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Poisoning in pet rodents

If you suspect that your pet rodent has been poisoned, it's best to stay calm and contact your vet immediately - never watch and wait. Here's more on what you should do and how to keep your pet safe.

female domestic top-eared rat in an enriched cage

If you think your pet rodent has been poisoned

  1. Stay calm and remove your rodent(s) from the source of poison.
  2. Contact your vet immediately - say when, where and how it happened. If possible, you can carefully take the packaging, plant or substance to the vet, but only if you can do this safely.
  3. Follow your vet's advice - if asked, take your rodent to the vet quickly and calmly. They'll tell you what the situation is depending on the poison and how much of it your rodent has had.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Never try to treat or medicate a rodent yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to rodents.
  • If their skin or fur is contaminated, wash it with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry.
  • Keep your rodent away from any other animals to avoid cross-contamination.

Never 'watch and wait' if you suspect poisoning - act fast and contact a vet immediately.

Common pet rodent poisons:

Some of the most common and potentially severe rodent poisons are:

  • Wild rodent poisons (called 'rodenticides')
  • Theobromine - a powerful stimulant found in chocolate
  • Ivy
  • Foxglove
  • Oleander

Household cleaning products and human drugs such as Paracetamol and oral contraceptives are other causes of pet poisoning.

Read more about these common pet rodent poisons, their symptoms and treatment. For more information about what substances are harmful to your pet rodent speak to your vet.  

Keeping your pet rodents safe from poison

Follow our tips to keep your rodents safe from poisons.

In the home:

  • Keep houseplants where your rodents can't reach them. Pick up dropped leaves and petals.
  • Keep pesticides away from areas your rodent can access.
  • If treating your rodents with insecticides at home, separate them from other pets to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Keep a close eye on your rodents.


  • Ensure their housing and exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.
  • Ensure your rodent's water supply can't become contaminated, and change it regularly.

Find out more