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Posted on 10-10-2018

Recent events at the clinic have inspired me to blog this week about the dangers of rat poison. Danger is implied in the word “poison”, to be sure, but I am surprised by the number of times owners fail to consider rat bait as a threat to the household pets.

          Rat bait poisons are manufactured with very high palatability to animals. This means they are quite tasty, not only to mice and rats, but also to cats and dogs. If they find it, they will eat it. Unfortunately, this flavor attraction often leads to accidental ingestion by the household pets.

          Most accidental ingestion of rat bait occurs when an owner has intentionally set out the poison to attempt control of rat/mice infestation. Rodent infestation is a sanitation and disease problem, I agree that it is very important that the issue be addressed. However, when there are pets on the property, placing rat bait poison in the environment may not be the best solution. If you decide to use rat poison to control the rodent pests, I recommend a few safety precautions.

           Never leave the container in a pet accessible area. Dogs and cats are very inventive, especially when they are playful and bored (also when they are hungry!). Containers get knocked down, torn open, and ingested all the time. You can believe me on this, I see it all the time.

          If you are putting out the bait, you trust me on this, your pet will find it. Hiding it behind the stove or under the house or in the tiny are under the hot tub will not prevent an accidental ingestion. I once saw a dog lying on the floor with his front leg inserted between the refrigerator and the wall. His leg had completely disappeared into the space. It took determination and patience, but the dog was able to extract the rat bait bar from behind the fridge. In another instance, a rancher had placed the bait up in the hayloft, certain they were too high for the ranch dogs to reach. The mice dragged the bait bars all over the loft, and consequently some had fallen to the barn floor. You know the rest of the story…

          When using rat bait, place the bars inside a “bait cage”. This will allow the mice to ingest toxic levels, without exposing the pets. Consider traps as an alternative. I have discovered the wonder of the electric powered ultrasonic rat deterrence devices, and highly recommend those as well.

          Unfortunately, rat bait can be very toxic to pets, even when ingested in very small amounts. By very small, I mean just a few crumbs can cause death in a ten-pound cat or dog. I am very conservative when it comes to placing any kind of poison within the environment of pets and people. There is no level of risk that I am comfortable with. So, do what you must do and get rid of those pesky rodents, but be very, very careful when you do.

          Until next time…Thanks for Caring!!      


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