The Cottage Smallholder

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Dogs and poisoned rats

The Contessa restingLast night I returned from work and found the dogs squabbling. I suppose our three and Great Aunt Daisy Beatyl make up a pack. A flock of hens can be tricky to manage but a small pack of dogs can be a nightmare if you are tired and just want to chill. If they are not dozing in their baskets they are sorting out their pecking order. Inca, the youngest, challenges each dog in the pack regularly. It is not restful.

Yesterday The Contessa growled and snapped for far longer than usual. The key dog beds are two small cat igloos that sit under the table. Eventually I knelt down to investigate.

The Contessa was protecting her kill.

A large rat was lying beside her. Belly up. Thick tail protruding from the dog bed. And she was eating the guts of the rat.

Danny eventually removed the rat. After a bit of a tussle. The Contessa flew about the kitchen, rat in jaw until D lost his temper. The rat fell to the floor and every living thing retreated to a safe pace including me.

I Googled “dog ate poisoned rat” and found this article just as The Contessa was violently sick. Hopefully this was the cure. She drank loads of water and eventually settled. According to the article if your dog happens to eat rat poison it should take a few days to materialise. Last night I considered ringing the 24 hour locum vet. This morning The Contessa was so perky I reckoned that she was fine. We are watching her carefully.

We must kill hundreds of rats a year by putting down poison. If a dying rat is killed by the Min Pins they would savour the tasty bits without us knowing.

I reckon that the dog in the article ate pure poison. In the past, Rat Catchers have assured me that a poisoned rat eaten by a dog will not kill the dog. Now I’m not so sure.

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  1. Hi, came across this article only 20 minutes ago but my brothers collie (working farm dog) called fly died a few days ago after eating part of a poisoned rat. We didn’t notice the symptoms until it was too late but there was a lot of blood loss in her stools and she sadly passed away on the vets examination table. That would tally with vidas explanation regarding the effects of poison on the major organs.
    Harsh lesson to learn but need to be really careful guys with laying bait / poison and cleaning up the dead or dying vermin especially if you have dogs.
    If in any doubt take your dogs to the vet if you are at all suspicious or they are even slightly off form.

  2. Margaret Thorson

    The danger to pets depends on the type of rat poison used. In the US there is a brand called Quintox that does not hurt an animal or bird that eats the poisoned rat. I don’t know what is available in the UK but a bit of research would be worthwhile. We have to resort to poison only rarely but when we do we avoid the blood thinner types for their danger to our cats and the local raptors and owls.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Margaret

      Thanks for your advice. I will research Quintox in depth – a quick flick on the internet informed me that it might be harmful to dogs – scroll down to see. But this is only one site.

      Mice have been a big problem this year – we have been using traps – humane and lethal. I agree with you poisons are a last resort.

  3. michelle sheets

    Hi Kerri,
    I read your story, and am so sorry for your loss. Loosing a pet in a senseless manner is always so confusing and horrific, you always replay it over and over tring to figure out if you did anything wrong (well, I do, at least).

    I have 6 house cats. They are all house cats after a accident to one of them that left me $1000 poorer. This was also a cat that all ready had feline aids from a cat fight in the neighborhood (That cost me $200). I did save his life, but after that I built a “cat run”, 8’x8’x10′ that all my cats have access to through a cat flap I installed in a window. Its just chicken wire, wood, and a stump that I put inside the cage for the cats to play on. They are safe now, its around the back of my house so no one can take potshots at them, and they aren’t out roaming, bringing back snakes and songbirds,
    (I always hated that part, I felt so bad!)

    Once again, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kerrie

    So sad to read about your story.

    No one wants cats pooing in their garden but very few would poison visiting cats. There are so many legal and cheap ways of keeping cats off a garden.

    I love my garden and am also fond of cats.

    Perhaps you could get a house cat? I’ve discovered that these can be very happy from working with clients who have house cats (they mainly live in the local towns where cats are targeted by teenagers with air guns looking for prey).

    ATM many people live in desperately unhappy, sick communities in the UK – where people and pets are targeted by airguns wielded by people that need to feel in control. Dangerous times that I hope will pass very soon.

  5. kerrie

    Itwont mean anything to you but I can’t find any one to tell my story to. I just want to scream.
    My two cats came from rescue homes and they were adorable. We lovred them very much and they loved ue too shown in their actions.I moved from scotlaand to marton mbro with my old king charles loved dog an d 6 yrs old cats. with in a year all three were dead. they died a most horrific death vet believes anti freeze poison. Theres nothing I can do I wish Icould prov itbut both neighbours are in my eyes suspects as they love their gardens very much. My three daughters, husband and myself are still traumatised . if any one wants to star a campaign please include me.
    Thank you for listening. I feel helpless.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kathleen

    Thank you for leaving such a positive comment about my blog!

    It must have been very frightening when your cat started vomiting blood. I do hope that he remains well.

    The Contessa seems to be fine, fingers crossed. Chickens are a joy (apart from the rats). I’d love to see photos if you keep chickens in the future.

  7. I love your blog and read it whenever I can. And, while I don’t have dogs, I do have cats that frequent my neighbors’ yard (that’s where the chickens are!). One of my cats started vomiting blood; I took him to the vet, who decided he must have eaten a poisoned rat. I had to give the little guy vitamin K capsules to “thicken” his blood.

    He’s okay now, but I worry every time he coughs. I hope your dogs remain well. And, if I ever get my own chickens, I’ll send you pictures. I read your blog mostly for the chicken stories!

    Coushatta, Louisiana, USA

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sara

    The other vet confirmed that advice of the first. Watch and wait. The C seems fine so I think that all is well but I will be keeping a beady eye on her.

    Your cats are cleverer than the MPs.

    Rats are such a nuisance!

    Thanks for dropping by.

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