Take responsibility for your use of poisons

POISONED? Get expert help. Call POISON HELP—800.222.1222

Lots of folks use poison to kill living things that they don’t want to have around them any more.

Rodenticides are what we call poisons that kill rodents, but those same poisons can also kill many other living things, including pets, small children, wildlife, birds, and waterlife.

And now these poisons are “ultra-strong.” For example, Audubon keeps track of poisons’ effects on birds: “All birds [can be] victims of ‘second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides’ used by exterminators, farmers, and homeowners. They’re found in such brand names as d-Con, Hot Shot, Generation, Talon, and Havoc, and they sell well because of our consuming hatred of rats and mice.”

Rodenticide toxicity is a very common issue for pet and wildlife veterinarians. The everyday and everywhere use of a variety of highly toxic compounds to control unwanted rodent populations has historically proved a problem for a wide variety of animals. Very few of us who spread these ultra-strong poisons will ever know how many animals or birds died or eggs were deformed when the poison spreads farther than we meant it to spread. This happens for 4 reasons:

1st – Many of these poisons are formulated as bait, designed to attract. The problem is that baits can also attract animals and birds that aren’t the target, including pets, small children and wildlife. They attract and can kill these because the poison is made to be “tasty, stealthy, effective, and quite deadly.”

2nd – These poisons can kill unintended creatures because once the target creature is dead, it becomes poisonous food for another animal or bird that is not a target.

3rd – Confusing packaging and labeling: “The problem of rodenticide toxicity is made far worse by the fact that the baits are made of many different compounds with many different sorts of packaging,” and companies aren’t going to tell you any more about the dangers of their poison than the law requires them to tell you—and they’ll do it in the teeniest tiniest size words you’ve ever seen.”

4th – “Pet owners are often misled into believing some rodent poisons are safe for use around pets.” So, folks who are using D-Con right now probably don’t even know that it is one of the poisons that will kill a bald eagle if it eats a gopher, mole, or rat that is dead from D-Con. But there are now several categories of poisons:

1) the ultra-strong products that kill not only the target, but stay poisonous and kill anything that eats that first animal,

2) some poisonous products that say they will kill only the first creature—“no secondary poisoning”, and

3) some poisonous products that say “no secondary poisoning” and say that they are “safe for pets and children.”

Do your own online search for current information— using “no secondary poisoning” and “safe for pets” in the search box.

Below you’ll find a couple of sites/products we found using these terms.

Rules for all Poisons

Rule #1 for ALL poisons: Do not expose children, pets, or non-target animals to poison.

Rule #2 for ALL poisons: Store unused product out of reach of children and pets.

Rule #3 for ALL poisons: Apply bait in locations out of reach of children, pets, domestic animals and non-target wildlife, or in tamper-resistant bait stations. These stations must be resistant to destruction by dogs and by children under six years of age, and must be used in a manner that prevents such children from reaching into bait compartments and obtaining bait. If bait can be shaken from bait stations when they are lifted, units must be secured or otherwise immobilized. Stronger bait stations are needed in areas open to hoofed livestock, raccoons, bears, or other potentially destructive animals, or in areas prone to vandalism.

Rule #4 for ALL poisons: Dispose of product container and unused, spoiled, or unconsumed bait as specified on the product’s label. NEVER put poison into the landfill; give it to the Hazardous Waste people.

Online information

Alternatives to poisons

Do your own search for current information—using “alternatives to poisons” or “organic”, etc.

Rodenticides that are safe for pets and children AND cause no secondary poisoning
Do your own online search, using “no secondary poisoning” and “safe for pets”
EcoClear: Rat X

Rodenticide that causes no secondary poisoning
Do your own online search, using “no secondary poisoning”
Organic – Terad3 Ag Blox and Pellets; First and only rodenticides registered by the EPA for ‘organic production’.
Not organic

Overview of Rodenticide Poisoning— what the veterinarian needs to know
Take the package with you to the vet: the active ingredient(s)

List of the most common forms of rodenticide—all potentially lethal
Symptoms and Identification of the type of poison