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An Emergency Warning for Cobble Hill - and head's up elsewhere

Please let me share an email we received this morning. It may be passed by now - or not - but this is a good reminder to review exterminator poisons in New York.

Here's the email we received:

We have information that there is rat poison - in the open - on the sidewalks on Butler St between Smith and Hoyt. Reportedly, two dogs have died after which EPA was alerted and cleaned it up. We share this warning to be extra careful and avoid that area. We have heard of this type of thing before so we know to always be careful. Sometimes landlords or their superintendants put out poison to kill rodents or pigeons. However, we have heard that whoever was putting out the poison was targeting dogs. Whether there was malicious intent, there certainly was or is poison exposed which must be avoided. Please be careful. As always, never let your dog eat anything off the street. If they do, and you suspect it was poison, contact your vet or the closest emergency vet immediately.

This is unverified but, as we said, a good heads up to discuss exterminator poisons.

Exterminator poisons are delicious. Of course! They are made to attract and be ingested by rats, mice and other creatures unwanted in our homes. Their effects are horrid, causing internal bleeding and death. Horrid for the poor vermin and definitely not what you want to have happen to your pup.

When Brooklyn Bark teaches pet CPR/first aid (next class February 11th) we include a module that we wrote on Urban Poisons. These are primarily what we call "exterminator poisons" but also include antifreeze and many cleaning agents.

Exterminator poisons are especially lethal. They are supposed to be. In New York State exterminators are licensed by examination and have strict reporting and recertification requirements.

Not so in many other states and not so on the internet.

Of course, exterminators charge for their services. But a landlord or a superintendant can purchase the same poisons exterminators use via the internet. Not being trained in how to apply them, these "cost-cutters" are a recipe for disaster as they often put then in places beloved by vermine (such as around garbage cans or tree roots) and easily accessible to doggie noses.

What's an owner/walker to do?

The first line of defense, as with choking on chicken bones or splintering sticks, is vigilance. Brooklyn Bark walkers have very strict training about watching their pups closely but even a closely watched pup has speed on his side and can get into trouble.

So what to look out for and what to do if all else fails.


  1. If you see anything shiny, especially around a tree base or trash area do NOT think Christmas. Stay away!!!! These are ground up bits of glass mixed with delicious bate. The idea is the glass gets on the critter's fur, he licks it off and bleeds internally until death.

  2. If you see pellets or blocks - they can be red, green, yellow or white - beware. Blocks are usually about an inch by a quarter 3/8 inch in diamenter but can vary. These are bait laced with high doses of "blood thinner". Again, eat these and bleed to death internally. There are others that contain neurotoxins and who knows what. None of it nice.


  1. If you see pup ingesting, get him to the vet immediately, even before symptoms appear. The sooner treatment is begun, the more chance of saving your furry one. If you can bring a sample of the poison to the vet, more the better for him or her to know immediately how to treat, but DO NOT TOUCH it with your bare hands. Pick it up in a poop bag using proper technique, or paper, plastic or other barrier to your skin.

  2. If you observe any of the following symptoms, immediately phone your vet or a pet ER such as VERG or Blue Pearl and prepare to transport:

    1. Vomiting

    2. Diarrhea

    3. Excessive salivation

    4. Breathing difficulties

    5. Excitability

    6. Seizures

    7. Loss of consciousness


  1. Bring pup to vet immediately. In the case of poisoning, we recommend taking pup to the closest of the excellent emergency vet clinics in NY. They work very closely with your family vet who will, likely, do the follow up. But emergency vets are more tuned to emergency response.

    1. In Brooklyn we have

      1. VERG North - 318 Warren St.

      2. VERG South - 2220 Flatbush Ave.

      3. Blue Pearl - 32 4th Avenue.

Don't want to memorize these locations? There is an app by Pet Tech where you can not only store emergency pet info but all health history for each of your pets, local vet, nearby vets when traveling, etc. It's available for iPhone and Android and can be the best $3.99 you ever invested. PetSaver.

Alternately - or in addition - you can request your FREE emergency magnet from Brooklyn Bark. Drop a note to and she'll snail mail one out to you.

Bottom line: we live in an urban jungle where unscrupulous building maintenance practices can put a curious pup in serious harm's way. Be vigilant and know what to do if vigilance fails.

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