Are Rat Poison Pellets Toxic to Dogs and Cats? 

As pet owners, our top priority is ensuring the safety and health of our beloved animals. Unfortunately, dealing with rodents in and around our homes often leads homeowners to consider using rat poison pellets. We understand the importance of keeping rats away as they can carry diseases that pose risks to both humans and animals. However, it is crucial to be aware of the potential dangers of rat poison to our pets. While these pellets effectively eliminate vermin, many pet owners are concerned about their toxic effects on their cats or dogs if accidentally ingested. Below we will explore the risks associated with using rat poison pellets and how they can affect your furry family members. 

Risks of Ingesting Rat Poison Pellets 

Rat poison pellets pose a potential danger to dogs and cats, as they can be easily poisoned if they ingest the pellets. These pellets are commonly used in areas frequented by rodents, such as garages, stables, farms, cars, parks, and nature areas. It is important to note that rat poison pellets are available in various colors, including green, blue, tan, and red. Similar looking products with similar names may actually have different types of poisons in them. It is not possible to determine the active ingredient just by looking at the product. However, if the packaging does not clearly show the active ingredient, the EPA registration number can be useful to accurately identify the active ingredient in the product. 

Mouse and rat poisons typically contain four main active ingredients: long-acting anticoagulants, cholecalciferol, bromethalin, and phosphides. Each of these has a different mechanism of poisoning, and treatment options may vary. It is crucial to accurately determine the active ingredient in the ingested product to ensure the right treatment is provided. Corn cellulose and corn gluten are rarely used in these poisons and do not pose a poisoning risk. 

Symptoms of Poisoning 

The toxicity level for both dogs and cats depends on the active ingredient in the pellets. Symptoms may manifest anywhere from two hours to 36 hours after ingesting the pellets. It is vital to remain vigilant and closely observe your beloved pet for any indications of poisoning. Common signs of poisoning to watch out for include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Anorexia 
  • Incoordination 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures 
  • Altered mentation 
  • Paralysis 
  • Increased drinking and urination 
  • Bruising 
  • Swelling 
  • Difficulty breathing 


If your pet has ingested rat poison pellets, you must contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for immediate assistance. If you can, identify the active ingredient in the pellets or take a sample with you to the veterinary clinic so your veterinarian can administer the appropriate treatment. Specific treatment will depend on the active ingredient found in the poison and the symptoms your pet is experiencing. You must seek treatment quickly, so your pet has a better chance of recovery.