What to do if your pet has ingested a rodenticide

All rodenticides are potentially toxic to any mammal, not just the species targeted by the rodenticide use.  Any animals that were not the target of the rodenticide but ingest rodenticides need immediate emergency care.  It takes very little of any of these products to harm or kill pets; thus, immediate action is needed if ANY amount of a rodenticide is ingested or suspected to have been ingested. Veterinarians: See Rodenticides: Clinical aspects.

1.    Stay calm and immediately contact your veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435), or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).

2.    Tell the veterinary team all you know about the product, including the product’s name, active ingredient, and EPA registration number.  All of this is on the product’s label and is essential because the brand name alone is often not enough for personnel to identify the active ingredient.  In addition, they will likely ask you questions about the animal (species, weight, etc.), the potential quantity of rodenticide ingested, and how long ago the pet ingested it.

3.    You may be instructed to make your pet vomit.  If so, follow the instructions given.  If you are instructed to take your pet outside to vomit, do so because some rodenticides contain zinc phosphide, which is converted in the pet’s stomach to phosphine gas, which can be toxic to you.  

4.    If your pet vomits indoors and had ingested a zinc phosphide rodenticide, or if the vomit smells strongly of garlic, evacuate the area and call 911 because the phosphine gas in the vomit is also dangerous for humans.  Phosphine gas smells strongly of garlic. It may cause headache, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, staggering, and even death.  If people around the animal or its vomit experience any questionable symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately.

5.    Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.  If at all possible, take the packaging of the rodenticide (safely wrapped to prevent further exposure) with you to your veterinarian or have a family member or friend find the packaging and join you with it at your veterinarian’s facility.