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Rat Poison Ingestion In Dogs

July 1, 2023

Our canine pals are very curious and active, which is why they’re such fun to have around. Fido loves to sniff and explore, well, everything, and he often tries to learn about things by, well, eating them. This can be very dangerous. One seasonal danger that dog owners should be aware of is rat poison. A local West Greenwich, RI vet offers some insight on this below.


There are a few different ingredients in rat poison. While they work in slightly different ways, they can all be deadly to your canine friend. Ingestion of cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) causes dangerous spikes in the levels of calcium and phosphorus in a pup’s body. This in turn causes a hardening of the tissues, and which can lead to organ failure. Bromethalin causes severe swelling of the brain, and can be deadly even in small doses. Zinc and aluminum phosphides are more often used as gopher bait, but are also used in rodenticides. When the substance is ingested, it reacts with Fido’s stomach acid, creating a deadly gas. Rat poison may also contain anticoagulants, such as brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, difethialone, which can cause massive and unstoppable bleeding. 

Warning Signs

Signs of ingestion include lethargy, labored or rapid breathing, pale gums, collapse, weakness, tremors, lack of coordination, and lack of appetite. Some pups may also have nosebleeds, bloody diarrhea or urine, swollen joints, or seizures. It’s also worth noting that, because many of these products contain dyes, unusual coloration in your furry pal’s stool is also a red flag. If you see any of these things, immediately contact your vet or, if it’s after hours, take Fido to the nearest emergency clinic.


Rodenticides are available in several formats, including bait blocks, powder, paste, cereal, and pellets. They are not one uniform color: they can be anything from green to blue to pink or red. These substances all require different treatments, so it’s critical to identify exactly which one was ingested. Unfortunately, because manufacturers may use any combination of products, formats, and colors, you may not be able to tell exactly what your pooch ingested from appearance alone. If you do have any of the bait or packaging, bring it with you, as it may be helpful in identifying the poison.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your West Greenwich, RI pet clinic!

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