Rat Poison Warning in Columbia Heights/Park View

Due to the proliferation of rats in the Columbia Heights and Park View neighborhoods, some residents have taken matters into their own hands by laying rat poison traps throughout the area. Many of these traps, however, were not placed in pet-safe locations and several neighborhood dogs have already taken trips to the emergency room after finding the poisoned baits and eating them. The traps have been sighted on porches, in parks, and even near playgrounds so make sure to keep a watchful eye on your pup as they walk through these neighborhoods.

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While rat poison takes several forms, the formula that has been recently sighted looks like this.

What constitutes a toxic dose varies by poison type, and many of the most popular rat poisons on the market today have symptoms that don’t manifest for 2-5 days after exposure. Symptoms of rat poisoning in dogs vary based on poison type but generally include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.  If you’re unsure if your dog has ingested rat poison, don’t wait! Call the Pet Poison Hotline. If you saw your dog swallow something that bears a visual similarity to common rat poisons, you may be able to safely induce vomiting as standard rat poisons are non-caustic. Always consult with your veterinarian before inducing vomiting.

While these haphazardly-laid traps are an obvious danger, they also speak to a growing frustration with the District’s ineffectiveness at combating a rodent infestation borne out of a decade of mild winters and subpar trash legislation. There is progress on the latter, though: the D.C. City Council is currently reviewing proposed legislation aimed at reducing the amount of outdoor waste stored by businesses and restaurants.

Acknowledging a large uptick in the number of rat dens in D.C., the Department of Health has provided a useful guide for reducing the likelihood of rats in your neighborhood. If you do see rats on your property or in public space, the DoH recommends calling 311 to schedule an inspection and extermination by the Rodent Control Program. If you’re the proactive type, though, you can always participate in the Humane Rescue Alliance’s new “Blue Collar Cats” program to foster a feral guard cat to keep rodents at bay on your property.