The most common rat poison that affects dogs is Dicumarol. It contains warfarin, which is the main ingredient in most rat poisons. Warfarin thins the blood and acts as an anticoagulant. Its action could cause the dog to bleed to death internally before you became aware of it.
Symptoms of Dicumarol Poisoning
Primary indicators consist of lethargic behaviour, rejection of food, coughing up bloody sputum and producing neon-green stools. D-Con and some other rat poisons contain a bright neon-green dye as an indicator in cases of poisoning. A dog can eat a poisoned rat and contract the poisoning, but this rarely happens naturally.
If you caught the dog ingesting the poison or think that it happened in the last hour or so, the first step may be to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide, salted water or ipecacuanha. If your pet is small, try to give him a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide; for bigger dogs, a shot glass amount is appropriate. However, this may not be adequate unless the dog vomits immediately after he has eaten the poison. Take the pet to a veterinarian and have the dog's stomach pumped.
Vitamin K Antidote
The antidote for Dicumarol is Vitamin K, which must be injected into the animal for several days in a row until the pet is stable. Then the veterinarian will prescribe the Vitamin K in tablet form. This treatment must continue for about three weeks. The veterinary strength is 25 mg/tablet. The human formulation is 5 mg/tablet. The vet will prescribe the required dosage. If the dog has lost a lot of blood, he will probably need to spend a few days in the hospital. The pet will be extremely weak and may require blood transfusions and IV treatment for nourishment.
Other Antidotes to Warfarin
In addition to Vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma or a coagulation-factor concentrate such as prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) is most frequently administered. This will optimise the complete reversal of warfarin. Take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible; his life depends on your quick response.
Poison-Control Help Numbers
You can call for poisons advice in the UK on 020 7188 0200. The number does not have to be used only in emergency situations. The operators will put you directly in touch with an expert so that you can ask questions about poisoning and poison prevention. You can also call your local emergency number.