Due to their small size, mice can get into many small spaces. You may find them in your shower, furniture or inside kitchen cabinets and pantry. Some homeowners have even found them eating leftover dog food in pet bowls. If you’ve found a mouse in your dog food bowl, you may be wondering – do mice eat dog food? Here are some dietary facts that may help exclude mice from your home.
Does Dog Food Attract Mice?
In short, yes, dog food can attract mice and other rodents. To better understand why, let’s look at the typical mouse diet and eating habits. Mice are omnivores, eating a variety of foods containing fats and proteins, such as seeds and grains. But, mice are opportunistic eaters which means that almost nothing is off limits when it comes to feeding time. Think grass, insects, and meats. Throughout the night, mice can make multiple trips in search of food. This includes uneaten dog food that your pet may have left in its bowl. So, why are mice attracted to dog food? Simply put, dog food contains fats and proteins that are beneficial to mice. This means that your pet food may be appetizing to more than one animal in your home.
When mice get into your food supply, they can cause hazardous contamination. According to the University of Florida Extension, mice can contaminate ten times as much food as they eat. This contamination is a result of their hair, urine and/or feces. Mice and rats can carry pathogens that may cause diseases including plague, typhus, rabies, and bacterial food poisoning. Rodents, such as mice can contaminate food for humans, pets and livestock. Thus, proper sanitation and prevention methods for mice and other rodents are critical to public and veterinary health.
To help prevent mice from entering your home and/or contaminating your food, be sure to clean up all exposed food left outdoors and inside. Mice only need 4 to 5 grams of food per day to survive. Thus, even small crumbs can attract mice. Mice have even been known to inhabit new homes before construction was finished and feed off workers’ lunches. So, imagine what they can do with a kitchen containing multiple sources of exposed food. Be aware that sanitation efforts alone may not be enough to suppress an existing mouse population; however, routine cleaning can help get rid of mice attractants, such as food, that may lure mice inside.
Another important factor in mouse prevention is sealing any openings around your home. Mice have small bodies – only 5 to 7 inches long. Thus, they can squeeze into openings as small as ¼ of an inch. When sealing openings, avoid using materials that mice can bite through such as plastic, screen, wood or rubber. Instead, consider using steel wool. In addition, it’s crucial to understand where these openings are most often found. While there are obvious areas – doors, windows, and screens – many places are often overlooked. Think water pipes, vents, and building foundations. Since many of these openings may go undetected, consider consulting professional wildlife professionals for assistance.
These mice prevention methods can be effective but some may not necessarily be appropriate for your property. Similarly, multiple solutions, using an integrated pest management approach, may be needed successfully eliminate and exclude mouse populations. If you notice mice in your home, schedule an appointment with Terminix®. Upon the initial visit, one of our trained technicians can help determine the right solutions for your home. With help from our professionals, you (and your pet) can finally eat in peace.