There’s something about the chase for a dog. And sometimes they are successful – catching their target even if it is against the odds. Other times, an animal may already be dead and it’s just the result of sniffing it out. But what happens, and should you do, if your dog manages to get a mouse? Let’s take a look.
So, what should you do if your dog has eaten a mouse? You should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog has eaten a mouse. There is a high probability that the mouse is carrying a disease. Alternatively, the mouse could have been poisoned as part of a pest control effort. Either way, a vet will be able to advise on the appropriate course of action.
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It’s better to be safe than sorry.
That is the general approach to dogs eating mice.
While there is no certainty that the mouse was carrying disease or had ingested poison.
But it is a serious possibility.
Wild mice are subjected to a whole host of pathogens and dangerous compounds in their environment.
And they take risks too; it’s a matter of survival.
It’s what they are. It’s what they do.
It’s also why you shouldn’t keep wild mice as pets.
With all of this in mind, let us further explore why it is recommended you call an expert at the earliest opportunity.
Should I Be Worried If My Dog Ate A Mouse?
You should be somewhat concerned if your dog ate a mouse; especially as it is impossible to tell what the mouse could be carrying.
A lot has to do with when your dog ate the mouse and when they are behaving.
But, nevertheless, it’s essential to err on the side of caution.
Swift action and appropriate treatment could prevent long-term complications – so it is essential that you contact a veterinarian as soon as you can.
And most of the time, unless your dog is particularly unfortunate, they should be fine.
Veterinarians have a range of different approaches which include but are not limited to inducing vomiting, using antibiotics, and using agents such as activated charcoal to neutralize and help dispel toxins and compounds from a dog’s body.
Even in cases where dogs do contract an infection, with the right treatment, they can go on to make a full recovery.
Or they may not develop any symptoms or issues altogether.
This is always that.
What Will Happen If A Dog Eats A Mouse?
What happens if a dog eats a mouse entirely depends on the mouse they eat and what they are possibly carrying. For fortunate dogs, they will not experience any adverse reactions assuming they are able to digest the mouse safely.
Besides, dogs are omnivores after all.
Meaning they can derive their nutrition from both animal and plant sources.
In regards to animal sources, mice would fit the bill.
They are not intrinsically dangerous to dogs; dogs and their descendants have been eating raw meat for thousands of years.
The issue, however, is when:
- The mouse is carrying disease,
- The mouse has ingested poison,
- The mouse is too big relative to your dog (digesting therefore can be dangerous and it can result in intestinal blockage)
So a lot has to do with context, but a dog can certainly get sick from killing a mouse.
As we shall see in the next section.
Can A Dog Get Sick From Killing A Mouse?
Dogs can get sick from the act of killing a mouse, even if they do not proceed to eat and swallow them. Even contact with a mouse can be enough to transmit a disease to a dog.
I think at this juncture, it’s important to discuss what mice can carry.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection that is brought about by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite.
A dog can pick this up from the dropping of infected mice, cats, and/or other animals.
Symptoms of contracting this disease include fever, diarrhea, cough, difficulty breathing, jaundice, seizures, and death (in vulnerable dogs with weakened immune systems).
Treatment is not always given, but antibiotics can be used by vets to help treat the infection.
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Leptospira.
Upon progression, this disease can cause serious damage to a dog’s organs (kidney and liver) – it can be fatal in severe cases.
This bacteria is often passed in the urine of infected animals, such as mice, and the bacteria tend to survive for long periods of time in warm, moist conditions.
Dogs sill typically recover from mild infections with the support of a vet, although the time for recovery does vary.
Most often in the form of Roundworms; an intestinal parasite that produces eggs to multiply.
These parasites can be transferred to a dog when they ingest an infected mouse, where they go on to mature in the dog’s intestine.
At this stage, they can steal nutrients and resources; causing your dog to lose valuable nutrition.
This can result in symptoms such as weight loss, abdominal upset, pain, diarrhea an d vomiting.
Vets will typically inspect the poop of a suspected infected dog and will prescribe anti-worming medication if the results turn out positive.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that is caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella.
The one you can get from uncooked chicken.
Mice can be carrying this infection, which is promptly passed over to a dog upon consumption.
Symptoms of Salmonellosis can include bloody or mucus-filled diarrhea, general lethargy, weakness, committing, and/or a fever.
This can result in dehydration, so vets will often treat dogs with a course of rehydration and fluid replacement.
All of these are specified on the CDC website (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This is the national public health agency of the United States, by the way.
And the list is twofold; those that mice can transmit directly to other animals, such as dogs, and those they can transmit indirectly.
Or in other words, diseases they can pass on from other animals.
Lastly, I must quickly mention that a mouse can be carrying rat poison.
This is widely used as means of pest control, and there are various different rodenticides available and used.
It’s important to note that each rodenticide will have a different level of toxicity and different symptoms may be experienced by a dog.
Either way, a dog needs prompt treatment from a vet, who will attempt to safely remove the toxic poison in a safe manner.
How Long After Eating A Mouse Will A Dog Get Sick?
Adverse reactions and symptoms can develop in a dog anywhere from 1 hour to 48 hours after ingesting an infected mouse. The time it takes for symptoms to develop depends entirely on what the mouse was carrying, how much of the mouse your dog has eaten, their digestive capabilities among other factors.
It’s difficult to give a definitive answer.
But, if the mouse was carrying something dangerous – it will become evident in your dog pretty quickly.
And as symptoms can range and vary in severity – it can be difficult to identify what your dog may have picked up.
You don’t want to make that assessment yourself.
Contacting a vet, or even the Pet Poison Helpline, will ensure you get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
But do get in contact promptly – time can make all the difference.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Mice Going Forward
Dogs are challenging to fully control, at the best of times. But thankfully, there are some things you can do to help ensure that your dog does not consume another mouse anytime soon.
First and foremost, you can look to install or prevent access to certain areas of your yard that are most susceptible to mouse infestations.
It could be a shed, it could be an outbuilding.
You may want to install gates, fencing, or use other preventative measures like installing doors, etc.
Secondly, generally monitoring your dog and where they are at all times is something that will help protect them from coming into contact with wild animals and rodents.
Then there are some practical things you can do to limit the chances of mice arriving on your property, to begin with.
Keep all waste, and any pet food (such as your dog’s food, birdseed, fish food, etc) firmly sealed.
So garbage bins should be firmly locked and put in a secure container.
You also do not want to entice mice to set up home on your property.
Warm and cozy outbuildings are particularly vulnerable, especially when it comes to cold wintertime.
There are a number of safe and ethical mouse traps available on the market.
These are a best-seller and my recommendation from Amazon. They’re very cheap too!
Remember, you do not want to be using any rat poison on your property!
I didn’t mean to scare you here today.
But the truth is, mice can be carrying seriously dangerous diseases – and sometimes even poison.
And if they are, time really is of the essence if your dog has eaten a mouse.
So do not hesitate and delay – get in contact with a vet as soon as you can.
Thankfully, they will be able to quickly inspect your dog and tell you there is nothing to worry about.
But at least that way you can relax and rest assured, knowing your dog should be okay.
Nobody wants to see their dog descend into pain or illness.
And quick treatment can ensure that doesn’t happen.
Dogs can die if they eat a mouse that was poisoned; if the poison is sufficiently strong enough, if your dog eats too much of it relative to what they can overcome, and if it is not quickly and safely expelled. A veterinarian will be able to propose and put in place the best course of treatment for the type and amount of poison consumed. This can prevent death even in more severe cases.
Dogs are incredibly unlikely to get rabies from mice or other rodents. In fact, mice rarely carry this disease; it is much more common in larger mammals.
Dogs will naturally scare mice away, but this is not assured. In fact, research has found that the activity of mice does decline in areas where there is a presence of dogs and cats. However, this should not form as the only form of mouse control or repellent.
Concerned or wondering what other things your dog can/cannot eat. Check out my related guides below:
- My Dog Ate A Lizard [Should You Be Concerned & What To Do]
- My Dog Ate A Cockroach [What You Should Do & Need To Know]
- My Dog Ate A Bee [What You Now Need To Do]
- My Dog Ate A Wasp [Should You Be Worried?]
- My Dog Ate A Moth [This Should Be Your Response]
- Dog Ate A Spider [Let’s Hope Its Not One Of These 8]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.