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. farmingfriends

    So glad to hear that the Contessa is well. Rat poison is a worry. My cats seem to know when an animal has died in unsavoury circumstances that they are not involved in as they won’t touch the rat or bird but it doesn’t stop us worrying. I hope that the second lot of vet advice is good news and all is well for the Contessa.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Vida,

    I did ring our vet and she reckoned that because the dog had vomited so quickly she would be OK. I was assured that there was no need to take her in for an examination.

    However, I will ring another vet for advice, just to be sure that all is OK.

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

  3. Hello,

    I don’t want to frighten you but I think you should have a vet check your dog. Many times rat poison works by causing internal bleeding from the major organs. The animal seems fine until it reaches a severe stage where you may see bleeding from the nostrils, or they just collapse. Your dog may need Vitamin K immediately. It is definitely possible for a dog to get poisoned by eating a poisoned rat. Please at least call your vet and consult. Tell him/her what type of poison you use. I truely hope your dog is OK.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joanna,

    The rat problem in the village is a nightmare. Surrounded by studs it is a haven for rats.

    The terriers sound like a great idea. I will investigate whether there are any around here. The Min Pins are ratters but rarely catch a rat. The kill a lot of mice, moles and sadly baby birds. Like the terriers they work in a pack.

    Great to hear that your Jack Russells have solved your rat problems.

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for the advice. Even though I am very careful with the poison the danger is the dying rats.

    The Contessa seems to be fine. Just a bit more clingy than usual. The vomiting seems to have been her saving grace.

    Hi Kathyann,

    I followed your advice and rang the vet. They confirmed the fact that the vomiting had probably removed the poison. They advised to keep a close eye on her as they have antidotes. The poison is slow acting so she needs to be watched for a week or so. At the moment she seems fine.

    Hi Amanda,

    Under the table it is pretty dark. It gave me a fright when I touched the rat’s tail!

    Hi Mildred,

    I have been battling with the rats for a few weeks now and though that I’d cracked the problem as they had stopped taking the bait. Perhaps new rats have moved in. I’m going to spend a good hour or so this morning checking for dying/dead rats in the garden.

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your wise advice. Luckily the Min Pins feel the cold so are not out hunting much in the winter. I am very careful with the poison.

    Friend of mine have had great success with rat traps in their duck run. Perhaps I will give these a go as they could be set in the chicken run well away from the Min Pins. My friends put the traps in cages so the ducks can’t get caught in the traps.

  5. Min Pins Berry and Basil want to offer their congratulations to The Contessa on eating such a delicious meal! I hope she is well.

    I worry about our dogs eating a poisoned rat too! I always double check our pest mans work; I am very particular about how the bait boxes are secured. The shed is where the rats seem to congregate, they like the water of the fountain we have by the shed door, and the fertilizer/food and the shelter found inside the shed. We have trained the dogs to stay out of the shed, so the bait is reasonably safe inside, but just to be sure the box is weighted down with bricks. The bait box out side the shed is securely stuck behind the branches of the vine growing on the shed and further secured with concrete scraps; I check it often.

    The dogs are not allowed free run of the garden; we do not have a dog door or cat flap for them to use, they have to ask us to open the door, so I know if they are in or out. If they have been out for a long while I look around for them and usually find them stealing berries or sleeping in the sun; if I hear a particular yippy bark I know to hurry out and see what they have caught!

  6. Hope the MP’s are ok now, poor things. I am sure the poison isn’t a problem once it has been ingested by a rat, but it is still such a worry 🙁

    IIt seems to have been a really bad year for rats (or a good year for them, depending which way you look at it). They are horrid creatures, and as we have said before, they carry the weils disease. uugh.

  7. How worrying. Hope she’s okay. I wouldn’t cope well with a ratin the house, dead or alive.

  8. I hope Contessa is ok ,I dread to think of anything like that happening to any of our animals ,what a worrying time for you .I would still ring the vets to be on the safe side !Let us know how you go on !

  9. anne waller

    oh lord, what a worry for you. fingers crossed that everything is ok. when i had my springer, it was always my biggest fear when we were having a poison blitz. i knew he couldn’t get at the actual bait but the dead and dying rats are easy prey for a dog – or a cat.i am sure that the fact that the contessa vomited will be her saving grace. vomiting is the body’s natural defense against eating something that will not agree with us.look out for loose bowels too! another way the body purges poisons.
    please let us know that everything is ok.

  10. What a horrible thing, and a huge worry for you. I hate poisoning rats, but it is sometimes the only thing to do (they sometimes get into one of our flat rooves).

    We have two Jack Russells, and since their arrival, no problem with rats … before that, I used to phone for the ratman to come with his terriers and flush them out – it’s a joy to see dogs being worked in this way, quicker and less dangerous than poison … ask around, you really may find it gives you peace of mind, which the poison never will again

    Good luck – and I hope your dogs are okay

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