The Side Effects of Gopher Poison in a Dog

by Betty Lewis
He may think he's all right, but you and your yard don't.

He may think he's all right, but you and your yard don't.

Zygmund Zee/iStock/Getty Images

Tunnels all over your yard, plant roots decimated -- yes, those gophers are at it again. You may be tempted to go all Carl the Groundskeeper on them, or use poison to save your lawn. However, trapping may be your best option, because many gopher poisons have lethal consequences to your dog.

Strychnine's A Killer

Historically, strychnine has been a popular gopher poison. It's effective in killing its intended target, acting on the nervous system and causing nervousness, drooling, tremors and seizures, and high body temperatures. The rodenticide is quickly absorbed from the stomach, resulting in symptoms within two hours. Any dog ingesting strychnine requires immediate veterinary attention. Your dog doesn't have to eat strychnine to get sick -- ingesting a gopher poisoned with strychnine can do the trick, known as secondary poisoning.

Phosphides Are Poison Too

Strychnine isn't as available as it used to be, prompting gopher battlers to turn to phosphides in the battle against this vermin. Though they don't carry the risk of secondary poisoning as strychnine does, they can have a deadly effect if your dog eats them. Phosphides release deadly phosphide gas when they mix with stomach acid. Symptoms include bloating, vomiting, drooling, shock, seizures, collapse, and lung and liver damage. As with strychnine poisoning, veterinary attention is crucial.

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