My Pup Just Ate Rat Poison? What do I do?

If your dog has ingested rat poison, don’t panic. Take your pet to the vet at once. An emergency pet hospital would be the best place to get help. 

Rat poison contains zinc phosphide, a very toxic, lethal ingredient that can kill rats and other pests. When zinc phosphide is ingested, it will release gases in the dog’s stomach, which can cause an offensive breath smell similar to rotten fish or garlic. 

Depending on the amount ingested, your pet may have different reactions. Treatment is according to the symptoms manifested in your dog. Usually, zinc phosphide poisoning effects can remain even after the dog receives treatment.

Common symptoms of rat poison ingestion in dogs

  • Offensive breath smell 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting blood
  • Seizures and convulsions

These symptoms can be seen in dogs that ingest rat poison, cockroach poison, pest poison, or any kind of poison that contains zinc phosphide. 

If you don’t have rat poison at home and yet you still suspect your dog has ingested rat poison, then your pet may have ingested it from someplace else. If your pet goes outdoors, it may have ingested it from a neighbor’s shed or in an alleyway. If you have cats, the same symptoms are seen, and it may have eaten a mouse that has ingested rat poison. If you live in an area where there are opossums, squirrels or raccoons, then people use rat poison to kill these rodents as well. 

Taking your pet to the vet 

The vet will conduct a thorough exam of your dog. The background history of the incident will be taken, including the events that may have led to the poisoning of your pet. You must provide a thorough history of its activities and his symptoms. 

The vet will conduct a chemical blood exam and will analyze your dog’s urine to check for the poison. The treatment will include emergency treatment to control the symptoms and treatment of symptoms like controlling seizures and improving breathing.

Treatment of rat poison ingestion

If the rat poison contains zinc phosphide, your pet will be encouraged to vomit. If the poison is still in its stomach, vomiting will expel it and will reduce the possible symptoms. 

If your pet has ingested the poison in the past two hours and the vet or the pet hospital is miles away, you can perform this basic emergency remedy. Induce vomiting by using hydrogen peroxide solution; give one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 5 lbs. of body weight (do not give more than 3 tsp. at once). This must only be given three times at ten-minute intervals.

If, after this treatment, your pet has not vomited, stop any efforts, and take your pet to the vet. Do not use any other remedy stronger than hydrogen peroxide. And if your pet has vomited, do not force it to vomit more. 

There is no antidote to rat poison. In the hospital, a vet may perform a lavage, a procedure wherein a tube is inserted in your dog’s mouth that leads to its stomach. 5% sodium bicarbonate solution will be pumped to the stomach to increase the pH and prevent the formation of toxic gas. 

The survival of your dog will depend on the quantity of rat poison it has ingested. As mentioned, the effects of rat poison and all other poisons can persist even after several days of treatment. 

Prevent this from happening again by keeping all types of poisons and chemicals locked in a safe cabinet. Never carelessly place rat poison or insect poison anywhere and let a professional pest control company handle pests. 

Lovelia Horn


Every Creature Counts is passionate about animal rescue! We are a family of rescuers who have worked with small animal shelters around the Southern Illinois

Lovelia Horn