Another ‘Teachable Moment’ Courtesy Of Delilah the Chihuahua!

Too close for comfort! Fortunately, Dr L.P. was right there when Delilah found what appears to be a block of mouse or rat bait – IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR BACKYARD!!

Last week we shared a story of how Delilah gave her ‘mom’ Dr. Robin Lewis-Palmer a scare by getting into sugar free gum which can be very toxic to dogs. This week, Delilah gave us another scare – this time with what appears to be rat poison!

Yesterday, Dr. L-P was in her back yard with 5 yr old Portuguese Water Dog, Hudson, and 1 yr old Chihuahua, Delilah, when she noticed Delilah picking up something in her mouth and starting to chew. She was dumbfounded and horrified to see it was a bright blue cube of what appears to be rodenticide bait – aka RAT POISON. This was in the middle of the lawn – how it got there is a mystery. The Palmer’s do NOT use rodenticides on their property and neither do their neighbours. However, a neighbour does recall seeing a crow with a bright blue object a couple of times recently – perhaps this is how the bait ended up in the middle of the lawn?

Once again, we are sharing this story for two reasons:

1. It is again, a startling reminder of just how quickly and easily pets can get into things they shouldn’t! Fortunately, it was little Delilah who found the bait and Dr. L.P. had time to take it away from her – if it had been 54lb Hudson, he would have wolfed it down before anyone even knew it was there. (As an aside, it is a good idea to teach your dogs either an ‘off’, ‘leave it’ or ‘drop -it’ command – while not fool proof, it gives you a chance to prevent them from eating something they shouldn’t.) Again, this happened in the middle of our own backyard – what we expect to be a ‘safe’ place.

2. It is a timely opportunity to remind people of the dangers of rodenticides – especially since many will be heading to their camps or cottages for the long weekend. Rodenticides traditionally were anti coagulants – meaning they prevented blood from clotting and affected animals would bleed to death. More recently however, rodenticides can contain other products that work differently – some contain Vitamin D which causes acute kidney failure and others contain Bromethalin which affects the nervous system and causes seizures and or paralysis – and finally, Zinc or Aluminum Phosphides which produce toxic gas when eaten – nasty stuff all the way around! There is a wide variety of potencies – some products require several doses over several days while for others, a single dose can be fatal. In Canada, they are sold in solid blocks of bait along with a ‘bait station’ that is meant to keep none-target animals from accidently encountering it. Many products are dyed a bright colour – green, blue, red – to help people recognize it as a toxin (although colour does not indicate what active ingredient is).

If you think your pet may have encountered ‘Rat Poison’ or any other potentially harmful substance contact your veterinarian immediately.

1. Have pen and paper handy to write down relevant addresses and or phone numbers as you may be directed to a different veterinary office outside of regular hours.
2. Bring any product wrappers and or vomit from your pet with you to the emergency veterinarian as this may help them determine the dose your dog has potentially been exposed to and help direct appropriate treatment.

For more information about Rodenticide Toxicity in dogs:

Rodenticide Reminder

The PET POISON HELP LINE is an excellent resource for any pet poisoning concerns.