Rat poison, or rodenticides, is a chemical substance used to control populations of rodents. Rodenticides can be used to kill rats, chipmunks, squirrels, voles, mice, woodchucks, and beavers. It can be found in many areas, including homes, garages, stables, farms, parks and more. Rat poison comes in different forms, making it easily accessible and increases the chances of a pet ingesting it. If you have pets in your home, it is important to take precautions and make sure that rat poison is safely stored and inaccessible to them.

Understanding the Effects of Rat Poison

Rat poison is typically made up of a neurotoxin called bromethalin which causes swelling of the brain, tremors, and paralysis in those that ingest it. Other types of rat poison contain anticoagulants such as bromadiolone, diphacinone, and brodifacoum, which can cause severe bleeding. Cholecalciferol is also an ingredient found in some rat poison, which can cause high blood calcium that leads to kidney failure. Rat poison is usually placed in baited food to attract rodents, but it can also entice your pets, making it important to take precautions and store it safely.

Clinical Signs of Rat Poison Ingestion

It is essential to keep a close watch on pets when rat poison is present around your home. Pets may be attracted to the scent and attempt to lick it, leading to poisoning. Additionally, pets could be poisoned by consuming a rat that had ingested rat poison. If you discover a dead animal on your property, properly dispose of it before your pet encounters it. Symptoms of rat poison ingestion can appear as quickly as one day after consumption, but may take up to several days to manifest. Typical signs of rat poison ingestion include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Coma
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


If you suspect that your pet has ingested rat poison, call Pet Poison Helpline® and take them to the clinic immediately. Your pet may be at risk for severe symptoms and will need medical treatment. Your vet will be able to provide the proper medication. They may administer IV fluids to combat dehydration and anti-seizure medications if your pet is having seizures. Depending on the type of rat poison ingested, your pet may also receive vitamin K to address potential internal bleeding. For further questions or concerns regarding rat poison, contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661.