They might chase them (and catch them), but can dogs eat mice? Is it safe? Should you stop them? Read this guide to learn all you ever wanted to know about dogs and mice.
Maybe you’ve heard stories of dogs that eat mice and never get sick. Or maybe you’ve heard of dogs getting super ill from eating rodents. Either way, this guide will look at all of the resources out there to determine whether you should let your dog eat mice and what to do if your dog ate a mouse.
For ultimate pet safety, I recommend consulting with your vet about all the questions you have about your dog eating mice.
Are Mice Dangerous
Before we start talking about whether dogs should eat them, let’s look closer at the most common types of mice you might see and whether they are dangerous.
Here in America, there are only about eight different types (or species) of mice that make their way into homes. The Family Handyman has pictures and descriptions of them so you can identify the mice in your house.
These small rodents are known to get into people’s homes in the fall and winter when they are looking for a warmer place to stay.
Unfortunately, wild mice are dangerous to humans and dogs. Yes, even a cute little field mouse might bring disease or bacteria into your home from the open fields.
Mice Carry Parasites
Mice are common carriers of several parasites. According to Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Nichol, the most common parasites that mice could give to your dog are tapeworms. Tapeworms are long, flat-segmented intestinal parasites. They look like grains of rice. You might see them in your dog’s poop.
Thankfully, tapeworms are easy to treat. Your veterinarian will probably prescribe de-worming medications.
Another parasite that mice carry is called toxoplasma, and it causes an infection called toxoplasmosis. Does this remind you of cats? That’s because, according to Merck, felines are the only type of animals that can help the toxoplasma parasite mature normally. All other animals – including mice and dogs – can carry it and pass it to each other and get sick from it, but they don’t have the proper conditions to let the parasite mature.
If your dog gets toxoplasmosis from cats or mice, they might get diarrhea, jaundice, or seizures.
Finally, The Whole Dog Journal lists two other protozoan parasites that dogs can get from rodents – Coccidia and Giardia. These parasites can also cause diarrhea and are very contagious.
Please call your veterinarian if you think your dog has any kind of parasites.
Dogs Chasing and Eating Mice
Chances are that you found this article because you just got the shock of your life when your puppy ate a dead mouse, or your dog (like my whippets) chased a mouse until they caught it and then ate their prey.
Either way, it’s not pretty, and I’m sure it scared you! I get it. As pet owners, we want to protect our dogs and make sure they only eat safe and nutritious food. Our domesticated fur babies might be descended from wolves, but does that mean it’s okay to let them eat mice, too
Since this topic is so important to your dog’s health, I’m going to write it a little differently than I do some of my other articles. I’m going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about dogs eating mice. I’ll share links to where I found the information, too, so you can continue my research.
I always say, don’t just take my word for it! If you’re worried about your dog’s health, talk to your dog’s veterinarian. They always know your dog best.
Do Dogs Eat Mice?
Yes, some dogs eat mice, and others don’t. This is because it depends on your dog’s instincts. Some larger dogs absolutely love chasing, hunting, and eating wild animals like mice. Other breeds are happy just to chase them and let them live.
Add to the confusion the fact that some people already give their dogs raw meat…so is it okay for them to kill and eat their own prey?
Nope, it is not a good idea to let your dogs eat mice. If mice start coming into your house, it’s better to call pest control and have them help you. They will help you get rid of the mice and tell you how to keep your dog away from the mice and the poison (if they use any).
Eating a lot of mice is risky for your dog’s health. Keep reading to learn about all the different risks mice pose to dogs, even healthy dogs.
Can Dogs Get Sick From Mice?
Yes, dogs can get sick from mice. How sick they get depends on their health, whether they are immunocompromised already, and what other kinds of germs/parasites the rodents had on them.
Before we look at how mice can affect dogs, keep this number handy.
Pet Poison Control Helpline
The Pet Poison Helpline has a website with lots of information and a 24/7 expert answering service. If you ever need them, call 855-764-7661.
Mice and other small rodents are known to carry and spread bacteria that cause a bacterial infection called Leptospirosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pet owners should get their pets vaccinated against it. But the best way to prevent it is to keep mice out of your home.
This disease is serious and can lead to fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and severe muscle pain. According to the State of Washington’s Department of Health, if you think your dog has it, contact your veterinarian immediately. This bacteria can spread from canines to humans and make you really sick, too.
Dogs can get secondary poisoning if they eat a mouse that consumes any kind of poison. If you set out mouse poison, look at the type of poison that it is.
The ASPCA states that all the different types of poison should be kept out of paw’s reach. The most common active ingredient of the poison for mice that people buy contains long-acting anticoagulants. This can cause bleeding that won’t clot, even in dogs.
Secondary poisoning isn’t as deadly as primary poisoning. So, if you put out poison to kill mice, remember that it contains dangerous toxins that could cause kidney failure, nervous system failure, cerebral edema, or eventual death, even in dogs. Never let your dog eat the poison.
If you think your dog got into mouse poison, contact your vet immediately. As the APSCA says, “Any exposure to rodenticide should be treated seriously and assessed by an APCC expert or a veterinarian.”
My Dog Ate A Mouse, What Do I Do?
No matter how domesticated your dog is, some breeds will never outgrow their hunting instinct. So, if you have ever seen your pup chase, hunt, kill, and then eat a mouse, should you be worried?
The good news is that the risks – even though there are a lof them – are still low for dogs. And it all depends on how healthy your dog is and what kind of mouse they ate. So, let’s look closer at different (and common) scenarios,
“My dog killed a mouse. Will he get sick?”
Does your dog like to chase and kill small animals? It’s not a good idea to let them eat all the small animals that they want. Your dog could get sick from the fleas or parasites that the mice carry with them.
What if your dog just plays with the mouse and doesn’t eat it?
Your dog can still get intestinal worms from a mouse, even if he didn’t eat the mouse.
If you catch your dog chasing and killing mice, do your best to keep your dog away from mice in the future if you can. Then, watch for signs of parasitic infections – stomach aches, digestive upset, or pooping out tapeworms. If your dog has these symptoms, call your veterinarian.
“My dog ate a live mouse. What do I do?”
If your dog likes to dig small holes, they might find wild mice and think they found dinner! But as natural as this sounds, it’s still not a good idea to let them do this all the time. This is because you never know what kind of parasites the mouse might have.
If your dog ate a mouse that is a carrier of tapeworm, then eating a live mouse might cause your dog to eat the tapeworm larvae. Thankfully, Beechmont Pet Hospital says tapeworms are easy to treat, so contact your dog’s veterinarian if they ate a live mouse.
Definitely contact your dog’s vet if they are suffering from abdominal pain or weight loss. They also could have eaten roundworm larvae.
“My dog ate a dead mouse. What should I do?”
This is the scariest option of all, especially if you set out poison to kill the mice that are in your house. Because what happens if your dog eats a mouse that died from mouse poison?
This is very dangerous. Do not let your dog eat dead mice. If they do, they are at risk of getting rodenticide poisoning. In other words, they could get sick from eating an animal that died from poison.
VCA Animal Hospitals goes into depth about the dangers of anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning in dogs. The three veterinarians who wrote this article state that the danger of this poisoning is actually from dogs eating the poison, not the dead mice.
“Poisoning after eating rodents killed by the rodenticide is called secondary or relay poisoning. This can occur but is rare because a dog would need to eat many rodents that died from the poison.”
Just because secondary poisoning isn’t as dangerous as primary poisoning, it’s still a good idea to keep dogs away from the rodents that die from the poison.
The symptoms of dogs ingesting this poison are bleeding on your dog’s body, but common from the gums and nose or peeing or pooping blood. The reason they suffer like this is because the rodent poison interferes with vitamin K1 recycling and makes it difficult for their bodies to form important blood clots.
Even if the mouse didn’t die from poisoning, it’s still a good idea to keep your dog from eating dead animals. You never know what kind of bacteria or disease the dead mice died from.
“My dog ate mouse whole. Should I be worried?”
Dog owners, have you seen your dog eat an entire mouse whole without chewing it? The biggest concern or potential danger of dogs eating whole rodents is the parasites or diseases they might be carrying.
Your dog also might get secondary poisoning from eating a poisoned mouse that hasn’t shown signs of poisoning yet.
If your dog is healthy and eats a completely clean and healthy mouse, there is no cause for concern. The mouse bones are so brittle and soft that they can’t hurt your dog (like sharp chicken bones can). But since it is impossible to know what parasites the mouse is carrying, you should treat each rodent as though it is an infected mouse.
As the pet owner, you should keep a close eye on your dog’s reactions to it. The best way to tell if your dog was affected by eating the mouse is to watch their health.
“My puppy ate a mouse. Will he be ok?”
Depending on how much of the mouse your pup ate and how it died, there is a high chance that your puppy will be okay.
If your puppy ate a mouse that consumed rat poison, then the secondary poisoning could make them sick. AdelaideVet said how sick they become depends on how big the dog is and the type of poison (and how much of it) the mouse consumed.
“The level of toxicity your pet will experience depends on the timing, amount and type of poison the rodent has consumed and the number of rodents your pet eats. For example, if a Jack Russel Terrier consumes 1-2 rats, this may be sufficient to cause symptoms.”
This is why it’s so important to contact your vet. Each dog and situation is so different.
“Will mouse bones hurt my dog’s gut?”
No, mouse bones won’t hurt your dog. They are so tiny that they can pass right through your dog without causing any obstructions or punctures.
Dangers of Mouse Poop For Dogs
You should never let your dog eat mouse poop. As soon as you see mouse droppings in your house, clean them up and get rid of them. There’s the ick factor of eating poop, but there is also the possibility of your dog eating excreted poison.
The biggest danger of mouse feces is that it can be infected and cause a deadly viral infection called Hantavirus. Thankfully, dogs are not susceptible to this disease. This is a wild rodent to human infection. So we are more at risk than our furry pups.
What To Do If Your Dog Keeps Eating Mice
The best thing you can do is to teach your dog the “drop it” command. They should learn to obey you when you command them to drop any object – including a potentially dangerous or infected rodent.
The next thing you can do is try to get rid of the mice. Call pest control and work with them to solve your rodent problem in a way that is safe for your dog.
Dogs should only eat the pet food that you prepare for them. Do not let your dog eat mice. If they do eat mice, watch them closely and call your vet if your dog acts sick.
Dog Food Resources
Here are some articles about other types of meat and protein and whether they are safe or toxic for your dog to eat.
- Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky
- Can Dogs Eat Catfish
- Can Dogs Eat Chicken Feet
- Can Dogs Eat Frogs
- Can Dogs Eat Imitation Crab
- Can Dogs Have Fish
Find even more articles on human food dogs can and can’t eat here on Spoiled Hounds!
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