Mice, Poison, and My Dog. Opinions/Advice, Please.

This morning, I was horrified when a mouse ran out of my pantry. Upon inspection of the contents, I found evidence that my happy home has become a food bank for needy rodent families.

I called my husband in tears, and demanded that he bring home the needed artillary in the War Against Rodentkind-- traps, poisons, and Tupperwear boxes in which to store all of the food in the pantry. Being the good man that he is, he left work to do my bidding, and helped to clean out the cabinets.

My husband bought live traps, and my grandmother brought over a selection of poison. I had wanted to go with live traps alone, but my grandmother argued hotly that poison was the only way to rid myself of my new houseguests. I was torn with sympathy, telling her that it’s not their fault God ended up making them into mice, and they’re just doing what mice do . . . Should that merit a death sentence?

My choice was to catch them in the live traps, and then drive them to the park and release them (which I’ll still do if they happen into the live trap.)

That is, until one of the little cretins ran from his hiding place over my foot. After that, out came the poison. I laid out an incongruous mixture of live traps and D-Con. I would let Fate decide, I told myself, whether an individual mouse took a bite of death, or won an all-expenses-paid trip to the local State Park and freedom in the wilds.

My main concern, besides a niggling sympathy, is that my dog may find a poisoned mouse and eat it. Grandma insists that they’ll try to die out of sight, not where the dog, or any other local outdoor wildlife might happen upon them, and even if my dog did eat a poisoned corpse, the amount of poison that killed the mouse probably wouldn’t be enough to hurt a 50 pound dog. As long as I keep the poison itself inaccessible, I don’t have anything to worry about.

I’m torn. What should I do? I still do feel sorry for the poor mice, who, after all, are just, you know,* trying to make a living.* I can’t have them in my house, of course. They’re nasty, and their droppings befouled my cabinets. My grandmother warned me in dire tones that if I don’t do something now, they’ll take over. (Which gave me my only laugh of the day-- imagining coming home to find a large mouse on my couch, watching TV.) The only way to be mouse-free is to lay poison.

Is she right? Will my live traps work if all of the food is inaccessible? Do I need to be worried about my dog? Besides getting a cat, what’s the best way to be mice-free?

I wouldn’t worry about the dog eating a poisoned mouse so much as I would about the dog eating the poison itself. For some crazy reason, dogs think rat poison is ultra-yummy, and they’re incredibly resourceful at getting to things they think are yummy. That stuff is pretty concentrated, too, so it’s really easy for them to eat enough to kill them, and they don’t start showing symptoms till it’s too late to do anything for them. Rodenticides don’t make for a very nice death, either. Trust me.

You might try a combination of keeping everything inaccessible, traps, and those sonic rodent-repeller thingies. The combination kept my parents’ raging mouse infestation (they live out in the middle of nowhere, and field mice invade in droves in the fall) to a minimum. It didn’t abate completely till they got a cat, though.

Also, some dogs are surprisingly good mousers. Your puppy might just open up a can of whoop-ass on those nasty critters.

Or you could handle it, the way my mother did. She used those sticky traps and when she woke up in the morning, the poor guys were fighting with all their might to get “unstuck”. One, had his head stuck to the damn thing, in addition, to his wittle paws.

I wanted to scream. She of course couldn’t handle it, so she called my husband to help her drown them! He’s still torn up about the whole incident.

The mice WILL try to go somewhere inaccessible to die, and they will die there, and they will stink. On the other hand, if you catch any in the live trap I will be amazed, and you will absolutely not catch ALL of them in the live trap.

As CrazyCatLady says, some dogs are excellent mousers. Most cats are too. Could you borrow a cat? Perhaps the cat could provide some pointers.

I set out mouse poison once. Never again. It takes the mice days to die, and they run through the house like crazy while they’re dying. They run in circles, they flail on their backs, and they run into things.

It’s horrible, and your dog will have many chances to eat the poisoned mice. I don’t think you should risk it.

Yeah, I wouldn’t use the poison with a dog around. The dog could eat the poison, the poisoned mouse, or both. I think it would harm a dog. That poison is horrible too. They poisoned a bunch of rats at my work once and they sat outside in the gutter for an entire eight hour day, suffering a slow and painful death.
What kind of dog do you have? Is he interested in catching the mice?
My dog hunts any mouse or rat that dares to come in my house.
How about a cat? Cats kill mice? Or borrow a terrier from someone…that’ll kill them. Have you shown your dog where the mice are hanging out? Maybe he’ll step up to the call of duty!

Oh, God, this happened to us, as well.

Last winter, we had a mouse in the basement. I put down a sticky trap, thinking I could just pull him off, and set him free in a place far from my home.

I caught him that evening. He was so cute! But the poor thing was quivering in fear, covered completely by the goo. There was no extricating him, so Hubby and I started discussing murder plans.

We debated which method would be the least painful. I vetoed drowning, because I’ve heard it’s painful. “How 'bout hitting him with a hammer?” I suggested.

“I am NOT doing that,” Hubby said flatly. “I mean, the splatter factor *alone *. . .”

“Okay, what do you suggest?” I asked.

Hubby thought for a moment, then said, “Let’s put him in the microwave.”

“Ugh! He’ll boil and explode!”

Hubby winced, “Would it be instant? We could put him in a bag . . .”

“Not instant enough.”

“Well, how about the freezer? With hypothermia, you just drift away.”

“I am not putting a mouse in my microwave, or my freezer. If you won’t hit him with a hammer, how about stomping on him?”

“I might not kill him instantly.”

“Then, let’s run over him.”

And that’s what we did. At two o’clock AM, we put the mouse, still struggling in his gluey quagmire in a paper bage, then started up the car and ran over the package swiftly.

This time, we’ve decided against the glue traps, despite their efficacy.

I was really surprised at the terse directions on the glue trap package. As to what to do when the trap is occupied, the directions just tell you to “dispose” of the mouse and trap. Oh, the idea of a mousie starving to death was too much for me.

CrazyCatLady, the poison is in the pantry, behind a large wooden slide-outshelf. To get at it, my dog would need a combination of prehensile thumbs, and the ability to wiggle the shelf from its place. Hell, even I have trouble moving the thing. The other batch is beneath the stove, which, again, I think is inaccessible to her. She’s clever, but not that clever.

Not a good mouser, though. My steel-hearted granny managed to club one of the mice to death with a can of tomato paste while we were sealing up all of the food. He decided to make a run for it. Quick as a flash and with surprising agility, my grandmother beaned him. Poor fella never knew what hit him.

The dog ran in to see what was causing the commotion, and saw the little corpse. Before I could say anything, she lapped it up. “Put that down,” I ordered.

My grandmother said evilly, “No, don’t stop her. Let her get a *taste * for them.”

A moment later, the dog spat out the bedraggled little body, and wandered away. I’m hoping that’s an indicator that if she finds any more, she’ll ignore them until I can dispose of them.

I tend to be very, very leery of thinking an animal can’t get at something. If I had a buck for every time an owner told me, “I still don’t understand how on Earth he could have…” I would be a wealthy woman. It’s uncanny how animals manage to get themselves in trouble. They’re even worse than toddlers in that respect.

Of course, my perceptions tend to be colored by the fact that I never see the ones who don’t manage to get themselves in trouble.

You don’t need poison you need a smaller dog. I have an 8 lb. Rat Terrier/Jack Russell mix which is a RAT TERROR! We had some problems with rats (not your cute little mousies but BIG F*&ING RATS)! Our rat terror elimniated every single one. She also eliminates squirles and the slower species of birds.

She took on a rat which was about 90% her size and dispatched it within 2 seconds! The damn thing bit her in the process but luckily there was no rabies involved. Once she latches on (and by instinct its always the neck) an instantaneous and rapid series of shakes snaps the neck of the victim and instantly kills it. She even practices her technique on a stuffed play toy of hers. She will pounce on it and fling it back and forth and then toss it 4-6’ into the air (just like her victims).

I think its a quick and humane way to dispatch your rodent problem. She won’t eat the rats but she is known for her fondness of squirle flesh. After she has consumed most of the carcase though she has the nasty habit of rolling around in the remants and geting the stench of dead squirle all over her. She gets lots of baths!

I’ll rent her out to you for a weekend and you won’t have any more mice! We also have a lazy cat which, sometimes will get lucky and catch the slower rodents and birds around the house and yard but he is no killer like the dog.

Don’t use the poison. Get a cat or live traps. The poison could actually end up poisoning one of your neighbor’s cats as well. No need to freak. Mice aren’t that bad. We get half a dozen every year (living on the edge of the woods as we do) and it’s just not that big a deal. The tupperware is definitely your friend, as far as stashing your groceries. But avoid th poison.

You know, honest to God, I havenever seen a cat in this neighborhood. Plenty of dogs, but nary a feline. This is ground-squirrel paradise.


I guess, more than anything, I resent their wasteful ways. They ate into *four * packages of Ramen noodles. They didn’t even finish the first one!

Re getting a cat: not all of them are mousers. In fact, most of them are not mousers. Don’t count on a cat to rid your house of anything.

Pets and other animals WILL eat a dead poisoned rodent that has escaped into the outside. It doesn’t take much strychnine to kill a dog or cat. And glue traps are cruel - if you think it’s gross to see a live mouse still stuck to one, how about seeing only part of the mouse still stuck to one, because he chewed off a leg or tail in order to escape. Cleaning up the blood and body parts is quite gross. Get live traps or snap ones.

Gettig a cat is not an option for me. My dog is the jealous type.

I never was an advocate of poisoning the critters for the secondary poisoning reasoning. CrazyCatLady, you may very well be right that a dead poisoned mouse is too small to contain enough poison to hurt a dog, but I always worried about the beneficial wildlife too. What does it do to the redtail in the neighborhood who picks up a few of the mice after they stumble out and die somewhere? Or the barn owl? These are neighbors that I’d like to keep around, thank you very much.

So for that reason, I have never set out poison. I have no problem with killing them - snap traps are clean and quick. I don’t care for the slow death of a glue trap. If I’m going to make the decision to kill something, I’d like it to be quick and respectful to the animal.

Then the unthinkable happened. During a winter storm, my back fence blew down, and my first border collie got out. I loved this dog - he went on travel with me and was my constant companion. Well, when he got out, he got into something (we’ll never know what). The next morning he was having serious seizures. I took him to the vet, and spent over a thousand dollars trying to nurse my poor dog through a miserable week. He was so unhappy and in so much pain that I almost put him down a few times just so he wouldn’t feel it any more. The vet thought there was a slim chance of him recovering though, so we toughed it out. The vet’s best guess was that it was a poisoning, although he said it didn’t have all of the typical symptoms. His intestines were eating themselves from the inside out, and he was still seizuring all the time.

After a week, the vet seemed to think that he’d stabilized enough to send home. I used to be a vet tech, so I could manage pretty intensive care at home, and frankly, the expenses were breaking me. His seizures were tapering off to one or two a day. He was not expected to regain full mental capacity.

Well, that night I set him up in the laundry room, warm and dry and comfortable. My small kids and I were in the adjacent living room when he started screaming. He was having a most massive seizure, and then he died. My kids were traumatized - my youngest was only two. I was a wreck; I couldn’t even bag his body. The worst part was that the next day, I had to take him back to the vet’s to have his head cut off for a rabies test. He had enough of the symptoms that I and the vet were suspicious, but it was an incredibly hard thing to do.

No, he didn’t have rabies, so that reinforced my feeling that it was poison. Which I hadn’t even used. So I’m even more extremely anti-poison now. If you have to kill something, please do it in a manner that doesn’t kill other animals.

On preview, this sounds like I’m against killing the mouse in the first place - not at all; they’re a nuisance and don’t belong in the house. And I’m a hunter. I just advocate respectful killing.


Hint for the glue traps… pick up the trap (using the end that’s as far from the trapped mouse as possible), put it into a reasonably deep bucket (to prevent escape), and pour a generous dollop of vegetable/olive/corn/whatever oil over the trap and mouse. Frees the critter up almost immediately, and you can then follow your plan to drop them off in the local park.

If it’s cold out you may want to give the mouse a bit of time to dry out, though. We usually held onto them for a day or so before transport to make sure they wouldn’t freeze.

In my experience the live traps don’t work at all. The sticky traps work pretty well, when you bait them with peanut butter, but like some others here have said. It’s too heartwrenching to have to then drown the poor things.

I know, I KNOW, it’s really hypocritical to then use poison so that they’ll go die where you can’t see them.

What I did was put all the poison in the little “mazelike” traps up on the counter. Then the decon I put under the sinks. All the cabinet drawers have childproof locks, so my dog couldn’t get to them.

She DID step in one of the sticky traps to get to the peanut butter, but she learned her lesson after one, and never touched them again.

By the way, if you do decide to use the sticky traps? Drown the mouse right away. I got one one night, and decided that I just couldn’t face doing him in right that moment. I got up the next morning and he’d managed to get himself out somehow.

We had mice once, it turned into quite a problem. Three of our (human) house inhabitants were that kind of woman who, at the mere suggestion of a mouse, shrieks and jumps up on the nearest furniture, clutching her skirts . The male house inhabitant decided that he shouldn’t have to deal with the mice just because he was a man, so therefore, he didn’t have to deal with them at all. Thus it fell to me, the vegetarian animal rights activist who wasn’t really bothered by them (my food was in jars and my room far from the kitchen) to empty the traps before the shriekers saw them. Not that I’m still bitter.

Eventually we had to call in an exterminator, who did a really good job. He had this pink powdery stuff that he laid out around the house. It’s not a poison, exactly, what it does is dehydrates whatever eats it. If a mouse eats it, it will either leave the house looking for water, drown in the toilet (gross, yes, but IMHO much better than sticky traps), or die of dehydration. Since they are all dried out their little corpses (wherever they are) don’t smell. And, if something else (pets, kids, hungry boyfriends) eats the pink stuff, they can just drink a bunch of water.

I’ve had enough mice to know that traps really aren’t very effective. It wasn’t expensive, less than $100 for sure. Get the pink stuff.

PS, if you want to “free them” from sticky traps a few squirts on their stuck parts with starter fluid will work.

Of course then you have to worry that they might ingest that, etc.

Also, starter fluid has ether, you can squirt it on a paper towel and ether the mouse to death. He just “drifts” off, albeit struggling against the paper towel a bit.

Not much fun either way, but at least if you want to “give them a chance” you can take the sticky trap to the “wilds” ether them free of the trap, and at least they’ve got a chance.

The best way to be mice-free is to seal every crack, hole, or cranny that they can use to get into your house in the first place. At our cottage, we use that expandable sealant stuff that hardens into a rock-solid mass that the wee buggers can’t chew. Try to make sure that your doors are closed properly too, they can sneak in through a tiny crack in a screen door or whatever if not properly latched.

It’s a pain in the ass to search out their entrance points, because they can get into holes as small as a dime. But it is well worth it, don’t forget that some types of mice can carry Hanta virus. I’m not sure where you live, Lissa, but Hanta virus has been found in some mice populations as far north as Algonquin Park in Northern Ontario.

Once you’re sure you have sealed their entrances, use a respirator mask and gloves to clean up their droppings, just to be on the safe side. I washed all the shelving, and dishes that they got into with scalding hot water and bleach. I made a solution of bleach and water and sprayed it onto the areas with a mister afterwards, and let dry, just to be on the safe side. Apparently, they leave a trail of urine as a marker everywhere they go, (yuck). We found it along with their poo-pellets all over in the place in the cupboards they had gotten into.

Here’s a trap we used in addition to the standard type: The stick & 5-gal. bucket trap. Put a few inches of anti-freeze into the bucket, this will stop them stinking after they drown in it. Secure a stick to the bucket with a floppy piece of plastic on the end. The floppy piece of plastic is to hang over the bucket opening. Place a large dollop of peanut butter on the very end of the plastic. The mice will use the stick as a runway to get to the peanut butter, which they love, and fall into the anti-freeze. You can then carry the whole bucket out and get rid of the bodies safely. We disposed of them in a very hot bonfire in order to make sure there were no little corpses for our Rotti to get into.

Obviously, you must be very careful that your dog can’t get into the anti-freeze. A very small amount will kill him in fairly short order. We took extra pains to protect our Rotti when we were dealing with the mice problem at the cottage.

I understand your reluctance to kill them, you’re absolutely right, they’re only trying to live. But it’s not worth it having them in your home, it really isn’t. The few that you kill will barely make a dent in the overall population, and of course those you kill will not be adding to the problem in your area.

Heck, I feel bad when I kill ant colonies around my house. But, we gotta draw the line somewhere, unfortunately.

I am extremely happy to report that I caught one!!! My lure of penut butter, dog food and a chocolate-striped shortbread cookie was too much temptation.

After a bit of interrogation, (he was pretty scared, and started squealing immediately) he confessed to being the mouse which ran over my foot. The court (me) then sentenced him to banishment. We’re taking him to the park in the morning.

That’s two down. I’m hoping the others learned from the plight of their friends, and will go back out into the field where they belong. Maybe I should have hung the first mouse’s corpse in chains at the crossroads as a dark warning to others who would trod this path, but I don’t know where the Mouse Highway bisects.

I have removed the poison. Honestly, I didn’t know poisoning was so painful for the mice. Somehow, I had the mental image of a mouse clutching his throat, staggering around, and gasping, “Tell my wife I love her” before collapsing dead as a stone.

**Triss, ** sealing every crack and cranny in this house would basically entail building a new house. Hubby and I live in employer-supplied housing, and to put it delicately, there’s the occasional maintenance issue. There are so many potential entry points, that I wouldn’t know where to begin. Until now, we’ve been pretty lucky.

**cowgirl, ** I’d be too afraid of the “pink stuff” affecting my dog. The mouse poison was the first time I’ve ever allowed anything like that in my home. We don’t use any insecticides or pesticides indoors or out, because I’m afraid it will get tracked in, and be ingested by my dog when she licks her paws.

**bowert, ** I wish I had local wildlife like you do, but I’ve yet to even see a cat around here. It’s a semi-rural area, but there doesn’t even seem to be the “pest” wildlife, like raccoons. The only wildlife seems to be ground squirrels. I’m wondering if they know something I don’t and there’s a reason why animals avoid this area. Kinda scary, if you think about it.