While some dog breeds, such as the various small-sized terriers, were specifically created as rat and mouse hunters, most of today’s urban dog parents will hardly be happy if their furbaby returns to them with a dead mouse in their mouth, let alone if it happens to eat it.
Mice have been unwanted pests in homes, barns, and properties for centuries. Working dogs were often used for resolving these infestations before the mouse traps and other methods for catching rodents were invented.
But whether you have adopted it as a pest control working dog or as a family member and companion, you should be aware of the dangers of your pet ingesting a mouse or other rodent.
If your dog ate a mouse and you are wondering what to do next, read on.
Dog Ate Mouse – Should I Worry?
While dogs can eat a lot of gross stuff, ingesting a mouse can seriously harm its well-being and health. This is mainly because of concerns of poisoning with rodenticides or of infections with different parasites and illnesses from the mouse.
If your otherwise lazy dog has caught a mouse, chances are that the rodent was poisoned and thus incapable of running away.
In case your furbaby eats a mouse that is already dead or barely alive or found near places where there are rodenticides, then you should call your veterinarian or a pet poisoning hotline immediately.
The vet or toxicologist will give you instructions on how to proceed, but in most cases, you will be asked to head off to the clinic immediately.
The veterinarian will examine the pup, most likely induce vomiting, and administer activated charcoal to eliminate as much of the undigested poison as possible.
The Types of Rodenticides Used For Poisoning Mice
Your dog may have eaten a mouse poisoned with different types of mouse or rat poison, commonly used for pest control.
Some rodenticides contain anticoagulants, which prevent blood clotting and thus induce internal bleeding in the rodent. Others contain high concentrations of vitamin D, which destroys the calcium in the mouse’s body and leads to kidney failure.
Bromethalin poisons attack and damages the rodent’s nervous system, leading to rapid death.
Most rodenticides take up to six days to kill the mouse. This, unfortunately, gives dogs enough time to catch the weakened pest and eat it.
If you suspect that your furry pal has ingested a poisoned mouse, it is critical to try to identify the type of mouse or rat poison used for its poisoning.
Take a sample of the rodenticide, or inform your vet of the toxin so that faster-targeted treatment is appointed once you get to the clinic.
My Dog Ate A Wild Mouse – Should I Worry?
Wild mice are less likely to have been subjected to rodenticides. Still, there are other dangers to keep in mind if your four-legged companion has gobbled up a wild mouse outdoors.
The dangers include parasite infections and other illnesses which can be transmitted from the mouse to your pup.
Some parasites infest small rodents like wild mice with the idea of them being eaten by larger animals such as dogs. Here are some of the parasites and illnesses you should watch for.
The microscopic toxoplasma gondii are parasites found in mice and can cause a severe illness in dogs, known as toxoplasmosis. Young or sick canines are especially at risk of toxoplasmosis.
The symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and seizures. If your pup has eaten a wild mouse or is displaying such symptoms, you should take it to the vet immediately. Toxoplasmosis in dogs is treated with antibiotics and other drugs, which help control and alleviate the symptoms and cure the infection.
These nasty parasites can enter your pup’s body via unhatched eggs in feces, on the ground, or those found in wild mice.
The eggs transform into larvae which inhabit the rodent’s muscles in wait for a larger animal to consume them.
Once ingested, the larvae will develop into fully grown roundworms in the pup’s intestines and feed on the food in the belly.
The symptoms of roundworm infection in canines include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, a plump appearance, dull coat, and abdominal discomfort and pain. Veterinarians can easily determine whether your pet has roundworms by examining its feces for any roundworms or eggs.
This nasty condition is treated with deworming medication.
You can prevent such infestations altogether by applying monthly heartworm preventatives.
Related: Worms in Dogs: Types, Common Causes & Symptoms
The leptospira bacteria can be present in the dead mouse itself or in its urine on any surface. This bacteria causes leptospirosis, which can lead to death if left untreated.
An infected dog may show no symptoms at all or a wide variety of signs, such as increased thirst, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, or diarrhea. If your pup shows one or more of these symptoms, lasting for over 24 hours, you should contact your vet.
Leptospirosis can be passed to humans and is especially dangerous for pregnant dogs, as they may give it to their unborn puppies.
When diagnosed in time, your dog can successfully be cured with antibiotic treatment.
There is also a vaccine against leptospirosis, which can reduce the risk of infection of your furbaby too.
Talk to your veterinarian to find out more about whether your furry friend is a viable candidate for such a vaccine.
My Dog Ate a Mouse – Should I Worry About Rabies?
Fortunately, mice and other small rodents are rarely carriers of rabies. According to some scientists, this dangerous infection will kill off a small animal such as a mouse much faster than it can be spread through a bite.
There have never been cases recorded of humans contracting rabies from rodents either.
Are the Bones of The Mouse Dangerous For My Dog?
The bones of a mouse or small bird are so small that there is minimal risk of a blockage or perforation of the dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Dog parents should be worried about cooked bones instead.
But still, if your dog is very small, or if it shows signs of obstruction which go on for more than 24 hours after eating the rodent, then you should call the vet.
Blockage symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, a loss of appetite, abdominal pain, straining or constipation, and inability to poop.
In cases of obstruction, urgent care and surgery are often necessary, so don’t waste time!
Related: Can Dogs Eat Bones? Which Ones They Can and Can’t
If you still have questions regarding dogs eating mice, read through the answers to some of the commonly asked questions by our readers.
I am on a camping trip, and my dog ate a mouse! How do I clean its mouth out?
If you are spending time in the wilderness with your furbaby, and it happens to gobble up a mouse, then you can be pretty sure that it is a wild mouse that hasn’t consumed any dangerous mouse poison.
Since your dog’s mouth is cleaned out continuously and naturally through saliva production, you don’t really need to flush it out. Still, you may want to hold off the kisses for a bit after the mouse-eating incident.
You can also give your pet some fresh water to drink, which will speed up the process of getting the gross stuff out of its mouth.
If you have chicken broth, you may add some to the water bowl to encourage your furry friend to drink more. But follow it up with a bowl of fresh, clean water to prevent bacterial growth in the mouth.
You can eliminate the dog’s bad breath by washing its teeth with dog-safe toothpaste or giving it a chewy dog treat. If you don’t have these when spending time camping, then you can give the pup a carrot stick or some apple slices without the seeds and core instead. They will help clean the teeth and gums naturally.
My Dog Keeps Bringing Me Dead Mice? What Can I Do To Stop It?
Dogs, like cats, love parading with their prey, and it is fairly common for their owners to be surprised with a gift like a dead mouse or bird from time to time.
While there is no scientific explanation for this behavior, some experts believe that dogs present dead mice and other animals to their owners as a sign of affection and appreciation.
Another explanation is that your furry companion is trying to teach you how to hunt.
In any case, if this happens, then make sure that you dispose of the dead mouse safely and properly.
Use disposable gloves or a plastic bag to handle the dead animal.
While you can dump the wrapped and sealed dead animal in your garbage, there is a risk that your four-legged companion might just smell it and dig it out once more.
So, it is a better idea to throw it out in the garbage outdoors.
After handling the dead mouse, remember to wash your hands thoroughly and to clean and disinfect the surfaces it touched.
But remember that while we may find this behavior gross and shocking, you should never punish your pup for bringing you a dead mouse. It is most likely its instinct in play.
Instead, try not to react and dispose of it without any added attention.
In the meantime, try to resolve the pest problem in your home or property with a dog-friendly mouse trap or device.
My Dog Ate Mouse Droppings – Now What?
If your pup ate mouse droppings in your home or anywhere where there is a chance that a rodenticide (mouse or rat poison) has been used, then you should call your vet immediately. The reason is that the toxin killed or killing the mouse may be passed through its droppings before death.
Call the pet poisoning hotline or vet with information about your dog’s weight, age, and the estimated number or quantity of mice droppings it ate. If you know the type of poison used in the region, inform the experts, and you will get professional advice and instructions on how to react.
Keep in mind that your dog may also be at risk of leptospirosis after eating mouse droppings, so monitor it for the most common symptoms of this illness as described above.
Related: Gross! My Dog Eats Rabbit Poop, What Should I Do?
Even in the big city, there is a risk of a mouse finding its way into your home.
But unfortunately, traditional rodenticides can be dangerous for our dogs and other pets.
The good news is that there are some dog-friendly safer ways to handle a mouse infestation. Also, do not leave dead mice lying around the house. There are many options for the humane capture of the mouse, which you can then release somewhere far away from home too.
But even if the mouse has not been poisoned, it can still be dangerous for the pup that ingested it.
So, keep an eye on your furry friend when out on a walk or when camping.
The less contact it has with live or dead mice – the lower the risk of ingestion of dangerous toxins and the need for an emergency trip to the vet.