Roach Poison & Dogs

By Laurie Rappeport
Dogs, by nature, explore anything new in their environment, often through tasting or licking. Poisons can cause death or severe injury to a dog within a short amount of time. If your dog's exploration causes him to ingest a poison, you should know which poisons can cause danger as well as how to administer first aid before rushing the dog to the vet.


Five common species of roaches live in North America but the methods for exterminating them remain similar. People who exterminate insects professionally may suggest using a cockroach bait for a small cockroach infestation. When the cockroach problem involves large numbers, however, these professionals have a variety of insecticides and poisons that they turn to for eradication. Cockroach baits generally use boric acid as the active ingredient. Many sprays used to poison the roaches include phosphorus.

Effects on Dogs

The National Pesticide Information Center considers boric "very low to low in toxicity" to animals when eaten. If, however, a dog ingests a roach poison that contains phosphorus, it must receive immediate treatment before the poison attacks its nervous system. Once the poison attacks the dog's nervous system, its chances for survival diminish significantly.


Boric Acid, also sold as Borax, may cause the dog to vomit or froth at the mouth, but will not poison the dog. If the dog ingests a roach poison that contains phosphorus, the first symptoms that an owner might observe could include cramping, vomiting, abdominal pain or convulsions.


If the dog ingests boric acid, let it rest and refrain from feeding it for a few hours until the boric acid works its way out of its system. If the dog ingests a poison with phosphorus, check to see if the dog can swallow and seems alert. If so, induce vomiting (squirt 3 cc's of hydrogen peroxide for every 20 lbs. of the dog's weight into the back of his mouth with a syringe) and rush it to the veterinarian. If there are signs that the poison has attacked the dog's central nervous system, such as convulsions, cover the dog immediately and rush it to the vet without losing time to induce vomiting.


Take steps to prevent your dog from gaining access to any area in which roach poison exists. Don't spray roach poison along the ground in any room or outside area where the dog roams freely. If the dog can enter a room or go outside in an area that contains roach poison, keep the dog on a leash and keep it away from the area. Ideally dogs should receive training to never eat anything unless the owner gives permission, which can prevent accidental or purposeful poisoning of a dog.
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