My dog ate rat poison—now what?

Boston CBS affiliate WBZ-TV recently reported on two dogs getting into rat poison in a park in Boston’s North End.

At the NNEPC, we get many calls about dogs eating rat poison. Rat poison is normally put out in a place rats will be able to get into it, which makes it easy for dogs to get into as well. Sometimes other animals or kids get into it too.

Kids usually do not eat enough rat poison to cause a serious problem, but you should call the NNEPC to be sure.

Pets, on the other hand, sometimes eat enough to make them very sick. In one recent study of cases from poison centers, rat poison killed more pets than any other type of poison.
If you think your dog has gotten into some rat poison, call the NNEPC at 1-800-222-1222 or chat now. We can help you figure out if your dog has eaten enough rat poison to be a problem. We can also talk with you or your vet about signs of poisoning and ways to treat it. Because there are different types of rat poison, it is important to have the container when you call, if possible.

Pets are different from people. If the poisoning is serious or unusual, the NNEPC may recommend that you also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. It has a 24/7 hotline and is staffed by veterinarians who specialize in pet poisonings. They may charge $65 for consultation, but will advise you and your vet, and will be available to help until your pet is out of danger. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline number is 1-888-426-4435.

You might not realize right away that your pet has gotten into rat poison. The most common type can take 1 – 7 days to cause symptoms. Some animals have bleeding from their nose or stomach. Others look weak or tired, won’t eat and get short of breath. But there are many types of rat poisons—the timing and types of symptoms will be different depending on what your pet ate, how much and when.

The best way to deal with rat poison is to be sure not to leave it where your pet or child can reach it—or not use it at all. If you can, use a trap that does not contain poison.

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