It might sound too nasty to be true, but dog poop really does attract rodents. If you have a pup at home, this means their droppings could be tempting rodents into your yard. And, once they’re in your yard, they’re dangerously close to your garage, kitchen, and basement!
But why does dog poop attract mice and rats, and what can you do to prevent rodent infestations?
Does dog poop really attract rodents, or is it just an urban myth?
It’s no myth – dog poop really does attract rats and mice. That’s right; your beloved pup could be luring a steady stream of rodents into your backyard (albeit unintentionally, of course). And, once they’ve found your garden, your kitchen is bound to be their next destination!
If you’re facing regular rat invasions but your kitchen is spotless, your trash well-managed and your food securely stored, your dog’s droppings could be the overlooked root of your problem. But why are rats and mice so into dog poop, and what can you do about it?
Why does dog poop attract rats and mice?
It’s true, dog poop really does attract rats and mice. The big question is, why?!
The nasty fact is that rats and mice will eat dog poop, especially if there are undigested bits of food in there. However, it’s unlikely to be their first choice, and they certainly won’t choose it over actual food.
If you have poorly-secured trash cans with food waste outside your house, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’re going for that over your dog’s poop.
Why are rats and mice a problem?
As you’ve probably guessed from the poop-eating, rodents are filthy creatures. These sewer-dwelling, trash-sifting animals are crawling with pathogens and will transmit germs to everything they touch. This can result in the transmission of potentially life-threatening diseases, such as:
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
- Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
- Lassa Fever
- Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis LCM)
- Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
- Rat Bite Fever
- South America Arenaviruses
How can you prevent your dog’s poop from attracting rodents?
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to make your dog’s poop less attractive to rodents. The only way to stop it from bringing rats and mice into your yard is to pick it up immediately and dispose of it in a sealed trash can.
However, if your dog is an erratic pooper, it can be tricky to stay on top of the clean-up.
This is especially true if your pup has a habit of picking a new spot each time they go to the bathroom. In this case, you might want to try training your dog to only poo in a designated part of your yard, so you don’t have to spend time hunting for droppings. Alternatively, paying attention to when your dog usually poops (like first thing in the morning, or after meals) can make his bowel movements more predictable.
Either way, being vigilant about poop pick-up is the only way to make sure it doesn’t attract rodents into your yard. If you never leave a poop unattended but you still have rodent issues, there might be something else drawing them to your house.
What else can attract rodents?
Rats and mice love garbage, especially if there are scraps of food waste in there. If your trash can isn’t securely fastened, it’s almost guaranteed to bring rodents into your yard. Keep your garbage cans firmly shut, never overfill them and keep them at least 6 feet away from your house.
It’s not just your dog’s poop that attracts mice and rats, it’s their food, too! Never leave dirty bowls outside, and keep your pet food stored in sealed containers to make sure rodents won’t be lured in by the smell.
Bird feeders are another common attractant for rats and mice. This is because birds often drop seeds from the feeders onto your lawn, which can tempt rodents into your yard and near your house. If you have persistent rodent problems, it might be time to consider ditching the feeders.
Rodents are drawn to places with lots of harborage sites; that is, sheltered spots where they can hide from predators and make nests. Common backyard harborage sites include woodpiles, overgrown shrubs and grasses, trash, and recycling boxes. If your yard is a little on the messy side, spruce it up to avoid attracting rodents.
How can you keep rats and mice away from your home?
It doesn’t hurt to take a few extra precautionary measures against rodents, especially you have a recurrent rat problem. Try the following as part of an integrated pest control plan:
Set up monitoring traps and bait
Rats and mice breed quickly, so catching invasions as soon as they happen is key to stopping them from getting out of control. Set up a few traps and baits in areas where you’ve seen rodent activity in the past to monitor for the presence of rodents around your house.
Traps and baits should always be used with caution, especially if you have dogs, cats, or young children at home.
Always keep rodenticides and traps out of reach of pets and children, and always use these products in accordance with the label directions.
Seal off entry points
Rodents can get into your house through the tiniest exterior cracks and gaps. Mice are especially flexible, and can fit through holes measuring only 6-7mm in diameter – about the width of the average pen!
Inspect the outside of your house closely for possible entry points and get to work sealing them off.
Rats and mice will eat anything, including dog poop – especially if there’s no other food to be had! If your dog’s droppings are luring rodents into your yard, it’s time to step up your poop patrol. Pick up after your dog and soon as they go to the bathroom, and consider implementing other preventative measures like removing harborage sites, bird feeders, and unsecured trash.