Recently, while painting the laundry room, I moved items from a shelf to the floor.

Bad move.

You see, one of the things I moved was rat poison.

If I open a bottle of aspirin, I have to fumble with a child-resistant cap. But rat poison comes in a flimsy plastic container whose lid has no locking mechanism. It requires no prescription. The traps it’s designed to be used in have protective features, but the containers it comes in do not.

I blame no one but myself. It’s poison, after all: I should have been more careful.

But it has been years since the kids were toddlers — years since I spent much time thinking about child proofing the house.

But I should have been thinking about puppy proofing it.

When I woke one morning, our dog was lethargic and obviously not well. By noon, I knew it was time for the vet.

The vet did tests and drew a blood sample, taping gauze over the needle hole. Nothing conclusive.

When we got home, our dog chewed the gauze and tape off her leg. We were alarmed to see that blood kept coming out of the hole where the vet’s needle had gone in.

A trip to the 24-hour emergency vet. A blood transfusion for the dog. A $1,500 money transfusion for the vet (well deserved, well earned).

I’ve learned that rat poison works by letting you bleed to death. A scratch and there’s blood everywhere. A bruise and there’s unstoppable internal bleeding. The stuff takes a stealth approach — silently working its evil for up to 10 days before it kicks in. And puppies think it’s yummy.

Even when you use this stuff carefully, rodents are not the only critters affected. Other animals eat rodents — think kitty, coyote, rattlesnake, hawk and owl.

Guess what happens when they snatch up a rodent whose belly is full of rat poison (the name is a bit misleading — a bit like saying nuclear fallout is rat poison). Yes, it kills rats, but …

If you can live with the cute little guys, that’s great. If not, there are better ways to deal with them. Use a snappy trap. Get yourself a cat. But please don’t use rat poison.

If you have it in your house, get rid of it. Put the paper down right now and go get rid of the stuff.

Dan Pietsch