I asked How long can fox baits be harmful for my dog? about my neighbor's dog dying from eating fox bait.

We had a rescue whippet when we first moved into this apartment complex. She loved to go for walks with our neighbor, a lovely lady, also a whippet owner, who would also have another, third whippet join the dogs on the walks.

At the time our body corporate was inundated with some very nasty threats by one of the apartment owners. Another neighbor's dog (a Staffordshire Bull Terrier) was suspected of being poisoned (baited) as she was very ill, but came through it.

On one walk where I was not present, I was told that the three dogs ran down one of the stairwells, then came running back and that my dog had gone into the garden to relieve herself and maybe sniffed around a bit.

Shortly after, my dog started having a seizure and foaming at the mouth. I was told this lasted for approximately half an hour, as my neighbor rushed her to the vet, but my dog died in the car on the way. I was told she seemed to be in pain and was panting, but at one point calmed down, before resuming the seizure (if that it what it was) and dying.

She had been an abused whippet and my neighbors were convinced it was because of that, maybe she had been hit on the head and a previous brain injury and so had the seizures from this (which can happen with head injuries).

However since then, my neighbors dog died from running into the bush and eating a fox bait. So it has gotten me thinking about my little dog.

What are some of the symptoms of a dog being poisoned/ baited and how long could it take for the symptoms to surface after ingesting a bait?

Here is Coco, our whippet, who died. :(

Coco :(

  • Sorry to hear that I just came on this as my dog just died this morning from what the vet diagnosd as fox poison. This poison is frowned upon as it not only kills foxes but birds and dogs also. It is not yet illegal unfortunately.
    – user2820
    Aug 18, 2014 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


Tl;dr - Yes, it sounds like a possible 1080 fox bait poisoning. Can't be sure though.

The traditional fox bait is called 1080. That poisonous bait is still used in a few countries to kill foxes, rabbits, possums and other mammal pests. The toxin in 1080 is Sodium fluoroacetate. Wikipedia is a bit vague on symptoms in animals, but for humans they say:

In humans, the symptoms of poisoning normally appear between 30 minutes and three hours after exposure. Initial symptoms typically include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain; sweating, confusion and agitation follow. In significant poisoning, cardiac abnormalities including tachycardia or bradycardia, hypotension and ECG changes develop. Neurological effects include muscle twitching and seizures...

One might safely assume a dog, especially a small Whippet, would show symptoms of poisoning faster than the 30 mins stated for humans. The listed (human) symptoms look like a good fit to what your neighbour reported about your dog.

Strychnine is another commonly used poison against mammal pests. It affects the animal's muscles so that contracted muscles can no longer relax. That means the muscles responsible of breathing cease to operate and the animal suffocates to death in less than two hours. This sounds like unlikely case with your dog.

One possibility is unintentional pet poisoning by snail/slug baits. These baits are meant to control a population of snails and slugs in a garden. Because the pelletized bait looks a lot like dry food made for dogs it is easily one of the most common causes of unintentional poisoning of dogs. The toxin in these baits is Metaldehyde and a dog may die inside four hours of ingesting these baits, which sounds like too slow to explain what happened to your dog, even though the symptoms of this toxin are somewhat similar to your case.

Then again, the malicious use of poisons against neighbourhood dogs can vary a lot. In fact they don't end with just pesticides but also other harmful matter, like medicine made for humans and even razorblades stuck inside a meatball, have been found in baits. It is quite impossible to say what might have caused the death of your dog, at least without autopsy and toxicology tests. The 1080 is just one of the possible explanations.

It is best to always use a leash when walking dogs in populated areas and only let dogs free (when allowed by local legislation) in unpopulated parks and forests and suchlike places.