Zen and the Art of Dog

The Best Rat Traps to Protect your Dog’s Yard From Rats

We live in Chicago where seeing a big rat scurry down an alley is not uncommon. These are not the tiny sweet Cinderella variety of mice.

I let the dogs outside the other day and Chloe found a large rat in our yard. I had to grab her and Benji to keep them from getting bitten. The last thing I need right now are two rabid dogs. Lord almighty.

I got a pic of my poor rat friend (our yard is still a work in progress, don’t judge me!):

My poor rat friend

Unfortunately, Chloe had already pounced on the rat and broken its leg. I found out later that the rat had made a home for itself under my lawnmower. By the droppings and food scraps, it looks like it was there all winter.

Luckily Chloe found the rat and not our toddler. The situation could have turned out much worse for us. 

I still feel terrible about having to dispose of the rat. Yes, they carry diseases and are filthy and destructive. But it was still scared and trembling when I shoveled it into the plastic garbage bag (I didn’t have the heart to kill it outright).

I really hate killing things.

Rats are a problem in any city where dumpsters are overflowing, dog poop is left unattended, and trash litters the streets. This was the first face to face encounter we have had in our 2+ years at this house.

After our traumatizing experience with the rat, we did a bunch of research about the best rat protection and rat traps and I thought our research would benefit you guys.

Humane? Or Effective?

We needed to decide where on the continuum of humane to effective we wanted our rat traps to be. On the most humane end, you will have the least effective devices. And, generally, on the most effective end you’ll have the least humane devices.

Look. I love animals as much as the next animal lover. The facts on the ground are that I have to protect my dogs and my babies. So we opted for a more effective device.

But I’ll share all of the options we considered.

A Quick Word on Poison

Poisons are very effective but you run two risks if you have dogs.

  1. Rat poison is very toxic to dogs.
  2. Rats can eat poison and die in your yard. Also not a good situation if you have dogs (you don’t want your dogs eating a dead rat, or even playing with its body).

Ever Pest Ultrasonic Device – The Most Humane Option


The Ever Pest ultrasonic device isn’t quite a rat trap, but it is a super effective option for more than just rats. These devices will help keep mice, cockroaches, ants and snakes away too.

It comes in a two pack and can cover an area up to 1900 square feet.

You just plug them in and go.



Your mileage may vary with these devices. These are rated for indoor use so if you are going to use it outside, make sure you cover it from rain/elements. Many reviewers report that it’s effective, many say that it doesn’t work at all. My personal experience with them is that they work okay for deterring rodents but if a mouse or rat really wants to come into your yard they can and will ignore it.

Spray – Also Very Humane


Rats are coming into your yard to look for food (or even eat dog poop which you should be picking up frequently). The spray masks the scent of rat food sources and therefore they start looking elsewhere.

These are all natural and safe to spray around pets and kids (unless they are allergic to the underlying natural ingredients).


Like the ultrasonic devices, the spray is just a deterrent so it’s not 100% effective. You will also have to frequently reapply the spray as it disperses and gets washed away from general weather conditions.

Some reviewers reported that it can damage wood surfaces so if you are spraying your porch or doorways, this could damage the finish.

Authenzo Humane No Kill Trap


Catch and release option. Rat does not get killed and is trapped away from your pets and kids.

Very effective.


You have to do the releasing. You have to transport the rat and the device to another place to let them loose.

Goodnature A24 Rat Trap


Automatically resets after every kill

Works indoors and outdoors

Mice and rats are killed instantly

Non-toxic, safe for pets and kids

Long-lasting lure only requires checking monthly, each CO₂ canister lasts for 24 kills

Kit comes with Trap, 2 x CO₂ canisters and 6 month supply of lure

Kit also comes with pre-baited cards to help determine best placement location


This trap is designed so that a rat is killed and its body can be scavenged by a predator. This will not work for us because we don’t want our kids or dogs messing with the dead rat.

Victor No touch No See Electronic Kill Trap (This is the one we got)


High voltage shock ensures quick and effective kill rate. Removable chamber makes disposal and baiting easy.

Reviewers report that it is super effective and can kill up to 50 rats per set of fully charged batteries.

Green light indicator to let you know there is a body in the trap so you don’t have to open it up. No-see, no-touch experience for disposing of the body.


Obviously killing the rat isn’t as humane as the other options, but it’s important to get a device that will protect our pets and kids!

This is rated for indoor use and we keep it well covered from rain and the elements under our porch.

If the rats start breeding and we have an infestation in our yard, it creates a hazard to the creatures under our care. We cannot stop our neighbors from leaving dog poop in their yards and garbage piled up in the alley, but we can keep rats out of our yard.


We ended up getting the Victor electric shock rat trap. It is the most effective option for deterring and eliminating rats in our yard. It is highly reviewed and was the best option for us to keep our dogs and kids safe.

Let me know which option you end up going with!

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