Signs that your pet has ingested rat poison

rat posion, rodent poison, rodenticide, rat control

See what to do in case your pet might have ingested rat poison.

by Jason Johnson

After developing a serious mouse infestation on account of my neighbour breeding exotic birds (seriously), I decided to do some DIY pest control. This usually wouldn’t be a problem for me as I’ve had great success using poison, shoes and other household items before.

The only thing that has changed since I last did DIY rodent control is the fact I am now a dog owner. This posed a problem for my dogs, especially since they are two extremely inquisitive puppies who inspect (and by inspect I mean EAT) anything new in their environment.

I often hear horror stories from people who accidentally poisoned their pets by using rodent bait, or of pets that die because of secondary poisoning caused by eating a mouse or rat that has itself eaten poison.

My main concern here was to make sure that I administered the rat poison in a safe way so my dogs couldn’t get hold of it. I also wanted to know what to do if they were to ingest the poison accidentally. I did some research on how to check if your dog has consumed rat bait.  This is what I found:

  • Laboured breathing: If you suspect that your pet has ingested rat poison you will have to monitor their breathing. Their breathing will sound heavy and laboured. This is one of the early signs.
  • Weakness: Heavy laboured breathing is soon followed by loss of energy. If your pet is uncharacteristically lethargic or weak, it may be time to call the vet.
  • Internal bleeding:  Rat poison causes internal bleeding or hemorrhaging. Carefully monitor your pet’s stool and urine and look for signs of blood. Also be sure to check your pet’s gums. 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.

What can you do?

If you suspect that your pet has ingested rat poison the best thing to do is to induce vomiting. This will get rid of any excess poison that is still in the system.

One way of inducing vomiting is to give your pet hydrogen peroxide. Normal drugstore peroxide will work fine. Use one tablespoon of peroxide per 10 pounds.

Mix this with water and administer using a syringe. Squirt the solution down your pet’s throat and stand clear. If nothing has happened after 15 minutes, administer another dosage to help them expel the rat poison. If nothing occurs after that, contact your vet immediately.

If vomiting has not occurred your pet may need a Vitamin K injection. Rat poison is an anti coagulant and stops the blood from clotting. This means that bleeding will occur and not stop. Vitamin K is a natural blood clotting agent and produces a chemical called prothrombin which aids in the process of blood clotting.

The most important thing to remember here is to act fast. Whether your pet has ingested poison or is suffering from secondary poisoning, it is always advisable to consult a vet as soon as you can. If you act fast enough your pet can be home soon enough to destroy your garden and / or your new curtains.

See our tips on safe ways of getting rid of rats in your home, or read our previous blog on DIY pest control to ensure that if you do decide to take the do-it-yourself route, that you take the necessary precautions to ensure the utmost in safety – for both your family and pets.


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