From eating chicken poop to cat poop, dogs are notorious for their habit of eating feces from other animals and even human babies. But what if a dog eats rat poop? Is rat poop dangerous to dogs?
What happens if my dog ate rat poop? If your dog ate rat poop, you are looking into an array of situations, varying from simple digestive upset to infectious diseases to possible poisoning. Therefore, if your dog ate rat poop, you should call your trusted veterinarian and go for an in-person examination.
In this article, we will talk about the dangers of dogs eating rat poop. We will explain the potential hazardous outcomes and what can be done in each situation. Then, we will focus on some prevention tips.
What Does Rat Poop Look Like?
Okay, let’s start with the basics. In order to know your dog ate rat poop, you need to be familiar with how it looks.
Rat feces are generally found in scattered but large groupings, often near insulations. They are both the size and the shape of an olive. Rat poop also has a distinct smell. The smell is more often associated with rat urine, but if there is rat urine, there will be rat poop near as well.
It is also useful to know the difference between fresh and old rat poop. Namely, fresh rat droppings are dark and shiny, while old droppings are greyish to white and dusty.
In more practical terms, dark and shiny poop means you have a current rat infestation, while white and dusty droppings are indicators of a previous rat infestation.
Will Rat Poop Hurt My Dog?
Yes, rat poop can hurt dogs in several ways. However, it does not mean that every rat poop ingestion accident will have consequences. It all depends on whether the rat is infected or carries a disease.
Depending on the potential issue, the dog’s size might also be a factor. Even if the rat is not ill, the mere consumption of feces may trigger a digestive upset in your dog.
Here is a more detailed list of the potential dangers of rat poop.
Danger number 1: Stomach upset
Contrary to popular belief, dogs have sensitive stomachs. With such delicate tummies, it does not take much to cause upsets. Rat poop is strong and hard to digest, meaning it may easily wreak havoc on the dog’s digestive system.
Some cases of stomach upset can be managed at home, while others require veterinary attention. Regardless of the approach, it is highly advisable to consult a vet before self-treating your dog.
Danger number 2: Roundworms
All rodents can carry worms. To be more precise, they usually carry roundworms from the Toxocara spp. Family. Roundworms pose a serious danger to dogs, especially to young puppies. They can cause stunt growth, diarrhea, and poor coat quality.
Managing worms in dogs is best done by keeping them up-to-date on dewormers. There are hundreds of different deworming products on the market.
Danger number 3: Toxoplasmosis
Rats are often carriers of a protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite causes a disease known as toxoplasmosis. If a dog eats rat poop from a carrier rat, it may develop toxoplasmosis.
The disease can trigger an array of symptoms varying from fever and digestive upset to jaundice and seizures. The treatment for toxoplasmosis in dogs is based on the use of antibiotics and providing supportive care.
Danger number 4: Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is another danger associated with dogs eating rat poop. Dogs usually get infected with leptospirosis when in contact with rat urine. However, rat poop is often contaminated with rat urine.
The disease is caused by bacteria and may result in kidney, liver, and heart problems. In more severe cases, failures of these organs are also possible. The treatment entails antibiotics and supportive care.
Danger number 5: Poisoning
A dog eating rat poop from rats that ate poison may also experience poisoning. For this to happen, the dog would need to be small or eat a significant amount of rat poop. However, the scenario is plausible.
Rodenticide poisoning is life-threatening. The poison disrupts the normal blood clotting processes and causes heavy bleeding. Urgent treatment is paramount for stabilizing the dog and saving its life.
Can Dogs Get Sick from Eating Rat Droppings?
Yes, dogs can get sick from eating rat droppings. Rat droppings may contain worms and other parasites as well as disease-causing bacteria. To make things worse, it can even be contaminated with rat poison.
The extent of the dog’s sickness after eating rat droppings varies. However, in all cases, it is necessary to seek help. The sooner you contact your vet and have your dog examined, the better the outcome.
Can Dogs Get Poisoned from Rat Poop?
Yes, dogs can get poisoned from rat poop. Dogs can get intoxicated with rat poison (rodenticide) in several ways, including:
- Eating the rat bait itself
- Eating poisoned rats (still alive or dead)
- Eating poop from poisoned rats.
Dogs with rodenticide poisoning are in life-threatening danger. A positive outcome is possible, but it requires prompt and adequate stabilization and lengthy treatment.
How Can I Prevent My Dog from Eating Rat Poop?
While we can talk about training your dog to avoid rat poop and commands such as “leave it” or “stop,” the most efficient way of preventing your dog from eating rat poop is avoiding contact in the first place.
In simpler terms, this means preventing rat infestations. Or, in case of ongoing rat infestations, managing it accordingly. Ideally, hire a professional service that will take care of the rat infestation in a dog-friendly way.
Summing Up: What Happens if My Dog Ate Rat Poop
All in all, a dog eating rat poop is a potentially dangerous situation. Since it is hard to determine whether your dog will develop an issue or not, it is best advised to seek veterinary help as soon as you realize your dog ate rat poop.
Also, if dealing with a rat infestation in your home, hiring a professional exterminating service is highly recommended. Using rat bites poses a danger for dogs and is not something you should be playing with.