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Can My Dog Die From Rat Poison?

Dogs eating rat poison is not an uncommon occurrence. Rat poison comes in different forms, and under many different names and brands. Basically, most rat poisons use blood thinners (commonly known as warafin) which will cause slow internal bleeding in the rodent. Some rodenticides work within 24 hours, and some will not affect the rodent until 2 or 3 days later.

Rat poisons are designed to cause internal hemorrhaging in rodents, and the same thing will happen to a dog if he consumes it. Rat poison will interfere with the blood clotting factors inside your dog’s system and leak into the organs, stomach and other cavities.

What is rat poison?

Rat poison comes in many different names. There are a few types of rat poisons and rodenticides available that are sold by category:

Anticoagulants – This is the most popular form of rat poison. Also known as warafin, fumarin or bromadiolone. Anticoagulants work by depleting vitamin K inside the body.

Cholecalciferol – This types of poison drastically affects the calcium levels. Cholecalciferol will cause mineralization of the blood vessels, stomach, lungs and kidneys. Symptoms of Cholecalciferol poisoning may not show for up to 24 hours.

Bromethalin – This poison affects the brain and cerebrospinal fluid. It is a non-anticoagulant and may take up to 10 hours for symptoms of poisoning to show.

Rat poison pellets are designed to taste good so the rodent will eat it. Unfortunately, this is the same for dogs. The basic reason dogs eat rat poison is because it tastes good to them. Rat poison can also look very similar to dog kibble, so your dog may even mistake it for food.

Indirect poisoning may also occur. This is when your dog has eaten a dead rodent or something else laced with poison. Even if your dog consumed poison from an indirect source, he could still become very ill and potentially die.

How do I prevent my dog from eating rat poison?

Prevention is the best way to avoid rat poison consumption. If you need to use rat poison around your home, there are several ways to avoid your dog coming into contact with it.

  • Place pellets behind fridges, stoves and other large appliances your dog cannot get behind.
  • Place poisons on the roof, in the attic, ceiling boards or in a crawlspace that you know can be locked and is out of reach from your dog. Keep in mind if you put pellets on the roof, they can be washed down with snow and rain.
  • Put poison in areas your dog does not frequent. Be careful though, if he can, a dog will roam anywhere. It only takes one pellet to be poisoned.
  • Have a professional exterminator come and take car of the rodent problem. Although it will cost more money, you can rest assured that your dog will not seek out and consume poisonous pellets or contaminated rodents anytime soon.
  • Be aware of your neighbors. If they are using rat poisons around their yard, your dog may eat them by accident. Keep your dog in your yard at all times, unless on a leash.

Remember that rat poisons don’t normally work right away. If you know you have rodents and are using poisons, keep an eye out for dead rodents around the yard, in garbages, etc. Keep your dog supervised while he is outside for the time you are using poisons. Keep your yard clean and free of clutter to help monitor for dead creatures in your yard.

Rat poison symptoms

Symptoms of rat poison consumption may be similar to other illnesses. Always be aware of where you used rat poison in your home, and keep packaging handy in case of emergency to bring to the vet. Some symptoms of rat poison consumption include:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Loss of coordination
  • Pale gums
  • Random bruising
  • Bleeding from different areas, such as the nose
  • Blood in feces or urine

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact animal poison control or your veterinarian right away. Never wait for symptoms to worsen, as the anticoagulants are already working inside your dog.

For more information about rat poison and dogs, treatment options and more, visit

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