Believe it or not, rats are very intelligent creatures. As far as rodents go, they’re the best at finding their way into your home. 

Despite their impressive smarts, you don’t want rats creeping through your house. Rats are dangerous because they can be aggressive, and they carry diseases. They also cause damage to your home by chewing through critical components like wires, beams, and pipes. 

Lots of people deal with rodent populations by setting traps or using bait that contains poison. However, those with pets have to be very cautious about what methods they use to get rid of rats.

If your pet comes into direct contact with rat poison, it can become very ill. Likewise, your pet can also suffer secondary poisoning. Secondary poisoning occurs when your pet comes into contact with or consumes a rodent who has ingested poison. This can be extremely harmful to pets like cats and dogs. 

Learning how to mitigate a rat problem without harming your pets can help you avoid a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation, so let’s dive into the facts. 

Ways To Kill Rats Without Harming Your Pets

It’s easy to get discouraged when you find out you have a rodent problem, and dealing with it safely when you have pets causes an even bigger headache. But there are lots of ways that you can handle rats without harming your pets. 

Use Rat Traps

Rat traps are classic tools that have been used to combat rodent populations for decades. There are a few different types to choose from, from modern to traditional, which broaden your options as well.


Metal live trap

The first of the modern traps is the live trap. Many people prefer to use live traps because they are more humane. These traps allow you to capture the rats without killing them so that you can release them into the wild. 

Live traps are great because you can use them repeatedly, while most other traps only work one time. However, they do tend to be a bit more expensive than kill traps. 

Meanwhile, automatic kill traps are the complete opposite in that they terminate a rat’s life within seconds. These devices use CO2 gas to safely operate, luring rats to the trap and quickly killing them without toxins. 

Finally, electronic traps are carefully designed boxes that lure rats inside. Once the rat triggers the device, it will quickly get electrocuted with just enough charge to kill them. You can then toss the whole trap, so you don’t have to touch the dead rodent. 


dead rat on a snap trap

Snap traps work by combining a sensitive trigger with some kind of bait. You can place various types of food on a snap trap’s trigger, such as cheese or peanut butter. When the rat goes for the food, the trap releases the trigger and snaps down on the rat instantly. 

Glue traps are sheets of heavy paper or vinyl with a thick coat of adhesive on the surface. You can use food to lure the rat to these traps, but most adhesives come mixed with aromatic compounds that do the luring for you. 

Glue traps are easy to set, but they don’t always guarantee a kill. In many cases, rats will wind up with their faces in the adhesive, causing them to suffocate. However, if that doesn’t happen, you will have to either release them or kill them yourself. Be aware that the agitated rat may be more prone to biting and defecating. 

Many of these traditional traps are cheaper than other types, but they are not considered humane, and are not nearly as effective as modern rat traps. It is also important for those who have pets to set traditional snap traps and glue traps in places that are not accessible to their pet.

Organic Methods

You may prefer to use simple, organic methods to get rid of rats. There are plenty of home remedies that deter rats from your home.

You can try sprinkling spices like cinnamon, mint, and pepper around your home. Put some on the kitchen floor or on the ground near openings where rats are entering. 

Rats and mice also dislike the smell of peppermint. Using this essential oil, you can cause rats to look elsewhere for their source of food.  

Rats also dislike castor oil, so try soaking some cotton balls in it and placing them around your home. 

These options allow you to avoid glue boards or a mousetrap and offer safer, more natural solutions.

Attract Owls to Prey on Rats

Close up of screech owl in owl nesting box

Did you know that owls are natural predators to rats? If you can attract owls to your home, you may find yourself the perfect home defense against rodents. 

You can encourage these birds to live on your property by building an owl house or a nesting box. If you’re lucky, nearby owls will decide to make a home there. 

Use Dry Ice

Dry ice is a product that’s effective against rats yet safe to use in your home. Dry ice will break down into carbon dioxide, which puts rats to sleep. Shortly after they’ve drifted off, the rats will die from the large amount of carbon dioxide gas in their tiny bodies. 

Many consider this method very humane, as the rats simply feel as though they’re falling asleep.

Monitor Your Home and Yard

Getting rats out of your home is one thing, but you must monitor your home and yard to prevent further infestations. There are a few ways you can do this.

Try to keep your garden beds and planters raised. Doing so will make it harder for rats to access them as their food source. You can also elevate any bird feeders in order to make them more difficult for rats to access.

Do your best to be on top of harvesting any fruits or vegetables you’re growing in your yard. Even if fruit falls from a plant, you should pick it up to discourage foraging rats. 

Finally, keep a tight seal on your trash cans. Trash cans should always have lids on top that fit correctly and cannot be easily knocked off. 

Must-Know Tips for Killing Rats

Mouse digging in dirt

Follow these helpful tips to take care of your rat problem more efficiently. 

Get Rid of What Attracts Rats 

Rats are always looking for their next meal, and they will eat almost anything. Therefore, one of the best things you can do while getting rid of rats is to eliminate their food and water sources. 

Your food is one thing, but you also have to consider your pet’s food, along with their water. If you leave your pet’s food and water on the ground all day and night, you could be encouraging rats to come in and have a meal. 

Try putting your pet’s food and water away each night to prevent rats from coming back for more. Additionally, ensure your pantries are secure, and that you haven’t left any open containers out. 

Use the Right Baits 

There are plenty of poisonous rat baits on the market today, and while they may be effective, they’re not safe to use around your pets.

Use food baits to avoid secondary poisoning. Things like peanut butter, cheese, and fruit will most certainly attract rats, but they also won’t harm your pets if they happen get into them. 

You can offer nesting materials as bait too. Items like twigs, cotton balls, leaves, and other non-toxic debris can also attract rats without posing any threat to your pets.

Choose the Right Spot and Check Them Frequently 

When a rat begins to come in and out of your home, they will often use the same path and entrance because they recognize that the route leads to food or water.

Once you’ve located that spot, you’ll know where to place your traps. Some popular spots include dark spaces, the spaces between walls and appliances, and anywhere you find rat droppings or chew marks. Be sure to check your traps frequently.

Know How Long You Need Traps For

One mistake that beginners make is removing their traps too soon. It’s hard to know exactly how many rats are in your home. Once you’ve trapped a single rat, that is likely not be the end.

Keep your traps in place until you no longer see any sign of rat activity, and always set up as many traps as possible. 

Keep Your Pets Away From Traps

While many of the traps presented in this article are safe and non-toxic for dogs and cats, some of them may still harm your pets. 

If you’re worried about your pets setting off traps or getting themselves hurt, try putting the traps inside a cardboard box. You can cut a hole in the box that’s only big enough for a rat to get through. 

How To Make Your Home, Garden, and Lawn Rat-Proof

Rat on ledge of wooden fencing

Protecting your home from rodents like rats includes monitoring both the indoor and outdoor areas.


The best way to keep your house rat-free is by constantly cleaning up crumbs, spills, and messes right away. You should take your trash out regularly and always use metal trash cans with secure lids. 

Additionally, keep all of your food in tightly sealed containers, clean the surfaces of your home, and use non-toxic rat repellent regularly. 


To keep rats away from the outside of your home, try using high-gloss paint on your pipes. The high-gloss paints make the surface of your pipes more slick, therefore more difficult for rats to climb.

Once you’ve eliminated rats from your garden, you can protect that area by picking up fallen fruits and vegetables and clearing out any possible nesting materials. You can achieve this through periodic raking and weeding.

Finally, be sure to repair holes and cracks in existing structures like house walls, fences, and sheds. 


Rats multiply very quickly, so it is critical to get rid of them as soon as possible. 

Using the proper methods will help you eliminate your rat problem without harming your pets in the process. If you’re feeling nervous about tackling this issue on your own, you should contact a professional to make sure it’s handled safely and efficiently. 

Contact Stampede Pest Control today for expert rat control, a wide variety of treatment options, and guaranteed service!