Baits for moles and gophers often contain a pesticide called zinc phosphide mixed with other ingredients that smell tasty to the target pest. Unfortunately, dogs and other animals also think the baits smell good.
Whether a gopher or another mammal (your dog, for example) eats the poison, the chemical acts the same inside the body. Stomach acid combines with zinc phosphide, releasing phosphine gas. This gas is highly toxic to rodents and moles, as well as dogs, cats, livestock, and people.
Rodents do not have the ability to vomit. However, dogs and cats that eat the bait can, and often do, vomit to remove the pesticide from their bodies. Be careful around pets that have eaten the bait! Their vomit could contain Phosphine gas, which can sicken anyone close enough to breathe it in.
Before using a mole/gopher bait
- Try to only buy as much of the bait as you will need for this use. Having extra bait lying around could pose a risk to pets and children.
- Consider all of your options before using a pesticide, including the use of traps.
- If you choose to use a bait, be sure to read and follow all label instructions for proper use of the product.
While using a mole/gopher bait
- Keep pets away while you apply the product.
- When placing the bait under ground, cover the holes with sod and a heavier item (wood, brick, etc.) to make it harder for your pet to dig up.
- Monitor your pet’s behavior to prevent them from digging up and eating the bait.
- When possible, keep your pets away from the treated area by using barriers or leashes until the pest problem is under control. Then, you might consider removing the remaining bait and disposing of it properly. Check the label to learn how.
After using a mole/gopher bait
- Store any remaining bait where pets and children cannot access it.
- If you suspect your child has handled or eaten any bait, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.
- For pets exposed to any bait, contact your veterinarian or an animal emergency resource.
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.