Dog Training

Rat poison in dogs (symptoms of poisoning)

You want to know how to recognize rat poison, what symptoms your dog has with it and also what emergency tips you should definitely know? Then you've come to the right place! Also, for this article we have Advice from veterinarian Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country.

Rat poison in dog
Table of contents

If your dog has eaten rat poison, you need to act quickly.

Why is rat poison dangerous?

Rat poison, also called rodenticide, is used for the elimination of rat infestations. The unwanted guests mistake the poison for food and eat it. 

Most rat poisons contain coumarin derivatives as the active ingredient, which inhibit blood clotting. Once rat poison is absorbed through the intestinal wall and enters the blood, it interferes with the function of vitamin K and the associated clotting factors. As a result, blood clotting is disrupted and the animals bleed to death internally.

The active ingredient has been synthetically modified so that it acts particularly slowly. Rats are very intelligent animals. If they observe their fellow rats eating something and immediately die as a result, they would immediately recognize it as poisonous. However, since the symptoms now only become apparent after some time, more rats can be killed at once.

Unfortunately, our furry noses also think rat poison is something edible. The effect of the poison is the same as in rats. Blood clotting is inhibited and organs are gradually damaged. 

If the poisoning is not treated in time by a veterinarian, it is life-threatening. 

So you must not lose time in any case, if you suspect that your darling has eaten rat poison. The first thing that should be done is a medical first aid with charcoal tablets. After that, the visit to the vet is vital.

How to recognize rat poison

The shape and color of rat poison is nationwide not uniform and is also not subject to any standards. That is why there are very many species. 

The poison can take the form of Have grains, tablets or pellets. There may even be a Paste or Liquid be

Usually rat poison is strikingly colored. The colors also vary greatly. So it can be red, yellow, purple, black, brown, green, blue or any other colors.

Not only the poison itself is deadly for your four-legged friend. He can suffer from poisoning without having eaten it directly. If he has eaten a poisoned rat, indirect poisoning can occur. 

Fortunately, this happens rather rarely. Nevertheless, you should consider this possibility if your pet has eaten a dead or weakened rat.

16 possible symptoms


Depending on the type of poison, the amount ingested, the size, age and weight of a dog, as well as the past time, the symptoms vary in severity. Puppies, sick and older dogs react much more strongly to the poison and are therefore particularly at risk.

Symptoms usually appear several hours after ingestion of the poison. Up to 5 days your dog may have no symptoms despite poisoning. 

The first reaction of the body to poisoning is the Vomiting. There may also be blood or poisonous granules in the vomit. Diarrhea is also a possible symptom.

The Gums of your favorite is either very pale or extremely red after poisoning. The Tongue is usually bluish discolored. Your four-legged friend may even have Foaming at the mouth, because it now produces more saliva.

It could be that he is very restless is and Respiratory problems, if not Shortness of breath has. A irregular pulse and Cardiac arrhythmias can also be consequences of poisoning.

If the ingestion of the poison has been several hours ago, it can Nosebleed and Blood in urine occur. The Body temperature is lower than usual and your faithful companion seems indifferent Regardless, it could also mean that your dog apathetic.

In the worst case trembles all over his body, has Cramps and becomes unconscious.

Symptoms summary

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blue tongue
  • pale or very reddened gums
  • increased saliva, foam in front of the mouth
  • irregular pulse
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Restless breathing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • general unrest
  • Nosebleed
  • Blood in urine
  • Low body temperature
  • Trembling
  • Cramps
  • Apathy
  • Unconsciousness
Few or some of these symptoms may be observed simultaneously in rat poisoning. This depends on the amount of rat poison ingested and the general health of the dog.

Rule out other poisonings

There are many different causes that trigger similar symptoms. So that your veterinarian can quickly initiate the right treatment, you should tell him in great detail about all the complaints. 

Another possible poisoning can be caused by Snail poison - also Slug pellets called - may have been caused. This poison acts a few hours faster than rat poison. It causes palpitations and convulsions.

Poisoning by rat poison can also be associated with a Insect bite or Snake bite can be confused with poisoning. Most often, allergic reactions are triggered, which are very similar to the symptoms of poisoning.

Be severely underestimated Poisoning from chocolate or other toxic foods. Chocolate in particular is life-threatening for our four-legged friends. Your furry friend must never eat food with cocoa powder. If it did happen, vomiting, severe thirst, breathing difficulties and heart failure can be the consequences.

If you suspect that it could be another poisoning, you should tell the vet. This way he can better find out how best to help your pet.

4 steps guide in case of poisoning

1. keep calm!

In an emergency situation, a hectic pace can lead to serious mistakes. The calmer you and other helpers approach the situation, the more deliberate your actions will be. 

Besides, your pet notices excitement immediately. The additional stress would harm him even more. That's why you should definitely calm your dog down. In case of emergency, you must leash him for his own safety.

2. provide first aid

If your protégé is unconscious, you should place him in the stable lateral position bring 

Under no circumstances should he wear a muzzle sling in this situation. If he then vomits, he could choke on it. You should also not make him vomit, because this could block the airway.

Keep monitoring his vital signs such as pulse and respiration. If your loved one stops breathing or you can't feel a pulse, you should immediately start the Resuscitation start 

Perform alternating heart-pressure massage and mouth-to-nose resuscitation. It is helpful if a second person helps you.

In this case, your four-legged friend must be taken immediately to the veterinarian or to a veterinary clinic. If they are already closed, your pet must go to the animal emergency clinic.

3. administer charcoal tablets

This step is only useful if no symptoms have appeared by then. 

Charcoal tabletsThe active ingredient can no longer pass through the intestinal wall and is simply excreted.

Pet owners should always have activated charcoal in the home. They are available in tablet and powder form in pharmacies, drugstores and at the veterinarian. With the veterinarian should previously the right dose be agreed upon. This should also already be prepared for emergencies.

Charcoal tablets help with rat poison as well as other poisonings that enter the circulation from the intestines.

However, they in no way replace treatment at the vet. They only help to minimize the amount of poison until the vet is reached. Thus, the probability of survival of your dog is increased.

4. as soon as possible to the vet

Going to the vet should be done as soon as possible. 

If too much time has passed and your dog is already showing severe symptoms, charcoal tablets will not work. The poison has already passed into the blood. Now only the vet can help.

It is helpful to call the veterinarian or veterinary clinic in advance. This way you know if they are open. In addition, the doctor can already prepare for the case and have the appropriate medication ready.

If possible, you should use a Bring sample of venom, feces, or vomit. This could help the veterinarian determine the type and severity of the poisoning. 

Unfortunately, an exact detection of the poison in the laboratory takes up to a week. Therefore, he will inquire about the exact symptoms of your protégé and then inject him with high doses of vitamin K in case of strong suspicion. 

If the proper therapy is administered in a timely manner, it can cure your dog and he may not have any secondary damage.

Prevent poisoning

So that it does not come so far, you can avoid a poisoning of your quadruped with simple measures or at least reduce the risks.

When rat poison is put out, boards, signs and stickers are obligatory to indicate the danger. That's why every time you go for a walk you should be aware of these Pay attention to warning notices. However, it is also possible that it was simply forgotten or the poison was even put down on purpose.

If you have heard of poisoning in a particular area, be sure to avoid it and get a pick out new route for walking.

You can train your pelt-nose from the beginning on it train not to eat anything while walking. Then even laid rat poison can not become a problem. 

Additionally, when you go for a walk you can pay attention to the way, to quickly detect potential poison. And you should also watch your furry companion. Under no circumstances should he eat anything on the way. 

You can monitor this more easily by always keeping him on a leash and in command during walks.

Recommendation from the vet

Poisoning with rat poison can have serious consequences for our dogs. That is why it is important to always have an emergency dose of charcoal tablets. This can save the life of your pet in case of emergency.

If poisoning has occurred, it is imperative that you remain calm. The most important thing is to see a vet immediately. Only he can really help your dog. The faster the antidote is administered, the better the chances of survival.

And to prevent this from happening in the first place, you should pay special attention to possible poison when you go for a walk. If your dog is trained not to eat anything strange, nothing can happen.

By the way, here are charcoal tablets that I always have at home:

Charcoal tablets
Medicinal coal applicable for diarrhea and poisoning.
One package contains 30 tablets
Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion and it is my personal concern to create medically accurate articles and videos to inform pet owners as much as possible.

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