So, you’ve got a rat problem, and you decide to do what most people do, and you get some rat poison… It makes sense, but as a pet owner, you should be warned that dogs and cats sometimes like to eat or lick rat poison. Continue reading for more information about the symptoms and treatment…
If you have witnessed your dog eat or lick rat poison; eat a rat that has been poisoned; or if they are exhibiting the symptoms of rat poisoning; you need to take them to a vet ASAP! You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 24/7, for immediate guidance: (888) 426-4435
How Rat Poison Works
It’s important to understand how rat poison actually works, so you know what is happening to your pet. Rat poison is an anticoagulant, which means it prevents the rat’s blood from being able to clot. Over the course of 2 to 4 days, this causes the rat to begin hemorrhaging blood until it eventually bleeds to death.
The rat does not need to have a preexisting wound for this to happen. If the rat has no cuts or wounds, blood will escape the rat’s body through its nose, mouth, and other orifices. Blood will also pool in the rat’s chest cavity, making it increasingly difficult for them to breath.
This is exactly what the poison does to a dog when they consume it; however, the effects can be far less severe depending on the size of the dog. If you have a very large dog, they should still see a vet, though there’s a good chance the poison won’t do much harm to them. On the other hand, if you have a very small dog, the poison will likely be fatal if they don’t receive speedy treatment.
Symptoms of Rat Poisoning in Dogs
There’s a good chance you won’t actually see you dog eat the poison or a rat that has been poisoned, so it’s important that you know the symptoms. Please be aware that the symptoms can range from obvious to subtle, so it’s important that you know all of them. Not all dogs will exhibit every symptom before it’s too late.
- Coughing or difficulty breathing
- Pale gums
- Stiffness or difficulty moving
- Bloody nose
- Blood in urine or stool
- Bloody or bruised gums
The sooner you get your dog to a vet – within 1 to 2 days of being poisoned – the much greater their chance of survival will be.
When you take your dog to the vet, it is important that you bring the package of rat poison with you so the vet knows exactly what they are dealing with. The vet can run tests on your dog’s blood to evaluate the degree to which it is not coagulating, and determine a treatment from there.
In mild cases of poisoning, the treatment might be as simple as a vitamin K supplement. In more sever cases, hemorrhaged blood may need to be drained from your dog’s chest cavity and/or other affected regions of their body.
ASPCA. Animal Poison Control. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Horsham Veterinary Hospital (June 11, 2018). OMG, My Pet Has Eaten Rat Bait!! Retrieved from https://www.horshamvethospital.com.au/omg-my-pet-has-eaten-rat-bait