dying or dead.

How do you save a dying frog? Oftentimes, pet frogs die because their environment is not adapted to their needs. Therefore, to save a dying pet frog, you can ensure they have the correct environment depending on the species including the correct temperature, humidity, water, lighting and substrate.

Why is my pet frog not moving? Your pet frog may not be moving for a few reasons including natural behaviour, estivation, hibernation, sickness, or death. 

Do frogs play dead? Frogs play dead and may flop over, lay on their backs, fall from trees, float on their back or pretend they are dead if they are afraid, stressed or encounter a predator. This behaviour usually does not last long if the frog is only pretending they are dead.

How can you tell if a frog is healthy? Healthy frogs should be damp, moist, breathing, active, eating, and show no signs of sickness or unusual behaviours including blotches, bloating, unusual redness, cuts, bruises, or disorientation.

Sources

Amphibian Diseases, FrogLife

About The Author
Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.