I have discovered mice love dog food. Mice particularly love when dog food is left out in easy to reach places like bowls on the floor. Having lived with a dog for 4 years in New York City, a city filled with mice and rats, I have found that even if you live in an apartment with no mice, if you get a dog, it's likely the mice will find you and when they do you’re in trouble. Getting rid of mice around dogs can be a tricky thing. If you have a small apartment like a studio, where you can't keep your dog locked in a separate room, leaving traps out may not be an option so you have to get creative. If you think you have a mouse, you need to act fast before a small problem gets worse. Below is what you should and should not do if you have a dog and are trying to get rid of mice.
No More Grazing
If your dog is a grazer, you need to get it immediately on a schedule for feeding. Mice love nothing more then a bowl of food left on the floor. When you feed your dog, present it with its food and give it a set amount of time to eat it, for example 15 minutes. If it shows no interest, pick the food up and try at the next scheduled time. The next time you present your dog its food, it will likely gobble it up. If your dog is a slow eater, you can give it more time but make sure when the time is up so is the food. When your dog is done, clean the area where its food was so no crumbs are left.
Lock Up The Food
Next, take all the remaining food and lock it in something mouse proof. You can use hard plastic canisters with airtight lids or improvise if you must. I used a large stockpot with a heavy lid for a while that worked well - I just dropped the food in bag and all. Remember, mice can almost always find ways up, they can climb curtains and jump really high, and so putting the food up in the cupboard is not an option. The food must be locked in something mouse proof.
Although it may be tempting to want to put down a poison block, do not use poison. The problem with using poison is three fold. First, your dog might get into the poison and get sick. Second, the mice might track the poison around so even if you leave the poison block in one location where your dog can't get it, the mice might track the poison to other locations that your dog can get at. Third, if you poison the mice and your dog catches them, it will be ingesting a poisoned mouse and get sick. The only situation when poison is ok is if you have a professional exterminator put the poison directly into the wall and the wall is sealed completely. Otherwise if you have to use poison, remove your dog and don’t bring it back until you have dealt with the mice and have cleaned up all the poison.
Block The Holes
Use steel wool to block the mice holes and then cover the holes with caulking or plaster. Mice can squeeze into the smallest of holes so fill everything. Keep your dog away from the steel wool and make sure you wipe up all the loose pieces so it doesn’t eat them.
Traps are ok as long as you place them where you dog can't at them. Snap traps, which need space to work, can hurt dog noses, toes and ears and depending on what you bait them with can be enticing to both the mouse and your dog so keep them high up. Put snap traps up on counters, shelves and any flat surface where the mouse might go. Glue traps can stick to your dog too, but because they are flat you can slide them in areas your dog can't reach but mice can like under the refrigerator, next to the stove or under the sink. They are very flat so you don't need much space to put one down. Just make sure your dog cannot paw it out from its location.
If you are finding your personal efforts are not working to get rid of the mouse, call an exterminator. If you don't deal with the problem, your one mouse will turn to 50 in the blink of an eye and they will be looking to feast on your dog’s food and any other food in the house.