Ask a vet
Is rat bait dangerous for my pets?
Are my cat and dog at risk of poisoning if I use rat bait around my house?
Yes. Rodents, humans, dogs and cats are all at risk from rodenticides (rat bait). Rodenticides can affect any mammal and birds in the same way as they affect a rodent.
Most rodenticides are anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin, brodifacoum, bromadiolone, and flocoumafen); these interfere with the ability of the blood to clot and lead to haemorrhage and death from blood loss. There are also some rodenticides that work differently to the anticoagulant poisons (such as cholecalciferol and zinc phosphide).
Rodenticide baits are made to attract animals; non-target species (i.e. animals other than the rodents that are the target of the poison such as pets and wildlife) may also be attracted to the baits and ingest the poison, even children are at risk. Non-target species can be poisoned by ingesting the poison itself or by eating another animal that has ingested the poison. So, if for example a cat could get secondary poisoning from eating a rat that had eaten a brodifacoum (anticoagulant poison) bait. Anticoagulant poisoning can lead to uncontrolled bleeding in any part of the body, but the bleeding is often internal and so the poisoned animal may show signs other than external bleeding. These signs might include: difficulty breathing, weakness, lethargy, coughing, vomiting, blackened tarry faeces, pale mucous membranes, bleeding from the gums, seizures, bruising, shaking, abdominal distention, and pain. It can take some days for signs to develop following exposure.
As well as being a danger to children, pets, and wildlife, all of these poisons are a very cruel way to kill rodents. To safeguard children, pets, and wildlife and avoid cruelty to rodents other, more humane, methods of rodent control should be used rather than rodenticides, where at all possible.