What Do I Do If My Dog Ate A Mouse? (Dead Or Alive)

My Dog Ate A Mouse. Photo of a dog looking into a dead mouse

If your dog’s eaten a mouse, you’ve most likely caught him in the act. Here’s what you need to know about your dog’s chosen snack!

If your dog has eaten a mouse, you’ll want to call a vet or an emergency hotline. A mouse isn’t necessarily dangerous for your dogs, but the poison or illness they could carry is! Mice have all sorts of diseases and parasites, including roundworms. These can cause long-term health concerns for your dog’s diet and nutrient absorption, amongst other problems.

What will happen if a dog eats a mouse?

It depends on what kind of mouse your dog ate! Mice fall into two distinct categories: “regular” mice or field mice.

Regular mice have the most considerable risk. Most mice that dogs find, dead or alive, are used to sneaking around homes and other structures, meaning they have come into contact with some kind of poison more than likely. Or, they’ve eaten something that has been.

Either way, eating a mouse that has been in your basement, home, etc., often leads to issues with poison.

Field mice can often be a little safer as far as potential poison is concerned. Since they’re wild and live in grassy areas, their risk of poison is much lower.

However, field mice still pose a threat to dogs mainly through their potential for carrying parasites and sicknesses.

The other consideration factor (hold onto your breakfast, guys) is whether or not the mouse was alive or dead when the dog ate it.

A live mouse is safer because, well, nothing’s killed it yet. A dead mouse has died due to something (which will then pass on to your dog). Dead animals quickly become targets for larvae of many bugs and bacteria (which can cause problems as your dog digests them).

Regarding what to do about your dog eating a mouse, he’ll most likely have to go to the vet. The vet will determine whether his snack was safe or potentially dangerous (especially if you suspect the mouse died due to poisoning).

Can a dog digest a whole mouse?

In most cases, yes. Most mice are small and can be broken down quickly by your dog’s stomach acid and digestion. You may find a few skeletal remnants in their poop, though! That being said, if you have a young puppy or a tiny dog, you may potentially have an issue with a blockage in your dog’s digestive tract. 

Can a dog get sick from killing a mouse?

Whether your dog kills the mouse by eating it, or he finds it dead and eats it, a dog can get sick from eating a mouse. There are a few different kinds of sicknesses possible. The most popular ones include:

  • Roundworm
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Secondary poisoning

Roundworm

Roundworms are considered one of the most common complications after eating a mouse. Both alive and dead, mice are great targets for roundworms.

It is a kind of parasite that will take up residence in the stomach of whatever host they’re in, and they will start absorbing nutrients from your diet. Your dog could be eating a perfectly balanced diet and still be malnourished because he has a case of roundworm.

Suffering from roundworm includes symptoms such as poor health, vomiting, and diarrhea (check our article about why a dog is having diarrhea at night).

Toxoplasmosis

Caused by a specific kind of bacteria, toxoplasmosis is common in mice. It can be a serious illness leading to organ failure and a compromised immune system that can be lifelong.

The disease is especially dangerous to young dogs and pregnant dogs (or people) since it causes the most risk for younger people.

Symptoms of this include muscle weakness, fever, and neurological issues (such as mental fog).

Leptospirosis

Caused by yet another kind of bacteria, this can cause an infection in your dog that can lead to death very quickly.

It is one of the most dangerous complications since the symptoms of this are very mild and easy to miss even when watching for them. It is one of the most important reasons why eating a mouse should get your dog a trip to the vet!

Nonetheless, you can watch for symptoms such as increased thirst, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. 

Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is an infection, and it can lead to death if it’s left untreated. While it is rare in mice (compared to the above issues), it is something to think about. Symptoms include dehydration, going into shock, and a fever. 

Secondary poisoning

If your dog’s eaten a dead mouse, this is most likely one of the most severe and likely complications.

Since poison most likely killed the mouse, it’s going to be eaten by your unassuming dog, and your dog will then have the poisoned in its system. Rat and mouse poison can easily kill even large dogs and is also dangerous to humans.

Symptoms of secondary poisoning include blood in his pee or poop, seizures, bruising under the skin, and pale gums.

Can a dog get rabies from eating a mouse?

In most cases, rabies isn’t something to be concerned about from mice, specifically. Realistically, a mouse infected by rabies won’t last long enough to be eaten easily by your dog. So, the rabies virus would be dead before your dog could eat it.

With that, it’s not entirely impossible. You’ll want to make sure that your dog is up on all of the vet-recommended shots for that reason. Plus, it’s just a good idea for your dog’s long-term health.

Are mouse bones bad for dogs?

You don’t need to worry about mouse bones and your dog’s digestive tract in most cases. Your dog’s digestive system will easily break them down to pass easily through and deposit outside! 

It would be best if you kept an eye on smaller dogs who’ve even mice. Since their bodies are smaller, they’re more likely to have blockages due to mouse bones!

Why do I need to call the vet?

Dogs have been eating mice forever and not had an issue, so why do you need to take him to a vet immediately?

Realistically speaking, your dog could very well be fine. Maybe he’ll have a bit of an upset stomach, but a strong immune system and all of his shots mean he can be okay in many cases.

Unfortunately, mice kills come with a lot of manmade issues, namely poison. Even if your dog could handle the natural bacteria and parasites, he will always need immediate help from mouse or rat poison.

A trip to the vet is essential, even if you don’t think something poisoned the mouse. Realistically, you don’t know that it hasn’t been, and the risk is high if you are wrong!

How to prevent my dog from eating a mouse again

Okay, so you got through your dog’s first mouse-eating incident, and now you want to make sure that it never happens again, right? Great idea! There are a few approaches that you can take to help with that.

Training

Training is going to be the best option because it’s based on obedience no matter what.

Train your dog the “drop it” or “leave it” command. It means that the dog will drop the mouse (or tennis ball, etc.) on command when you tell him, and you’ll be able to wash his mouth out and keep him safe.

Make sure you use it enough with him to get him used to it (even on harmless things). The command will help him obey you whenever needed.

Traps

Suppose you are having this issue because you are living somewhere with a mouse problem. In that case, you’ll want to look at something a bit more helpful, like calling in pest control (if applicable) and/or setting traps.

These can be tricky since your dog will like the peanut butter or cheese you use, so you’ll have to put them somewhere your dog can get to them, but the mice can!

It’s essential to avoid all poison products when it comes to dealing with mice yourself. Mouse poison is dangerous to everyone in your house. It can cause serious problems with cats, dogs, children, and even grown adults who come into contact with it.

Since there are no animal or human-safe mice poisons, do not use poison unless you have no pets or kids. If you feel poison is your only choice, you’ll certainly want to call in the professionals.

Conclusion

If your dog eats a mouse, he could be at risk for infections, illnesses, and poisoning. You’ll need to train him to drop the mouse on command and get in touch with the vet about possible complications.

It’s never fun to discover that your dog’s eaten a mouse, but the tips above will help you keep your dog safe and sound.

If you know someone who has a common issue with mice in their home, this might be useful for their dog’s safety!

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Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have.