Will My Dog Get Sick If He Eats A Poisoned Mouse?

Dog owners often worry about the possibility of their pet encountering and consuming poison, which can lead to illness or even death if not treated promptly. One potential yet dangerous scenario is when dogs ingest poisoned rodents. Rodents are often poisoned with anticoagulant rodenticides intended to control pest populations. However, these poisons can also be harmful, or even lethal, to domestic animals if consumed.

Knowing the warning signs, first aid steps, and treatment options for rodent poisoning in dogs is crucial. Awareness and quick action can literally save your dog’s life. Educating yourself ahead of time gives you the power to respond appropriately if the unthinkable occurs. Being prepared helps ensure your beloved companion has the best possible chance of recovery.

Signs of Rodent Poisoning

Some of the most common symptoms that indicate a dog has ingested rat poison include:

  • Vomiting, particularly with blood present
  • Bloody stool or diarrhea
  • Bruising on gums or belly
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Seizures or muscle tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Increased thirst and urination

According to Poison Control, the symptoms depend somewhat on the type of rodenticide consumed, but bleeding problems are common. Anticoagulant poisons prevent blood clotting, leading to internal bleeding or bleeding from the nose or gums. Other symptoms like vomiting and lethargy are signs of poisoning in general.

Prompt veterinary attention is crucial if a dog is showing any of these symptoms and may have ingested poison. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chances of recovery.

How Rodent Poisons Work

Most anticoagulant rodenticides kill rodents by preventing blood clotting and causing fatal internal bleeding (1). They inhibit vitamin K epoxide reductase, an enzyme needed for the synthesis of vitamin K-dependent blood clotting factors. This disrupts normal blood clotting and the rodent eventually dies from uncontrolled bleeding (2).

Some of the most common anticoagulant rodenticides are warfarin, bromadiolone, difenacoum, brodifacoum, and difethialone. These poisons prevent the recycling of vitamin K in the body, leading to a progressive depletion of clotting factors over several days. The rodent does not die immediately, but will eventually succumb to internal bleeding after 3-7 days (3).

The delayed toxicity allows rodents to continue eating the poisoned bait over several days, resulting in a lethal dose. However, it also increases the risk of secondary poisoning in non-target animals that consume the rodent carcasses.

Dangers to Dogs

Rodenticides containing anticoagulant compounds like brodifacoum or bromadiolone can be extremely toxic to dogs who ingest poisoned rodents https://diypestcontrol.com/secondary-poison-concerns. These types of poisons prevent blood from clotting properly and can lead to uncontrollable bleeding. Even small amounts can be lethal. Dogs are especially susceptible because they ingest the entire rodent carcass, consuming a large dose of the poison.

The anticoagulant bait accumulates in the liver of the poisoned rodent over several days before killing it. This builds up the concentration of poison. When a dog eats the rodent, the poison is transmitted to the dog’s system. The toxins prevent the dog’s blood from clotting, leading to spontaneous uncontrolled bleeding. This can occur anywhere from 3 to 5 days after ingestion.

Bleeding symptoms may start as subtle issues like gum bleeding but rapidly progress to more severe internal bleeding and bruising. Eventually, dogs may collapse from extensive blood loss leading to shock or severe anemia. Rodenticide poisoning can be fatal for dogs if not treated quickly https://animalpoisons.com.au/news/rat-poison-and-dogs.

First Aid Steps

If you suspect or know your dog has ingested rat poison, you should take the following emergency actions:

  • Immediately contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic. Let them know the type of poison ingested and approximate time.
  • Induce vomiting if the poison was ingested within the last 2 hours. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide, given 1 teaspoon per 5 lbs of body weight.
  • Bring a sample of the poison and packaging with you to the vet clinic.
  • Carefully observe your dog for symptoms like lethargy, bleeding, difficulty breathing, etc. Monitor gum color.
  • Get your dog to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible for bloodwork, stabilizing care, and antidotes.

Taking quick action is essential, as rodenticides can be lethal without prompt veterinary treatment. Call poison control or your vet first before inducing vomiting, as the type of poison may require different steps.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If a dog shows symptoms of possible rodenticide poisoning, the veterinarian will run blood tests to check for internal bleeding and abnormal clotting times. They may also do imaging tests like X-rays or ultrasounds to look for any internal bleeding [Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning in Dogs].

The main treatment for rodenticide poisoning is to administer Vitamin K1, which can help counteract the effects of the poison. Vitamin K1 promotes proper blood clotting and prevents internal hemorrhage. The vet will give Vitamin K1 injections or orally for several weeks, with gradual reduction in dose over time. They will monitor blood clotting times to determine when to stop treatment [Anticoagulant Rodenticide (Warfarin and Congeners) Poisoning in Animals]. If severe bleeding has occurred, the dog may need transfusions of blood or plasma, along with supportive care like fluids and nutrition.

Prevention Tips

To prevent your dog from eating a poisoned rodent, there are several steps you can take:

  • Remove any potential food sources like pet food bowls, garbage cans, and compost bins that may attract rodents. Store pet food in sealed containers.
  • Use humane rodent traps and capture/release methods instead of poison baits or traps (1).
  • Seal any cracks or holes where rodents can enter the home.
  • Trim back vegetation and clean up any woodpiles or debris where rodents may nest.
  • When outdoors with your dog, keep them on a leash and look ahead on trails for any dead rodents. Avoid areas where poisons may have been used.
  • If using legal poisons as a last resort, use bait stations instead of loose pellets, and place them out of your dog’s reach (2).

Being proactive with rodent control and proofing can help prevent encounters between your dog and poisoned mice or rats.

(1) https://www.pumpkin.care/blog/dog-ate-rat-poison/

(2) https://be.chewy.com/dog-ate-rat-poison/

Rodent Control

There are more humane and safer alternatives to poison for controlling rodents. Using poisons often leads to secondary poisoning of non-target animals when rodents are eaten after ingesting the toxins. Instead, focus on exclusion, trapping, and removing attractants.

Seal any openings into your home that are larger than 1/4 inch to exclude mice and 1/2 inch to exclude rats. Use materials like steel wool, copper mesh, cement, or hardware cloth. Trim vegetation back from the home and keep lawns short to reduce hiding spots. Remove debris piles and food sources like pet food, bird seed, and fallen fruit.

Live traps or snap traps can humanely capture rodents to then release or dispose of them. Traps should be set along baseboards, in attics, garages, and anywhere droppings are found. Bait traps with peanut butter, nuts, dried fruit, or bacon. [1]

For a non-lethal option, dry ice or carbon dioxide can be used to force rodents out of burrows to then exclude them. Ultrasonic devices, owl decoys, and predator urine can also help deter rodents without poisoning them. Focus on prevention and use these humane alternatives for safe rodent control.


With prompt veterinary treatment, most dogs have a good chance of making a full recovery from rodenticide poisoning.1 However, the prognosis depends on several factors including the specific rodenticide ingested, the amount consumed, and how quickly treatment is administered. Some poisons like bromethalin are more toxic with a higher fatality rate.

For anticoagulant rodenticides like warfarin, the prognosis is generally good if treated within 2-3 days of ingestion. With aggressive therapy like vitamin K supplementation and possibly blood transfusions, most dogs recover fully within a few weeks. However, delayed treatment beyond 3 days carries a guarded prognosis.2

Overall, the sooner treatment begins, the better the chances are for the dog to make a full recovery. Close monitoring by a veterinarian is essential even after initial improvement, since some toxins can cause delayed effects. With prompt, appropriate care the prognosis for rodenticide poisoning is often favorable.


In conclusion, it’s crucial for dog owners to be aware of the serious risks poisoned rodents can pose. While the effects of rodenticides may not be immediately apparent, they can cause severe illness or even death if a dog ingests a poisoned mouse or rat. Being vigilant about potential sources of exposure, reading packaging labels, cleaning up dead rodents properly, and using alternative pet-safe methods of pest control are all key prevention steps. If poisoning is suspected, immediate veterinary care can greatly improve the prognosis. By staying informed and taking preventive action, dog owners can help protect their beloved pets from tragic accidents. The takeaway is clear: caution and prevention are vital when dealing with rodenticides in areas frequented by dogs.

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