Rat Poisoning in Dogs: Symptoms and How to Help

Image Credit:clive brown

While cats are famed for their inquisitiveness, dogs are just as curious about their surroundings. Unfortunately, this may include taking drugs that can cause significant harm. While guardians should do everything necessary to avoid pesticides like rat poison, it is probable that they will be exposed to them for one reason or another. When this happens, we need to know everything we can about how to diagnose rodenticide poisoning in dogs and what we can do to cure it and keep the animal alive.

We look at the signs and treatment of rat poison in dogs at AnimalWised. 

Rat poison is a common use of rodenticides, which kill various rodents. Rats are disease carriers, causing the transmission of diseases like rabies, tularemia, botulism, bubonic plague, and foot-and-mouth disease. Exposure to rats can lead to rat population reduction, potentially causing harm to dogs.

Symptoms of canine rodenticide poisoning

Before we go into the symptoms of rodenticide poisoning in dogs, it’s important to understand that there are two types of rodenticide:

Non-anticoagulant rodenticides: 

their mode of action is unrelated to the coagulation cascade (the steps taken by the body to stop bleeding). Many of them have been banned from usage due to their severe toxicity and the lack of an antidote.

Anticoagulant rodenticides work by disrupting the coagulation cascade. They are more toxic to rodents but less dangerous to domestic animals. They also have an effective antidote, which is why they are the most widely used nowadays.

Non-anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning in dogs causes neurological symptoms like seizures, hyperexcitability, and polyneuropathies, as well as digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia.

Anticoagulant rodenticides like warfarin, brodifacoum, difenacoum, bromadiolone, chlorophacinoma, difacinone, and pindone cause coagulation time delays and can cause bleeding, hematuria, feces, and skin bruises. Hemorrhages can occur in the thoracic, abdominal, and brain cavities.

Anemia is characterized by fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and pale mucous membranes. Our guide to hemolytic anemia in dogs explains the many types of canine anemia.

Toxic shock: 

Anticoagulant rat poison can cause toxic shock and death in severe poisoning.

It is vital to note that anticoagulant rodenticides have a delayed effect rather than an instant effect. The signs of anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning in dogs might take between one and seven days to appear.


Image Credit:SarahInArizona

Rat poison has a varied fatal dosage in dogs. The term LD50 (median lethal dosage) is used in toxicology to denote the lethal dose, which varies based on the substance, the species affected, and whether the exposure is single or recurring. 

Method of action of rat poison in dogs

Accidental ingestion is the most prevalent route of rat poison poisoning in dogs. This can occur as a result of either direct rodenticide ingestion or ingestion of a rat or mouse that has come into touch with the rat bait.

Nonetheless, there are alternative modes of exposure that are possible:

Cutaneous route: 

by skin touch.

Inhalation route: 

This can happen in dogs when they sniff around particular types of rat bait.

Treatment for rat poison in dogs

Rodenticide poisoning is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately by a veterinarian. When you notice symptoms of rat poisoning in your dog or suspect that it has been consumed, you should take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Read the instructions attentively and act as soon as possible:

Do not try to make your dog vomit: some individuals may assume that using home remedies like salt or coffee will help, but this can be counterproductive, especially when dealing with specific types of poison. Only a veterinarian should do this procedure if it is deemed necessary.

Do not feed your dog: 

some people believe that a dog who has consumed rat poison should be given milk or raw eggs. 

Go to a veterinary clinic right away: prompt treatment can mean the difference between your dog dying and surviving. If you must travel by car, one person should drive while another observes the animal.

Determine the type of rodenticide: If feasible, bring the rat poison container with you or offer documentation of the type of rat poison used so that the veterinarian can plan your treatment accordingly.

When your pet arrives at the veterinary centre, the staff in charge of his or her care will determine how to continue. This will depend on the chemical consumed and the duration since the poisoning. 

The following may be included in the treatment plan:

Treatment for decontamination includes producing vomiting, gastric lavage, or administering adsorbents (such as activated charcoal) and saline solution. It is common for the animal to pass black feces for several days after receiving activated charcoal.

Establish a hydration therapy plan, provide respiratory support if necessary (through oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation), keep the animal calm, and protect them from intense stressors.


Image Credit:clive brown

Treatment of related symptoms may include anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, blood transfusions, thoracocentesis, and other procedures.


As previously stated, anticoagulant rodenticides contain an antidote in the form of vitamin K1. It is first injected subcutaneously.

To use pesticides, place ray bait in specific bait holders and store them in closed areas. Pay attention to rat poison during walks and prevent your dog from approaching any. Prevent your dog from hunting or contact with dead rats or mice. Visit a veterinary center if your dog has come into contact with a rodenticide or shows signs of poisoning. The speed of treatment is crucial for the animal’s prognosis. AnimalWised does not prescribe veterinary treatment or diagnose.