It’s widely known that cats are the arch enemy of mice, but what about dogs?
Are dogs good at detering mice and will a dog keep mice away? Well, yes most dogs are good mousers and will keep mice at bay and out of your house. Dogs have a natural predatory instinct which will drive them to hunt mice if allowed and having a dog will keep mice away.
There's a mouse in the house
No matter where you live there is every chance that you have, at some time, had a mouse in your house.
If you live in a rural area then it’s quite common to find mice in the home, particularly in winter or if you are in the habit of leaving food lying around.
The traditional ways of rodent control normally involves traps or a cat, but you might wonder will a dog keep mice away?
Dogs have an excellent sense of smell which means that if a mouse does come into the home then your dog is likely to know and, given the chance, will probably hunt around, looking for the mouse.
Are dogs good at catching mice?
Dogs have a natural instinct to hunt prey and depending on the breed and the ancestry of the dog, this instinct is stronger is some dogs than others.
Gundogs, terriers and working dogs are more likely to be driven to hunt mice out that enter the home or which they find outside.
Every dog has a remarkable sense of smell and they are capable of smelling things and animals in a way that people cannot imagine.
When it comes to dogs they can be just as fierce as a cat in dealing with mice.
If a mouse enters your home then it is entering your dog’s territory and it is highly likely that your dog will scent it.
The dog will sniff around trying to find the intruder and will probably be distracted until he has found the mouse.
Do dogs attract mice or keep them away?
If you have a dog and have seen mice in the house then you might wonder if your dog is attracting mice?
There is nothing to suggest that this is the case, but if you leave food down for the dog then this could be a source of an easy meal for a mouse, so you could, unwittingly, be attracting mice into the house this way.
To prevent this you should clear away any uneaten dog food. Not only will this remove a food source for mice it is also good practice in getting your dog to eat his food.
Dogs are hunters and will happily eat a mouse if they have a chance of catching one.
It is highly unlikely that a mouse would take his chances with a dog and unlikely that dogs attract mice.
Signs of dog smelling a mouse
Our dogs have incredible senses of smell, which we really cannot fully appreciate or understand.
There will be times when your dog displays behaviour that will appear confusing and sometimes a little crazy.
If there is a mouse around and your dog has scented it then it’s likely that he will:
- Charge around like crazy, trying to follow the scent. He’ll have his nose down to the floor one minute then the next he’ll be sniffing the air.
- He may scratch at walls as mice may be inside the cavities and your dog will be able to smell them.
- Your dog may sniff and claw underneath furniture where mice may have hidden or run under.
- Cupboards and other closet type areas which are dark and warm are places where mice hide and your dog may sniff and try to open doors.
- Should there be a mouse then your dog will display excitement, panting and generally charging around trying to ‘hunt’ the creature out.
What do I do if my dog catches a mouse?
If your dog catches a mouse then it is highly likely that he will kill it. The natural instinct of dogs is to hunt prey, kill it and then eat it.
Unlike a cat, which will play with a mouse the dog will finish the job quickly and generally without any cruelty.
Many people get concerned if their dog eats a mouse but there is no reason to be frightened or worried. Dogs are natural predators and they have lived for years hunting and eating small creatures such as rodents.
It is highly unlikely that your dog will experience any ill effects from eating a mouse.
Don't like the dog option? Try a mousetrap
How do I train my dog to catch mice in the house?
Working with and encouraging your dog’s instinct to hunt is the best way. Dog’s love to chase and follow a scent with their noses.
Next time you see a mouse in your home, encourage your dog to the area where you saw the creature and tell your dog to ‘find it’. If you use an excitable tone your dog should pick up on this.
You will know when he smells the mouse, his excitement levels will raise, he will sniff around quickly and start to rapidly explore the room or area where the mouse was spotted.
If the dog spots the mouse then you’ll need to encourage him to chase it and hunt it down.
When he catches it you should reward him with lots of praise and encouragement.
It is unlikely that you’ll be able to catch the mouse yourself and the reality is that your dog will probably kill any mice that he captures, so you need to be prepared for the reality of this.
What are the best breeds of dog for catching mice?
Almost every dog is capable of hunting mice in the home but there are some that are better than the rest.
Traditionally the terrier breeds were bred for rodent hunting, normally rats. These tough little dogs are suitably sized for getting into the nooks and crannies where mice hide.
Other dogs suited for the role are the gundog breeds notably spaniels who have an incredible sense of smell and a strong drive to hunt live ‘game’.
Cats and Dogs
Most of us know that dogs and cats are long term enemies, but as a team to combat mice they can be very effective.
I’ve previously seen dogs and tomcats work together to combat rodents and the interaction between the dogs and the cats was impressive.
A team from the University of Florida concluded that combinations of dogs and cats were the best way to keep rodents under control – and that the prescence of both increased fear in the rodents and reduced their levels.(source: Science Daily).
So if you have lots of mice a team may be the way to go.
Will a dog keep mice away? A dog is an effective deterrent against mice and is also a good way to control mice if they come into your home.
Dogs are natural predators with a great sense of smell and a natural hunting drive to find prey.
You’ll need to be prepared as your dog will probably eat any mice that he catches and, if you are squeamish then you might just need to get a cat as well, or a mouse trap.
Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API