The Dangers of Rat Poison to Dogs and Cats

Rats are some of the worst and most unwanted rodents, especially within your home. If you discover that rats are scuttling around your property, you may need to use rat poison to eliminate the infestation. 

Rat poison, also known as a rodenticide, is a chemical product formulated to kill rodents like rats. The chemicals used in rat poison are effective against rats, but unfortunately, they are also highly toxic to dogs and cats.

Even worse, rat poison often carries an attractive flavor in order to trap rats. As a result, it’s common for pets to accidentally ingest rat poison and become very sick. Make sure you understand the risks of rat poison and how to help your dog or cat recover if he becomes poisoned.

Signs of Rat Poisoning in Animals

Dogs and cats exhibit signs of rat poisoning in different ways. Internal bleeding is one of the biggest complications caused when pets eat rat poisoning. Symptoms of internal bleeding include:

  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Vomiting 
  • Coughing blood
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Bloody stools
  • Difficulty breathing caused by blood in the lungs

Unfortunately, some symptoms don’t become evident for three to five days after ingestion, so it’s critical to seek emergency vet care even if your pet isn’t showing signs of rat poisoning yet. 

How Rat Poison Harms Dogs and Cats

Each type of rat poison causes different problems, but they are all potent and dangerous. Anticoagulant rodenticides are the most common. These prevent the blood from clotting, which leads to internal bleeding.

Other types of rat poison include cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and bromethalin. Vitamin D3 causes severe kidney failure, while bromethalin triggers swelling in the brain. 

What o Do If Your Pet Eats Rat Poison

As soon as you discover that your pet ingested rat poison, call a veterinarian who offers superior emergency medical and surgical care.  Rat poisoning isn’t an issue that can wait until the next day or be treated with guesswork. 

Your emergency vet will gather as much information as possible and treat your dog based on the type of rat poisoning he ingested. Treatment may include vitamin K, supplemental oxygen, blood and/or plasma transfusions, or other medications.

To learn more and get advice from a professional, call or visit Affordable Pet Hospital at (813) 991-9898. Our compassionate veterinarians are here to help your pet live his happiest, healthiest life.