Save Your Pet: What to Do if Your Dog Has Accidentally Ingested a Rodenticide

Your pet ingesting rodenticide or rat poison sounds like every pet owner’s nightmare, but it’s as real as it gets. Many pet owners don’t realize the risk they’re putting their pets by having rodenticide around the house, but sometimes, the need to repel these pesky pets away is stronger than the possibility of your pet eating them. We won’t blame you if you finally decide to use rodenticide around the house, but what to do if a dog eats rat poison? Will cats eat rat poison? Let’s talk about the big stuff: what to do if your pet accidentally ingested a rodenticide.

The Fast Five Steps to Do if Your Dog Eats Rat Poison

Before anything else, know that rodenticides are as toxic to any mammal as they are to rodents. Hence, once you find out that your pet has accidentally ingested any amount of it, immediate action is necessary!
  • Stay calm and pick up the phone.The last thing you should do is panic. Without wasting any time, pick up your phone and call your vet or an emergency veterinary clinic. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435).
  • Take note of the product.You will most likely be asked about what the product is, the active ingredient, and the EPA registration number. Often, the brand of the product isn’t enough, and you’ll have to check the product’s label. Also take note of signs of poisoning in dogs, like impaired movement, generalized seizures, paralysis of the limbs, and slight muscle tremors.
  • Know your pet.In addition to knowing the specifics of the product, you should also know your pet well enough: the breed of your dog, how heavy he is, how much was ingested, and how long ago it was ingested.
  • Make your pet vomit.Depending on how long ago the rodenticide was ingested, you may be told to make your pet vomit.  Carefully follow whatever you are told. The rodenticide may contain zinc phosphide, in which case you will be asked to make the pet vomit outside. This is because zinc phosphide is converted into phosphine gas in your pet’s stomach, which is toxic to you.
  • Evacuate the area immediately, if there’s zinc phosphide.If your pet vomits inside the house, and the rodenticide contains zinc phosphide, you must evacuate the house immediate and call 911. Phosphine gas, the by-product of zinc phosphide, is dangerous for you and can result in a variety of symptoms, including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, chest pain, staggering, diarrhea, and dizziness. The worst case scenario is death. You can tell if there’s phosphine gas if the vomit of your dog smells like garlic.
  • Go to the vet.You will need to take your pet to the vet clinic as soon as possible. You should also take the rodenticide packaging with you. To be sure, put it in a safe packaging so it won’t pose any further threat.

Keeping an Eye Out For the New Toxin in the Block: Bromethalin

Since 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to phase out anticoagulants used in rodenticides, in an attempt to make rodenticides safer for pets and kids. In response, many manufacturers switched to using bromethalin in their rodenticides. But while the intention was good, the effects are potentially disastrous. Diagnosis and treatment of rodenticide containing bromethalin are much more difficult.

What Bromethalin Does
Bromethalin acts much more swiftly than anticoagulants. While anticoagulants work after within 3 days to a week after ingestion, bromethalin takes effect upon 2 to 24 hours after being ingested. It primarily builds fluid in the brain by accumulating sodium within the cells. The buildup will cause swelling, which will in turn compress the nerves. The nerves will end up having difficulty sending messages, leading to symptoms like weakness, hyperexcitability, depression, high fever, vomiting, unsteadiness, stiffness in the front limbs, seizures, and paddling motion of the legs.

What To Do If Your Pet Ingests Bromethalin
Aside from the shorter time, bromethalin is also dangerous because there’s no known antidote just yet, except for vomiting and administering activated charcoal. If the pet ingests the rodenticide containing bromethalin 10 to 15 minute ago, you should induce vomiting. If the ingestion is beyond that period, only a veterinarian must be consulted.

Preventive Measures to Stop Your Pet from Ingesting Rodenticide

  1. Whether the rodenticide contains bromethalin or zinc phosphide, the best solution lies in prevention. If you have pets around your home and a rodent problem, you might want to opt for a live trap instead of rodenticides.
  2. But you can’t stop your dog from eating rodenticide outside your home. That’s why you shouldn’t let them out unsupervised. Stop them from eating anything while you go on walks. This means that they have to be properly behaved and follow you. A dog training with shock collar often helps for this purpose. In the long run, training your pet properly will be for your pet’s safety.
  3. Staying informed is also important. When your dog ingests rodenticide, a clotting profile, which is some form of anticoagulant blood test, will be done to your dog. The results will show the amount of poison and the dose of vitamin K needed to treat your dog. It will also determine the outlook of your dog.


When all is said and done, what’s important is that you eliminate pet danger and to stay calm. Pet ingesting rodenticide happens everyday, and saving your pet’s life will depend on the next steps you take. Please Share This Article