Dogs and Rat Poison

As the weather starts getting colder, there may be a problem with rodents coming into our homes to look for a warm place to nest. Since wild mice and rats carry disease, ruin household foundations and leave a general mess everywhere… it is very wise to get rid of them as soon as possible. Many dog owners don’t realize, however, that rat poisons are extremely dangerous for dogs.

Dogs eating rat poison is not an uncommon problem for dog owners. Rat poisons can be fatal even in small amounts. It can be ingested through direct consumption of the pellets, or indirectly from chewing on or eating a contaminated rodent. Very unpleasant!

Rat poison is made with blood thinners and is designed to cause hemorrhaging in rodents, and will do the same to your dog. Sometimes, symptoms may not show for up to 24-48 hours.

Symptoms of Rat Poisoning

There are a number of different symptoms to look out for when dealing with rat poison ingestion. The severity of the poisoning usually depends on the type of rat poison used, how much was ingested, and which chemicals are in that particular brand of poison.

The most common is called ‘warafin’. Some symptoms to look out for include:

  • Blood coming out of different cavities, such as the nose, the stool or in the saliva.
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Low body temperature
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bruising

If any of these symptoms are present, it is imperative you get to a vet as soon as possible. If you cannot make it to the vet, call an emergency hotline and they can give you best advice for your dog’s rat poisoning.

Dogs eat rat poison because they sometimes mistake it for kibble. Rat poisons are usually made to “taste good” to the rat, and unfortunately, dogs happen to enjoy the taste as well.

Tips for Prevention

Prevention is the best way to keep your dog from eating rat poisons. Here are some tips for preventing your dog from eating rat poison:

  • Place pellets/poison behind fridges, stoves, and other large appliances your dog cannot access.
  • Have an exterminator professionally rid your home of rodents. Although it can be costly, it is better safe than sorry for your dog, as well as your family.
  • Put poison in areas your dog doesn’t usually frequent. Be careful though, if a dog can roam, he will. It only takes on time to become poisoned.
  • Place the pellets/poisons on the roof, in the attic, ceiling board, or crawlspaces. Any place you know is locked and away from your dog at all times is the best. Plus, most rodents hang out in these areas anyway.

For more information about dogs and rat poison, a list of further symptoms, and tips on what to do in an emergency, visit