Can dogs eat rats?

In this brief discussion, we will answer the question “Can dogs eat rats?” We will also talk about the health consequences on dogs if they eat a rat and the possible risk of rat poisoning in dogs. 

Can dogs eat rats?

No, dogs cannot eat rats. Although cats and, in certain situations, dogs may catch mice or rats as a natural activity, eating rodents can have negative effects on our pets. The risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, intestinal worm infections, and secondary rat bait poisoning are among the risks.

What are the health consequences of a dog eating a rat?

There are many health consequences associated with dogs eating rats. The most common are listed below:

They may develop Toxoplasmosis

By consuming rodents or rabbits with toxoplasmosis cysts growing in their muscles, cats and dogs can contract the protozoan infection toxoplasma. Toxoplasma in dogs can cause a variety of symptoms, including diarrhoea, pneumonia, liver illness, and problems of the neurological system. 

The parasite in cats dwells in the intestinal cells and typically does not harm the animal. Cats’ faeces contain cysts that are released by the adult parasite. These cysts are the ones that could be harmful if consumed by canines, people, or cats with compromised immune systems.

Intestinal infections through worms

By consuming mice or rats that have been exposed to Roundworm larvae, cats and dogs can contract the disease. Young dogs and cats frequently contract roundworms, an intestinal parasitic worm. 

These worms compete for nutrients that a dog or cat would typically consume since they feed on the intestine’s contents. Roundworms resemble spaghetti and are between 8 and 12 cm long.

Poisoning by eating a poisoned rat

A minor chance of secondary poisoning exists if a pet eats a rodent that has consumed rat bait. The quantity, kind, and time of the poison the mouse ingested, as well as the number of rodents your pet eats, all affect the level of toxicity your pet will feel. 

For instance, 1-2 rats consumed by a Jack Russel Terrier can be enough to trigger symptoms.

Can dogs get rat poisoning from rat baits?

Yes, dogs can get rat poisoning. Dogs should be kept away from rat baits and it is essential to have them vaccinated against leptospirosis. 

Rats and other rodents carry the deadly bacterial illness known as leptospirosis. Dogs can contract the disease through both direct touch (from eating or being bitten by a rat) and indirect contact (drinking urine-contaminated water or licking contaminated soil).

Infection with the bacterium leptospirosis can result in acute renal failure and liver damage in dogs. Look for fever, lethargy, appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, or a quiet cough as early symptoms. Go to the vet early if you are concerned.

What are the symptoms of rat poisoning in dogs?

The internal organs and nervous system of a dog are severely damaged by the poisonous compounds in rat poison. Since the stomach is the first organ to come into contact with the toxin, vomiting is frequently one of the earliest signs of poisoning. 

Once the poison has reached the bloodstream of the dog, it may not only result in internal bleeding from broken blood vessels but may also show symptoms of neurological distress, including tremors, ataxia, seizures, cardiac irregularities, and irreversible renal failure.

What to do if a dog is suspected of consuming rat poison?

The moment you believe that your dog has taken rat poison, get in touch with the closest accessible veterinary clinic. Generally speaking, you must immediately take your dog to the vet. 

Your veterinarian will ask you to validate the type of rodenticide if the poison was recently consumed.

If available, gather the following information before going to the vet’s office:

  • packaging for rodenticide products
  • Any leftover poison
  • Give specifics regarding the quantity of poison you believe your dog consumed and when it is believed to have happened.

How to keep dogs safe from rats and toxins?

Keep your dog safe from rats by keeping in mind the following tips:

  • Keep your dog on a leash to prevent direct or indirect contact with rats and rat poison.
  • It is always best to know the early signs of illness so you can drive your dog immediately to the vet.
  • Make sure to keep dogs away from rat baits. Dogs are poisoned by rat baits. Some dogs are particularly determined to gnaw objects and open containers. Exercise extreme caution, it is crucial. In rat-infested regions or close to rat baits, never let your dog run free.
  • Without consulting a veterinarian, avoid placing rat baits in the house or backyard. The last thing you want is for your dog to mistake a bait for a treat or a toy when they come upon one.
  • Focus on pest control around your home. Make sure to keep food, particularly pet food, inside. Keep in mind that rats will gnaw and consume anything. All trash should be placed in containers with tight-fitting lids, and compost access should be limited. 
  • Maintaining a clean outdoor BBQ is a wonderful idea. It doesn’t matter if you have pets. Cats and dogs do not discourage the entry of rats.


We answered the question “Can dogs eat rats?” We also talked about the health consequences on dogs if they eat a rat and the possible risk of rat poisoning in dogs.