Published: May 23, 2012 11:25 PM EDT
Updated: May 23, 2012 11:55 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A Fort Myers family almost lost their beloved pet after it was poisoned by a toad. Poisonings like this one are on the rise this year. 

"My wife knocked it out of her mouth, but it was too late," said the dog's owner Phil Benjamin.

A bufo toad had already poisoned little Goldie. As the toxin raced through her small 12-pound body, Benjamin rushed his pet to the Florida Veterinary Referral Center in Estero. 

Veterinarian Josh Parra has treated five other dogs who have been poisoned by the bufo toads in just the last three weeks.

"The most important thing to do is rinse the mouth very well and as quickly as you can," he said.

The non-native toads were brought here from Puerto Rico in the 1930's to fight off bugs by the sugar canes. Today, they're over-running backyards and preying on pets like Goldie.

"It is a very harrowing experience," said Benjamin.

Here are some tips you need to know to keep your pet safe from bufo toads:

-Keep your dog on a leash at all times.

-If you walk your dog at night, use a flashlight.

-Toads like to eat dog food, so don't leave dog food outside.