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Can My Pet be Poisoned by Rodent Bait?

Many pet owners are concerned about the safety of their four-legged friends when they are faced with a rodent problem. They are mainly concerned about accidental poisoning through the direct eating of bait or the consuming of a dead rodent that had eaten bait.

Will Rover be harmed if he eats the bait?

This is called primary poisoning – when an animal consumes the bait directly and ingests the poison. Animals are most at risk from unprotected bait stations put out by non-professionals. For example, a homeowner buys some supermarket rodent bait and puts it out in the garage. A pet is in danger of primary poisoning if he encounters this bait and eats it.

Primary poisoning is the most likely cause of pet poisoning. However, a 20 pound dog would have to consume over 4 pounds of the bait that we use at once in order to be harmed. Properly placed and protected bait stations prevent poisons being available in sufficient quantity to cause harm.

Will Fluffy be harmed if she eats a mouse that has died?

The eating of an animal that has died as a result of ingesting poison is called secondary poisoning. It is true that residues of the active ingredient in rodenticides can be found in the liver or stomach of killed rodents. However, this does not necessarily mean that your pet will be actually harmed in any way. In order to have enough of the toxin in a pets system depends on many factors (eg. active ingredient, breed, age, etc).

One possible risk lies in repeated feeding of dead carcasses over a period of time. Rats are more of a risk than mice since they consume much more bait per day. A single dead mouse does not contain enough toxin to cause illness or death to an otherwise healthy animal. Secondary poisoning is unlikely for a few reasons:

  • Modern bait formulations contain very low amounts of active ingredients
  • Rodents aren't likely to die in accessible areas to be consumed
  • Most home infestations do not have so many rodents that there would be enough dead to consume
  • Well cared for pets are not likely to be attracted to dead rodents so much that they would consume so many

The Bottom Line...

Avoid the temptation to use do-it-yourself solutions. You may be able to save some money, but without the training and appropriate safety materials, you may inadvertently harm your pets. It is safer and more effective to use a licensed and fully-trained professional.

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