There is always an undercurrent of "Beware" for any dog in an urban area, from the heavy traffic to the sometimes inane noise level to, yes, being accidentally poisoned.
Two points make a line and on Thursday, we witnessed two separate incidents of exposed rat poison, one in a local park and one just outside a building. So it's time to ring the warning bells and review keeping pup safe, for the same smells and flavors that attract Mr. Rat to eat the poison are mighty tempting to Miss Pup, too. Meat, peanut butter.... oh, yum!
A little background first.
In New York State and additionally in New York City, to legally purchase and put down rodenticides you need to be licensed. The process is long, requires experience, passing an exam and adhering to layers of regulations. In New York, only a licensed exterminator may purchase pesticides of any type.
But a landlord or superintendent who wants to save money can beat the system, going
online to purchase the very same poisons. Many states do not require licensing and allow anyone to purchase, handle and place these killers.
So penny pinching managers purchase the poisons but do not have knowledge. They often follow "logic" and spread the bate in places rats frequent - around garbage cans, under bushes, in alleyways. The rats smell the peanut butter or the rotting meat and wash up for dinner. But who else follows the same olfactory path to "snack time"? Yup, pup.
And the results for pup are the same as for Mr. Rat, internal bleeding, bleeding which can lead to a painful death.
So let the Once of Prevention proverb kick in here. Then let's talk about the Pound of Cure.
PREVENTION: Know to recognize your poisons. Keep pup well away from them. Well, well away as we know how attractive they smell and how fast pups on a quest can be. If pup picks up a poison block, spare no effort to remove it from his mouth before he swallows.
Rat poisons come in two basic varieties, the colored blocks or pellets and fiberglass shards. Both lead to internal bleeding, the former by high doses of anti-coagulants, the latter by abrasion that causes internal bleeding directly.
Colored blocks are often a blue-green color, about an inch by half an inch by half an inch. However, they can be any color, any size and can be pelletized as well. For safety 101, these should not be left out exposed where a pup or even a child can get at them, but, legally, need to be in a container that is accessible only by a critter the size of a rat or smaller.
Powdered rodenticides tend to contain fiberglass splinters. You can recognize it as it is generally shiny as it reflects light. If you have ever gotten a fiberglass splinter in your finger, you will know how fiberglass cuts and doesn't give up. Imagine what the shards do in the rat's insides.
CURE: Call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline immediately! 800-213-6680. Keep that phone number in your smartphone. There are apps to organize info about your pet but that's a separate blog. Right now, if you have a curious pup, make sure you have that number.
Poison control will calmly ask you a number of questions to determine how serious the situation is. They will call your own vet or a veterinarian ER to prepare for your arrival with everything they will need to save your pup. And they will talk you through as you transport pup to the vet.
On a side note, if you would like a magnet with Poison Control and other emergency numbers, drop BarkMaster@BklynBark.com a note and we'll snail mail you one.
So, whether it is the advent of spring or if it is random that two of our walkers reported spotting open rodenticide in one day, take a moment and learn to avoid trouble.
MORE INFORMATiON: As you know, Brooklyn Bark offers pet owner CPR/first aid classes. We teach a module on Urban Poisons and we invite you to join us at our next class which will be Saturday, March 25th from 10am-2pm.