My Dog Ate Rat Poison: What Do I Do Next? (2023)

My Dog Ate Rat Poison: What Do I Do Next? (1)

Key Points

  • Dogs that have eaten rat poison may not exhibit symptoms right away.
  • It’s important not to induce vomiting unless a poison control expert or vet encourages you to do so.
  • Different types of rodenticides require different treatments.

Your dog ate rat poison,and you need to act fast. It’s a stressful and life-threatening situation, but your quick response can help them receive the treatment they need. Here are some immediate steps you can take:

  • Remove your dog from the rat poison. Ensure they cannot reach it again by putting it in a safe area.
  • Check your dog for symptoms and assess whether they’re acting normally.
  • Call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-800-213-6680 or 855-764-7661. Prepare information about the rat poison to tell the poison expert.
  • Get in touch with your vet and, if necessary, take your dog to an emergency vet clinic.

Regardless of how urgent the situation is, do not provide any home remedies or induce vomiting in your dog without consulting with the poison center and your vet. Doing so can lead to more dangerous situations for your pup, and a hefty medical bill to follow.

The sooner you contact the pet poison helpline and your vet, the faster you’ll be able to tend to your dog. Even if their symptoms aren’t noticeable right away, it’s best to take all necessary precautions.

Rat poison 101

Anticoagulant rodenticides, commonly known as rat or mice poison, are used to kill rats, mice, and other rodents. They can come in the form of pellets, powder, and even liquid, making it easy for small animals to ingest. People often place them around the house, garage, or yard to halt and prevent infestations. Unfortunately, this can pique the interest of their household pets, leading to dogs eating rat poison without warning.

By interrupting the vitamin K1’s flow in the body, an anticoagulant decreases the blood’s ability to form clots, which results in internal bleeding. Brodifacoum, difenacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and warfarin were once common anticoagulants, but due to recent regulatory updates, other forms of rodenticide have become more popular.

Other active ingredients include:

  • Cholecalciferol or vitamin D3: Cholecalciferol is the most common type of rat poison. It increases an animal’s calcium levels, damaging the tissues in the heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and muscles. When left untreated, its toxicity can lead to failure in multiple organs.
  • Bromethalin: Bromethalin causes the brain to swell. Common symptoms include poor coordination, seizures, paralysis, and death. It can be extremely toxic even when consumed in small amounts.
  • Zinc and aluminum phosphides: Although these ingredients are typically used in mole or gopher baits, they can also be present in rat bait, especially in more rural areas. When in the stomach, they release phosphine gas, causing stomach bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, seizures, and liver damage.

What are the symptoms of rat poisoning in dogs?

Signs of poisoning can vary depending on the rodenticide, and aren’t always visible after ingestion. “If your dog ate rat poison, most symptoms won’t show up for a day or two, or even up to a week after ingestion,” says Dr. Chyrle Bonk (DVM). “Fortunately, many brands contain dyes that may show up in your dog’s poop.” So, if you see artificial colors in your dog’s poop, contact the Animal Poison Control Center and your vet to report it.

Remember: the quicker you seek professional help, the more likely your dog can receive proper treatment and undergo recovery.

Dogs may also exhibit the following clinical signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor coordination and inability to walk
  • Paralysis
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Seizures

These symptoms can also be caused by other underlying conditions, so the best approach is to schedule an appointment with your vet.

What is the proper treatment for rat poisoning?

Like rat poison symptoms, treatment can look different for every type of poison and time frame. Dr. Bonk explains, “If it’s within a few hours of ingestion, your vet may induce vomiting and then give activated charcoal in order to get rid of as much poison as possible.”

Here are a few other potential treatments, broken down by poison type:

  • Anticoagulant rodenticides: If your dog consumed an anticoagulant, they may need to take vitamin K for four to six weeks and receive a blood transfusion. This treatment can help them develop proper blood clots.
  • Cholecalciferol or vitamin D3: Dogs that swallow poison containing cholecalciferol or vitamin D3 may need extensive medical care and possible hospitalization. Your vet may put them on IV fluids and medications to reduce the calcium level in their bodies.
  • Bromethalin: Like cholecalciferol, this ingredient will require your dog to be monitored closely. The vet will prioritize controlling their brain swelling.
  • Zinc and aluminum phosphides: Your vet may likely prescribe antacids to lessen the amount of phosphine gas in your pup’s body. Then, depending on the situation, they may recommend making your dog vomit in a safe, clinical setting.

What should I expect from the vet?

When you bring your dog in for an evaluation, the vet may want to know some details before administering any kind of treatment. Take note of when you first noticed your pup’s rat poison consumption, how much they ate, and whether you observed any visible symptoms.

“The prognosis for rat poison ingestion is going to depend on the type of poison, how much was ingested, and how quickly treatment was started,” says Dr. Bonk. “The less poison ingested, the better.”

Your vet can conduct various blood tests to measure blood clotting and red blood cell counts. But because they won’t be able to receive results in a timely manner, they may choose to treat your dog without testing.Alternatively, they can also perform an X-ray and ultrasound to check internal organs and determine the level of damage.

It may be beneficial for your dog to be hospitalized for a few days to a week so your vet can monitor them properly. Once you realize your dog ate rat poison, early diagnosis and treatment are key to a smooth recovery. Rodenticide is highly toxic and meant to kill rodents; it can do a significant amount of harm to other animals as well if left to its own devices.

How to prevent dogs from eating rat poison

The best way to prevent your dog from consuming rat poison is to keep it out of their reach.

However, this can be difficult when you’re trying to address an actual rodent infestation, as you’ll need to place the poison around certain easily accessible parts of your home.

If you absolutely need rat poison in your house, minimize the likelihood of your dog eating it such as:

  • Learn about the ingredients in your rat poison and label them accordingly. This will help you remember what to tell your vet in case of another incident.
  • Keep an active log of where you place your bait stations and how often, whether you keep them in your house or yard. That way, if something doesn’t align with your tracked notes, you can notice right away and act promptly.
  • If you’re going on vacation and need a pet sitter, make a point of sharing precautions and providing a to-do list in case anything happens. They’ll appreciate the warning and take extra care to keep your pooch safe.
  • Aside from taking these rat poison safety measures, make sure to pet-proof your house to reduce other injuries and accidents,especially if you plan to get a new puppy. Seal dangerous household products and keep them above ground. Dogs are naturally curious and will want to explore every nook and cranny.

Maximizing your dog’s safety can feel like a stressful process. Every dog owner wants the best living environment for their best friend, where their pup can eat, play, exercise, and sleep without any worries. But in case the unthinkable happens, like rodenticide poisoning, it’s important to always have a plan in place. An attempt at pest control can easily go awry, as demonstrated in this article. Knowing what to do in such emergencies can make a world of difference.

My Dog Ate Rat Poison: What Do I Do Next? (2)

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My Dog Ate Rat Poison: What Do I Do Next? (3)

Shi-won Oh

Shi-won is a copywriter and an enthusiastic dog aunt to Maltese and Shih Tzu puppies.


My Dog Ate Rat Poison: What Do I Do Next? ›

If you suspect that your dog has consumed rat poison, contact the nearest open veterinary facility immediately. 1 In most cases, you will need to get your dog to the veterinarian right away. If the poison was recently ingested, your vet will ask you to confirm the type of rodenticide.

Can a dog survive eating rat poison? ›

Rat and mouse poisons, also known as rodenticides, are products formulated to kill rodents. The chemicals used in these products are often highly toxic to dogs and can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure, organ damage and even death if eaten by your dog.

How do you get rat poison out of a dog's system? ›

The antidote to anticoagulant rodenticide is vitamin K1, a prescription drug. This can be given via injection or by mouth to increase the vitamin k1 levels in the body and prevent bleeding. Depending upon the timing since ingestion and signs, hospitalized care may be needed. Fluids may be administered intravenously.

How long does a dog last after eating rat poison? ›

Eating rat poison is potentially life-threatening, especially for very small dogs. The rat poison interferes with the production of blood clotting factors, and three to five days afterward, dogs will start to bleed into different body cavities. Without intensive care including a plasma transfusion, it is often fatal.

Does milk help a poisoned dog? ›

No. Milk is unlikely to be helpful in the vast majority of poisoning situations and can sometimes make things worse. Most pets are lactose intolerant and giving milk can cause or worsen stomach upset symptoms.

How long does it take for a dog to show signs of poisoning? ›

Affected dogs show signs 30 minutes to 4 hours after ingesting the poison. Initially affected dogs become anxious and have an elevated body temperature. Panting is usually seen. Progressively they become worse and staggery.

What are the first signs of rat poisoning in dogs? ›

Signs may include bleeding from the gums, blood in the stool (or black tarry stool), blood in the urine, lethargy, weakness, coughing, shortness of breath, seizures, difficulty walking and potentially sudden death.

Will Tomcat poison hurt my dog? ›

Cholecalciferol products — Tomcat, is one of the most deadly and costly to treat rodenticides. 1 ounce can kill a 70 lb. dog. This product is toxic to the kidneys with signs developing in 1 — 3 days.

How long does it take to get poison out of a dog's system? ›

Depending on the type of poisoning, dogs may take weeks or months to recuperate, and some dogs may have permanent organ damage after recovery.

How quickly does rat poison work? ›

It can take as long as 10 days for a rodent to die after consuming rodenticides. During this time, they can experience nosebleeds and blood in their urine and feces and also can develop mange. They may even become an easier target for some predators as their health fails.

What happens after a dog eats poison? ›

Symptoms caused by swallowed poisons can include: vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation and heart issues. Inhaled toxins may cause breathing difficulties or loss of consciousness in dogs. If your dog's skin comes in contact with a poisonous substance typical symptoms include irritation and pain.

Can a dog recover from poisoning on its own? ›

Typically, mild cases of poisoning have high recovery rates. In severe poisoning cases or cases where treatment was delayed the chance of recovery is extremely low. When pets do recover from severe poisoning there can also be long-term damage to their overall health.

Should you give water to a poisoned dog? ›

If your pet has ingested a poison, try to rinse or wipe out the mouth with a damp towel/flannel. Do not give your pet anything to eat or drink before speaking with the Animal Poisons Helpline or a vet.

What absorbs poison in dogs? ›

In summary, activated charcoal is a safe and effective treatment for dogs that have ingested toxins or poisons.

What neutralizes poison? ›

Antidotes are agents that negate the effect of a poison or toxin.

How do vets check for poisoning in dogs? ›

If you don't know what poisoned your dog, be aware that your vet is not able to test for every possibility, but blood tests may help determine the source. Some poisons, such as antifreeze and certain rat poisons, have antidotes, so whenever that's the case your vet will administer the antidote as soon as possible.

What is the behavior of a poisoned dog? ›

Some common symptoms to watch for include foaming at the mouth, lethargy, shaking or unusual movements, upset stomach, unusual swelling, pale gums, or behavioral changes. If you notice your dog displaying any of these symptoms, or if you suspect your dog ingested something toxic, call your veterinarian immediately.

How do you flush a dog's stomach? ›

For dogs, raw and whole meals are good options. Organic meals, natural vegetarian sources, and even biodynamic foods are perfect! Foods like beetroots, carrots and even shredded coconut would work towards detoxifying your dog's gut! This food can clean out your dog's digestive system and prevent indigestion.

How much rat poison is toxic to a dog? ›

A dog that is roughly 30 pounds has to ingest an ounce to be considered toxic. A standard 10 pound cat only needs 2 grams! That isn't much at all.

How long does bromethalin take to show symptoms in dogs? ›

Clinical Signs of Bromethalin Exposure in Dogs and Cats

Clinical signs may develop within 4 to 36 hours of exposure.

Can a dog survive bromethalin? ›

Smaller ingestions of bromethalin may just lead to mild stomach upset. Mid-range ingestions can cause your pet to become unsteady on their feet, mildly depressed and even have mild muscle tremors. In these situations, your pet may have these signs permanently, or they may improve over weeks to months.

Is rat poison instant? ›

If you buy a first-generation rodent poison, it will usually take about seven days for the rodent to die. The reason is that the lethal dose takes multiple feeding sessions. A second-generation poison can kill the rodent from internal bleeding in two to three days.

How much bromadiolone is lethal to dogs? ›

The lowest average lethal dose of bromethalin for dogs is 2.38 mg/kg, meaning a 10-pound dog could die from ingesting 5 small cubes of bait — not an uncommon feat.

What poison is in Tomcat? ›

TOMCAT All-Weather BLOX is a single-feeding anticoagulant rodenticide containing the active ingredient, Bromadiolone. It is an excellent clean-out and maintenance bait to control mice and rats, including warfarin-resistant Norway rats.

Should I make my dog throw up after eating poison? ›

Inducing vomiting is sometimes the fastest and most effective way to minimize the dangerous effects of a hazardous substance. Veterinarians generally recommend inducing vomiting soon after a dog eats a poisonous food like chocolate or raisins.

How much activated charcoal to give a dog with rat poison? ›

The recommended dosage of activated charcoal for dogs is 1–3 grams per kilogram of body weight. Repeated doses of activated charcoal every 4 to 8 hours at half the original dose may be indicated when the body recycles the toxin back into the intestine via enterohepatic circulation.

What are the long term effects of dog poisoning? ›

Long-Term Symptoms of Dog Poisoning

Long-term symptoms of your dog coming into contact with poisonous substances include kidney failure, liver damage, irregular heartbeat, neurological symptoms including seizures and blood loss.

How do you know if your dog ate rat poison? ›

If your pet has ingested rodent poison, their gums will be pale and often the gums will bleed as well. Also make sure to check for nose bleeds. Firm (swollen) abdomen: Check for a firm or distended belly. Rat poison causes internal bleeding and this would normally cause the abdomen to swell.

How long does rat poison last? ›

In studies with rats for example, 89% of the dose left the body within 4 days. However, as time progresses, bromadiolone tends to leave the body at a much slower rate. The half-life during this second stage has been reported to be as long as 170 days.

Is rat poison fast acting? ›

If you buy a first-generation rodent poison, it will usually take about seven days for the rodent to die. The reason is that the lethal dose takes multiple feeding sessions. A second-generation poison can kill the rodent from internal bleeding in two to three days.

Can you give a dog hydrogen peroxide for eating rat poison? ›

Make sure you have a 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Higher concentrations are toxic and can cause serious damage. Administer the proper amount: the suggested dosage is 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog's body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds.


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