My dog ate rat poison. What should I do?
If you suspect that your dog got hold of rat poison, do not wait to get it to the vet. Go immediately. Even if it was just a tiny bit, or even if you’re not entirely sure whether your pet ingested it, please still take your dog to the vet. It also helps to know which rat poison was ingested, so take the packaging along as well.
My dog ate rat poison: how will it affect him?
Rat poison works by preventing blood from clotting. This causes uncontrolled bleeding which becomes life threatening if not treated. The bleeding does not start straight away, which is why even a possibility of ingestion should be addressed immediately.
My dog ate rat poison: what symptoms should I look for?
The scary thing is that symptoms of rat poisoning only start after 5-7 days so many owners won’t take their dog to the vet at first because the dog appears unaffected. That’s the wrong thing to do. Getting your dog to the vet as fast as possible is essential.
Symptoms of rat poison include include:
- Nose bleeds
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in urine
- Blood in stool
- Pale gums
If you see any of the symptoms, please see a veterinarian as soon as possible. And make sure to report any possible rat poison at home. Sometimes there might be internal bleeding that is not obvious to see on the outside, but subtle symptoms such as weakness and not eating could point to this.
How is rat poisoning diagnosed and treated?
If your dog has eaten the poison in the past 2 hours or so, your vet will give it something to make it vomit. Activated charcoal is also given to help prevent absorption of any toxins into the blood stream. Blood tests may be needed at times, as well as X-rays of the chest and ultrasound of the tummy. Vitamin K1 is the antidote for rat poison, and it is given in a tablet form. The type of rat poison and degree of symptoms determine the exact treatment dose and interval.
If life threatening active bleeding is detected that could be due to rat poison, then intensive treatment may be needed. That may include a blood transfusion.
What are the chances of survival?
If a patient starts treatment before any symptoms of bleeding are present, the chances of recovery are excellent. However, if bleeding has already started, particularly if there has been a significant amount of blood loss, then chances of survival are unfortunately low.
Keep all forms of poison locked away and out of reach of children and animals. If you need to use rat poison, rather use bait stations that are pet friendly. These only allow access to rats and mice. If you find dead rats and mice around the house or garden, it is a good ideas to dispose of them as quickly as possible where they cannot be eaten by pets or wild animals and birds.
Always bring to your vet the container of the suspected poison. This provides your vet with valuable information that could assist in saving your dog’s life!