Guide to Caring for Mice
The main things you need to do when caring for mice are to choose a good mouse litter, select a suitable cage and provide the correct nutrition. Getting these three things right means you can concentrate on enjoying your new pet, knowing your mouse is comfortable and healthy. In this article we look at what you need to look for when choosing cages, food and bedding for mice.
Mice Bedding - click here to buy SmartBedz from our online shop
Choosing Mouse Litter and Bedding
Your choice of bedding for mice will be similar to the requirements of other small animals such as chinchillas. Mice cannot be toilet trained so will go almost anywhere in their cage. Despite their size, they are also known for being particularly odorous so you will need to have suitable litter to prevent smells and absorb the urine.
It is tempting to introduce sprays or scented bedding for mice to mask odours. However, artificial chemicals are often contained in these products, which can irritate your mouse and may even cause allergy problems. Another alternative is to frequently clean out the cage, but this can be time consuming and disruptive for your pet. SmartBedz is extremely effective at controlling smells. It naturally draws moisture away from the surface, preventing oxidisation, which is the main cause of odour. This means you can spot clean the cage daily and you can give it a more thorough clean on a less frequent basis. This makes SmartBedz an extremely cost effective form of mouse litter / bedding and means a bag can last a long time. SmartBedz is a natural, unscented product, with no added chemicals so it does not cause irritation.
Mice are rodents and will eat almost anything they will come across. It is important to use mouse litter that is non-toxic and safe for your pets to nibble on. As SmartBedz is a natural product made entirely from straw, it is totally safe for your mice to ingest.
Some materials traditionally used as bedding for mice, such as pine or cedarwood, should be avoided as the natural phenols in the wood can irritate the lungs and throat. Many people use newspaper as a nesting material but the ink used in newspapers can be toxic to mice (soy based ink is fine to use). SmartBedz is a non-toxic bedding material so it is safe for mice and any other animal.
Mice sniff things and use their nose to forage for food. They have small lungs and tiny nasal passages which can be irritated by dust. Clumping clay litters should never be used and can cause blockages in respiratory and digestive systems. Sawdust should also be avoided as it can be hazardous to mice.
The best form of litter / bedding for mice is non-toxic and dust free, absorbs moisture and suppresses odour. SmartBedz has all of these qualities and makes superb mouse litter. It has no added chemicals and breaks down in contact with moisture. It is virtually dust free as it has had its dust extracted during manufacture.
Bedding for mice needs to include an element of mouse litter, as mice do not just use one area of the cage for toileting. It is a good idea to use a good layer of SmartBedz in the nesting box and provide soft nesting material on top to keep the sleeping area dry.
Finally SmartBedz is completely biodegradable and so can be used as compost, or even flushed down the toilet in small quantities.
Mouse Litter - click here to buy SmartBedz from our online shop.
Choosing a Cage for Your Mice
As mice chew anything within reach, it is best to use a cage which is resistant to this, such as one made of wire or glass. Choose a cage with multiple levels as mice like to climb. This will also provide additional space to keep two or more mice together as mice are sociable creatures and prefer company. Two females are ideal as two males will fight unless they have been together since birth.
If you choose a glass aquarium for your mice, you will need to make sure that the lid is secure and made of tight fitting mesh. As mice spend a lot of time in their cages you will also need to provide climbing areas and toys to create an environment which is entertaining and stimulating. Another benefit of a glass aquarium is that you can also provide a deep layer of bedding without worrying that it will fall out onto your floor.
The benefit of a wire cage is that mice can use it for climbing and you can also fix toys to the side of the cage. You should not have a wire cage where the wires are spaced too far apart though as the mice can escape. Ideally choose one with a solid floor design. This means the mice are going to come into direct contact with the bedding and mouse litter you choose. So it is important to select litter for your mice which is dust free and non-toxic, such as SmartBedz.
In a cage with lots of mice, odour can build up quickly unless the cage is regularly cleaned. SmartBedz helps control odour and means the cage can be spot-cleaned. Areas that need to be targeted are easily identifiable as the pellets swell up. These can be scooped out and a fresh layer of SmartBedz can be put on top. The cage will need a more thorough cleanse when it begins to smell and how often this is done will depend on the number of mice occupying the cage.
Place the cage in a place where they will enjoy lots of human contact and away from direct light. They are nocturnal creatures, so it is best to handle them in the evenings, as they tend to be sleepy during the day and may bite if disturbed.
What to Feed Mice
Despite what many people have been led to believe (through watching cartoons etc) cheese is not good for mice to eat and they don’t really like it. Instead there is plenty of commercially prepared food available on the market for mice and other rodents to eat. You can feed mice pellets, which will give them a balanced diet, but it does not give them much variety. You can also give your mice grain and seed based mixes which you can combine with extruded pellets.
Lettuce is to be avoided as it can make your mice ill and upset their stomachs. Citrus fruit can also have the same affect on your mice and cause diarrhoea. Some owners like to give their mice commercially available treats from time to time. The quantities should be very small - just a few a week is plenty.
Hydration is vital to prevent constipation so always make sure there is plenty of clean, fresh water for your mice to drink.
Caring For the Health of Your Mice
Mice generally live around 18 months to two years, although they can live as long as three years. If you are selecting mice , look for smooth, clean coats, bright eyes and pink, clear skin on ears and tail.
Although a female can give birth at just six to eight weeks of age, it is better to avoid this as it can be too demanding for your pet. Also it is important to bear in mind that they can produce a litter every 3 or 4 weeks, so don’t breed mice unless you are sure to find homes for them.
Mice can be prone to skin conditions which can be caused by parasite infections or food intolerance and result in itchy skin and sores. Triggers for food intolerance vary according to your mouse, but can include peanuts or oily seeds.
If your pet has a skin condition, it is advisable to contact your vet and talk over the symptoms to be best advised on how to treat your pet.
Mice litter - click here to buy SmartBedz from our online shop.