What is the best pet-safe rat&mouse poison? The only truly safe product should be made with natural ingredients that target mice and rats only. The problem with such rodent poisons is that they may not work for severe infestations. A safe chemical option is warfarin, however, many rodent populations have already become resistant to it. A middle-ground solution is to apply diphacinone baits. They are highly effective but lethal only after multiple feedings. Alternatively, you may choose cholecalciferol-based products that kill large animals only at high doses and do not carry a risk of secondary poisoning.
Pet-Safe Rat&Mouse Poison Comparative Chart
On a 1 to 10 scale, a score of 1 indicates that ingredients are safe to pets. A score of 10 indicates that the bait poses a deadly threat to any animal that consumes it.
When choosing a rodent poison, keep in mind that even a small amount of it can make your pet sick or even kill it. This is compounded by the fact that baits are often generously flavored to make them more appealing to mice and rats. And rodents are not the only ones that are attracted to delicious smells and tastes. Your cat and dog may fall into that trap, too. According to the EPA, more than one hundred of pets die each year from poisoning with rodent control baits.
Types of Poisons According to the Degree of Danger
Although there is no such thing as “safe poison”, some products are more toxic and dangerous to pets than others. This dependence on the ingredients used, their concentration in the bait, and mode of action. The most common type of poison is blood thinners that include bromadiolone, diphacinone, warfarin, and some other ingredients. They work by inhibiting Vitamin K and thus preventing blood clotting. As a result, an animal dies from internal bleeding.
These rodenticides are divided into first-generation and second-generation. The latter ones are more dangerous as they accumulate at higher concentrations in the body. Developed as a more potent poison for rats tolerant to first-generation blood thinners, they are more toxic and kill after just one feeding. If your cat or dog eats one of these poisons, it will experience symptoms like nosebleed, difficulty breathing, weakness, and blood in the urine. In this case, the animal should be treated with Vitamin K1 to resume blood clotting.
- Bromethalin-based rodent control products are highly toxic and can be lethal after a single feeding. Depending on the consumed dose, the first symptoms may appear in a few days or even in a week. This delayed effect is supposed to prevent bait shyness in rats and mice. Bromethalin affects the animal’s nervous system, causing excess fluid to accumulate in the brain. The swollen cells die, something that eventually kills the animal. Poisoned with this chemical, dogs and cats show symptoms like loss of balance, weakness, and seizures. Unfortunately, there is neither antidote nor dedicated treatment for bromethalin, which makes it especially dangerous for pets.
- Cholecalciferol, a form of vitamin D, is commonly used as a rodenticide. At high concentrations, it causes soft tissue mineralization and, as a result, organ failure. Generally, first clinical signs appear after a couple of days following poison consumption. Like bromethalin, it has no antidote but is safer because it is lethal to cats and dogs only at high doses.
Safe for Pets Poisons: Product Reviews
Below, you will find a review of the best pet-safe rodent poisons at a price ranging from $12 to $45. There is a non-toxic product based on only natural ingredients and more potent poisons that kill by causing internal bleeding or soft tissue calcification. You may choose a bait station that comes pre-loaded with poison or baits available as loose pellets and chunks.
EcoClear Products 620100-6D RatX Rat and Mouse Killer | Best All-Natural & Pet-Safe
This rodent poison is the safest solution for pets among all products available. Its unique formula targets only mice and rats, while all other animals, including larger rodents like moles, are not susceptible to the poison. The active ingredients of the RatX are sodium chloride and corn meal gluten. When a mouse or rat consumes the bait, it cannot digest it. This happens because the substance coats the stomach’s lining. Meanwhile, the rodent’s brain receives a signal to stop drinking water so that it eventually dies from dehydration.
The thing is that mice and rats have special sensors in their digestive system that are responsible for thirst perception. The bait blocks these sensors and, as a result, the rodent doesn’t feel thirsty whereas its body requires more liquid. As an added effect, the poison also works by absorbing liquids in the rodent’s intestines. Larger and discolored feces are a sure sign that rodents have eaten this poison. Perhaps, you will see your rats or mice more frequently, which is due to the fact that they become more sluggish and move slower after eating the bait.
What makes this product so awesome is that it works only for mice and rats. Other animals have different digestive systems, so they will not experience the same symptoms. Nor do cats, dogs, or birds have any chance of secondary poisoning. In other words, if they accidentally eat the dead rodent, no harm will follow.
Made from natural ingredients, vegetables, and grains, the product is 100% non-toxic. Since there are no chemicals, the RatX does not contaminate the soil and crops. Besides, there are no special requirements for storing or handling products containing these ingredients. However, we recommend keeping the opened pack sealed and out of reach of children and pets. Sodium chloride is salt and anyone who eats this product in large quantities is likely to feel sick.
There is one more advantage of using the RatX — mummified rodents do not smell, so you will not have to deal with the foul odor of decomposing bodies. And finally, this is the most humane way of poisoning rodents because, unlike other baits, this product does not cause them extreme pain. They just fall asleep and die. The lethal dose for rats is around 50 grams while mice need to consume some 10 grams to get it to work.
Do not place the bait in moist environments as the product must remain dry to be effective. The product comes in convenient pellets that can be poured directly into the burrow holes or mixed with other foods to attract rodents. The downside to this rodent poison is that it is pretty expensive. The 8-ounce pack will cost you around $12, whereas you will need to buy several packs to obtain the desired result.
EcoClear Products 620100-6D RatX: Check the current price
Kaput Rat Mouse Vole Bait – 32 Place Packs 61305 | Best for Hard-to-Reach Spaces
Unlike a number of other brands, this Colorado-based company continues to use warfarin. The problem with this ingredient is that many rodent populations have developed resistance to it. As a result, manufacturers switched to either more toxic formulas or chemicals based on the different modes of action.
Developed in the 1950s, warfarin was a breakthrough in the pest control industry and became a safer alternative to dangerous poisons. At that time, warfarin provided rat control levels of 90% or better, compared with at most 80% that can be achieved with modern acute toxins, according to Rex Marsh from the University of California-Davis. Warfarin is a slow-acting blood thinner that has an antidote, Vitamin K, and prevents bait shyness. An animal needs to eat the poison for several days to get a lethal dose, which is why it is safer to place around pets than acute toxicants.
The EPA ranks warfarin among the safest rodent poisons not just because of its slow action. This chemical compound is quickly metabolized and removed from the body. By the way, warfarin is also used in medicines for humans for blood clot prevention. Experts believe that pure, undiluted warfarin used with high-quality corn can still be as effective as it used to be years ago.
The Kaput brand offers products with a lower toxicity level compared to many other rodent poisons. This rodent bait is made with .025% warfarin and formulated as a loose grain. The container includes 32 convenient place packs with bait that can be distributed inside and outside the house. To control rats, use up to 8 packs per placement with an interval of around 20 feet. For mice, you will need just 1/2 ounce of the bait per placement with an interval of up to 12 feet.
Kaput Rat Mouse Vole Bait: Check the current price
Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx, 4 Lb | Best for Outdoor Use
This rodent poison is made by Motomco, a company that has been developing and producing high-quality rodent control products for over 40 years. Its parent company, Bell Laboratories, is the world’s largest rodent control manufacturer. Bell Laboratories has won multiple environmental awards and today is one of the most trusted brands.
Made with first-generation blood thinner diphacinone, the Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx is not lethal to dogs, cats, and other animals should they accidentally consume it. An animal will die only when multiple doses of this poison are accumulated in the body. Experts describe diphacinone as “middle-ground rodenticide”. It is more toxic than warfarin but is less dangerous than second-generation rodent poisons such as brodifacoum. Diphacinone requires fewer feedings than warfarin and, therefore, is more toxic to pets. Moreover, the veterinary manual says that the half-life in canine plasma of warfarin is only 15 hours, but that of diphacinone is 5 days.
While this product is less safe than the previous one, it is more effective in killing rats and mice. Scientific studies show that diphacinone kills rats at less than half the concentration in bait compared to warfarin. So if you are dealing with a heavy rodent infestation, you should better choose this Tomcat bait. But keep in mind that it is more dangerous for your pet.
Another advantage of this product is its weather-resistant formula. Made with mold- and moisture-resistant chunks, it is the best option for outdoor use. The bait chunks are low in wax and contain human-grade ingredients. They have taste enhancers and are highly palatable to rats and mice. Holes in the bait blocks allow for easy placement in a bait station.
Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx: Check the current price
d-Con Corner Fit Mouse Poison Bait Station | Best 2-In-1 Solution
If you do not want to deal with blood thinners and need something more potent than the RatX, opt for the d-CON products. Initially, this brand produced warfarin poisons but now focuses solely on cholecalciferol. This ingredient is believed to be a safer yet effective alternative to acute toxins. Upon ingestion, cholecalciferol causes soft tissue calcification and kidney failure. It is a safe option to use around pets and humans because the poison dose in the bait is too small to harm mammals larger than rodents. For example, the average-size dog needs to consume around 0.5 ounces of the poison to get a toxic dose.
One more reason for buying this product is that cholecalciferol-based rodent baits do not carry a risk of secondary poisoning. If your dog or cat eats a dead rodent poisoned with this chemical, it will not get any toxic dose at all. This product includes a bait station and 12 refill poison blocks. The box is reusable and weather-resistant, so you can safely use it outdoors. The tamper-resistant design protects the poison blocks so that they cannot be shaken out.
Place the station in the kitchen, bathroom, attic, basement, shed, and garage as well as outside the house. The built-in window will allow you to see whether rodents have eaten all the bait and you need to refill the container. Note that this product will fit only house mice. If you have a rat problem, choose the d-CON rat poison bait station designed specifically for this purpose.
d-Con Corner Fit Mouse Poison Bait Station: Check the current price
Rodent Poisons Most Deadly for Pets
Depending on the level of toxicity, rodent poisons are categorized into three groups. If the product label has a “danger” sign, this means that it is a highly toxic and rarely used rodenticide like zinc phosphide. The “warning” sign refers to rodent poisons like cholecalciferol that can cause serious injury. While “caution” is used on the labels of the least toxic products like warfarin and bromethalin. Unlike the “danger” and “warning” signs, “caution” indicates that the poison can cause only moderate injury.
Motomco Eraze Mouse and Rat AG Rodent Pellets, 5-Pound
The active ingredient of this product is zinc phosphide that is highly toxic but effective against rodents resistant to other types of baits. Upon ingestion, the chemical reacts with stomach acid and produces a toxic gas, which kills the animal. There is no antidote for zinc phosphide, so it will be hard to save the life of your dog or cat if it accidentally consumes the poison. The advantage of zinc phosphide baits is that they kill exceptionally fast and will allow you to quickly eliminate severe rodent infestations. Besides, the substance has a strong odor attractive to rats and mice.
If you decide to use it, keep in mind that zinc phosphide can be used in agricultural areas only. Additionally, we recommend placing baits in tamper-resistant bait stations to reduce risks for your pets. The pail contains 1/2 inch-long pellets designed for both indoor and outdoor use.
Motomco Eraze Mouse and Rat AG Rodent Pellets: Check the current price
Neogen Havoc Rodenticide Rat & Mouse Bait Pellet Pack, 8 lb.Pail
Based on brodifacoum, the strongest blood-thinning rodenticide available, this product poses a lethal danger to non-target animals and humans as well. This poison requires much less intake compared with other blood thinners and one feed may be enough for an animal to take the fatal dose. Besides, brodifacoum residues are found in the liver and tissues of the poisoned rodent, meaning any predator that consumes it, will get a toxic dose as well.
In 2008, brodifacoum was made a restricted-use product by the EPA. Later, that decision was challenged by one of the manufacturers and now this poison remains available to the general public. The demand for brodifacoum is due to its efficiency. In addition to being potent, the Neogen Havoc Rodenticide is made with a mixture of highly attractive ingredients, offering excellent palatability. This product is available in pellets, but there are also options in blocks and meal baits. For safety reasons, the bait contains Bitrex, a bittering agent that makes it distasteful to humans and non-target animals.
Neogen Havoc Rodenticide Rat & Mouse Bait Pellet: Check the current price
Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks, 8lbs
This powerful poison contains bromadiolone, a poison that can be lethal from a single feeding. Because of its high toxicity, the chemical should be applied in agricultural settings. To use it in residential areas, you must package bromadiolone poisons in tamper-resistant bait stations, according to EPA requirements. Pets may also be exposed to bromadiolone by eating a poisoned rodent. This means that the risk of poisoning remains even though your pets have no direct access to the product.
And yet, the reason many professionals opt for bromadiolone poison is its high efficiency. The chemical prevents the body from recycling vitamin K and, and as a result, the animal bleeds to death. Death occurs within several days, so other rodents will not associate the sickness of their relative with the bait. The 8-pound pail contains 64 ready-to-use bait chunks. They are made with holes and can be easily secured in a bait station. Their nibble edges will stimulate rats and mice into chewing.
Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks: Check the current price
Rules to Reduce the Risk of Pet Poisoning
Whatever poison you choose, the primary task for you is to make sure that neither your pets nor children have access to the bait. The first thing to do is to read the product label carefully and follow all its directions. However, there are a number of useful tips that will help you prevent pet poisoning.
- Store the bait safely and is a sealed package. We recommend keeping it in a locked cabinet, on the upper shelves. Never leave the pack of poison unattended.
- Check your bait as frequently as possible and inspect your house for dead rodents. If there are dead rats or mice, remove them immediately. When disposing of dead rodents, place them in a tightly covered garbage bin or any place where your pets cannot access them.
- Place the poison blocks in bait stations. These containers are divided into 4 groups based on how tamper- and weather-resistant they are. Tier I bait stations are resistant to tampering by kids and dogs and can be safely used outdoors. Tier II options are tamper-resistant but can be placed only indoors. Tier III bait stations are resistant only to tampering by kids, not dogs, while Tier IV products can be used only in indoor areas inaccessible to kids and pets.
One of the best options is the Kat Sense Bait Station with double-key locking lids. It is made from sturdy plastic, tamper-resistant, and features metal bars for securing the poison baits. The container withstands exposure to extreme weather conditions. The mounting brackets allow you to secure the bait station to any surface including the wall.
- Even though you are doing everything right, this may not be the case with your neighbors. Ask your immediate neighbors whether they use rodent poisons and whether they place the baits in bait stations.
- If your neighbors use rodent poisons irresponsibly, install a fence. Repair the existing one if there are gaps. This will prevent your pets from getting into your neighbor’s property.
The Downsides of Pet-Safe Rat&Mouse Poisons
“Why doesn’t everyone use only pet-safe poisons?” you may ask. Well, the answer is obvious: powerful poisons that provide a quick knockdown are the least safe options. This is particularly relevant in the case of severe rodent infestations. We have already considered the benefits of pet-safe rodent poisons. Now, let’s take a glance at their downsides.
- Relatively low efficiency. Unfortunately, the safer the product the lower its efficiency. For example, the RatX bait based on sodium chloride and corn meal gluten is recommended only for low to moderate infestations. Warfarin baits may turn out to be ineffective where rodents have developed resistance to this chemical.
- Quantity matters. Many homeowners make this mistake: they place large amounts of low-toxic poisons, forgetting that quantity makes up for potency. For example, d-CON cholecalciferol baits are generally safe for pets but high doses can kill any cat or dog.
- A false feeling of safety. Poison is not chewing gum and there is no such thing as a safe poison. In most cases, when we refer to a rodent bait as “pet-safe”, we mean that a small amount of this substance will not cause immediate death. However, if your pet consumes it several times, it is likely to die or be harmed in any other way. And you won’t even notice how your pet gets a toxic dose. That is why it is so important to handle rodenticides very carefully, no matter how safe they are said to be.