How to Get Rid of Mice Without Harming Your Pet

Published: 5/21/2021

Having mice in your house can be insanity-inducing. Hearing the tap-tap of little feet in your walls and finding “presents” in your cupboards can leave you desperate for solutions. Often, people reach for rodent poisons and spring traps to solve their mouse problems, but it’s not that simple for pet parents. Rodenticides and spring traps can pose serious risks to curious pets. So how do you get rid of mice without harming your pets? Read on to find out!

How do you know if you have a mouse infestation?

Unsure whether or not you have a mouse problem? Here are some signs mice might be lurking around your home:

Droppings

Droppings are a tell-tale sign of a mice infestation. Mouse droppings are tiny in size — ¼ inch to be exact — and are usually found in clusters in the bottoms of drawers or cabinets.

Damage

If you notice itty bitty teeth marks on food boxes, chances are you have a mouse. Mice will often chew holes into cereal and pasta boxes to get to the contents inside. Particularly determined mice can even chew through walls and furniture to reach food or make a nest.

Mouse sightings

Seeing a mouse is an obvious sign of infestation, although few people with mouse infestations actually see the furry intruders. Mice are adept at hiding and rarely come out during the day. Keep in mind that you may have a mouse infestation even if you don’t see them.

Sounds

Mice may be small, but they can make a lot of ruckus. You may hear scratching, gnawing, or squeaking from your walls or cupboards. 

Nests

Like birds and squirrels, mice raise their young in nests. These critters will use just about anything to build their nests, from straw and pine needles to pillow stuffing and insulation. Though the building materials differ by availability, you’ll know a mouse nest when you see one because it looks much like a bird's nest.

Tracks, runways, and grease stains

Droppings aren’t the only thing mice leave in their wake. Tracks, grease stains, and what's called runways all indicate a mice infestation. Runways are little paths of grease, feces, and urine that mice leave behind. These markings are usually found on walls and floors and can be quite prominent in instances of heavy infestation.

Unusual musky odors

Make no mistake about it — mice stink. Their gland secretions and urine left behind are sure to scent your home with their unpleasant odor. If your house smells funny, and you can’t find the source, a mice infestation may be at play.

Pet-safe ways to get rid of mice

Getting rid of mice without posing a risk to your pet can be a tricky business since the most common strategies like rat poison are out the window. However, it is entirely possible to rid your house of these pesky pests without using dangerous rodenticides and mouse traps. Let's explore some ways you can get rid of mice without harming your pet. 

Live traps

Live traps are a humane and pet-safe alternative to snap traps. Live traps come in many shapes and sizes but are usually made from clear plastic or metal and have a lid that you can open to release the live animal. It’s essential that you release mice at least a mile away from your house to prevent them from returning.

Electrical traps

Electronic traps are another option for safely ridding your house of mice. When a mouse crawls inside these traps, they release an electric current that kills the mouse instantly. The great thing about electronic mouse traps is they are small and enclosed, so they can’t harm cats or dogs.

Natural deterrents

Looking for a natural solution to your rodent problem? Try sprinkling cinnamon and cayenne pepper around your home. Make sure you place these spices in your cabinets and in areas your dogs and cats can’t reach since cinnamon and pepper can irritate their eyes and mucus membranes.

Ultrasonic emitters

Modern mice problems require modern solutions — enter ultrasonic emitters. Ultrasonic emitters are little machines that release ultrasonic soundwaves to deter mice (among other animals and insects). These devices emit a noise so loud and unbearable that mice leave.

Thankfully, though, these emit sounds at a frequency higher than humans and pets can hear. The efficacy of ultrasonic emitters tends to taper down over time since some mice become used to the sound — particularly in instances of a heavy infestation. Because of this, it's best to use this method in combination with others on this list.

Tips for success

Below are some tips to make sure your house stays rodent-free:

  • Keep your home exceptionally clean. Wipe all your surfaces after preparing food and regularly sweep and vacuum to remove any food crumbs.

  • Put food away as quickly as possible.

  • Fill in any rodent entryways with steel wool since mice aren’t able to chew through it.

  • Cover your trash cans so rodents can’t feed inside them. 

  • Do not leave dirty dishes in your sink.