Rat and mouse poisons in dogs

Poisons that are put down to get rid of rats and mice are designed to be deadly, and so it’s not a surprise that these chemicals can be dangerous to our dogs as well. These types of poisons are eaten by pets relatively often and cause a large number of dogs to urgently be taken to veterinary practices every year.

Is rat poison dangerous to my dog?

There are many different types of rat and mouse poisons (rodenticides) available, many of which can cause harm to your dog. The most common rodenticides used are designed to be eaten by rats and mice over a period of time. This type of poison interferes with the animals' ability to clot their blood correctly and can cause bleeding. Other rodenticides might contain other types of poisons and may work in a different way, some cause overstimulation, while others are designed to block the rat or mouse’s stomach.

Why do dogs eat rat poison?

These poisons are often mixed in with other ingredients that designed to be attractive and tasty to mice and rats. These other ingredients ensure that the rodents eat enough poison to cause them harm. An unfortunate effect of this is that these products are also very attractive and tasty to our dogs.

How much rat poison is toxic to dogs?

How much poison is toxic to your dog will depend on how big your dog is, the type of poison they have eaten, how much they ate and over what time period. If you think your dog has eaten rat and mouse poisons it’s important that you call your vet for advice straight away.

What are the symptoms of rodenticide poisoning?

The most common types of rat and mouse poison stop your dog from being able to clot their blood properly. This can cause bleeding from anywhere on the body, but will most commonly be seen as bleeding from the gums, nose or there may be blood in your dog’s faeces or urine. Bleeding may not always be visible and poisoned dogs can also show signs of weakness, being tired, coughing, lameness or bruising.

Other rodenticides can cause them to be sick, become excitable, change their body temperature, and cause fits or even a gastric blockage.

How long after eating rat and mouse poison till my dog becomes unwell?

The most commonly used poisons are designed to be eaten over a long period of time. The effects from these may take several days to show. Other rodenticides are designed to cause effects quickly and can present within an hour or sometimes sooner.

What should I do if my dog eats rat and mouse poison?

If your dog has eaten a rodenticide, it’s important that you contact your vet for advice immediately. To help them gauge whether your dog needs treatment you may need to give them:

  • Details about the poison (product name, active ingredient etc.).
  • How much you think they have eaten
  • When your dog ate it
  • Details about your dog (have they been unwell, what is their weight)

Can a poisoned mouse or rat be harmful to dogs?

If your dog has eaten a mouse that you think has been poisoned, it’s a good idea to call your vet for advice.

Keeping your dog safe

If you use rat or mouse poisons make sure they are put in places where your dog can’t reach them. If there is one particular area of your house that is being treated, then try to keep your dog out and lock or shut the door. Poisons should always be kept in bait stations that cannot be accessed by your dog. If you are using rat bait outside your house make sure you keep your dog away from it and put them on a leash if you need to walk past it to leave your property.

Think your dog may be affected?

If you're worried about your dog's health, always contact your vet immediately.

We are not a veterinary organisation and so we can't give veterinary advice, but if you're worried about any of the issues raised in this article, please contact your local vet practice for further information.

Find a vet near you

If you're looking for a vet practice near you, why not visit the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Find a vet page.