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Can Mice Eat Chocolate? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

If you’re wondering whether mice can eat chocolate, the answer is not so black and white. The truth is, there has not been enough research done to determine the exact effect that chocolate has on mice.

It has been determined that very small amounts of chocolate have not had adverse effects, but that doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. While not toxic, it would be better to avoid offering your mouse chocolate until further information is available.divider-mouse

Is Chocolate Toxic to Mice?

You are sure to have heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but could it also be toxic to mice? As mentioned, not enough research has been done to determine this definitively, but we do know that the chemical transferred into chocolate from the cacao plant can be toxic to animals.

Chocolate is made from seeds of the cacao tree. These seeds have a very bitter taste and must be fermented to develop their flavor.

After the fermentation process, the beans are dried, cleaned, and then roasted. The shell of the cacao bean is then removed to produce cacao nibs. These nibs are then ground to produce chocolate in its pure form.

A chemical called theobromine is highly concentrated in the cacao plant. Substantial amounts of theobromine remain after the chocolate-making process. Theobromine levels are especially high in unsweetened baking chocolate, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate.

Mice tend to be more enticed by the sweeter versions of chocolate rather than the bitter or semi-sweet versions. They are drawn to foods with high sugar content. The sweet versions do contain less theobromine.

Theobromine can cause toxicity in animals such as dogs, cats, and birds. Humans have very efficient livers that can handle the filtering of the chemical with ease, these smaller animals do not have that luxury.

Mice are known to have fairly strong livers, but they do have large appetites that could lead to an overconsumption of chocolate and cause an overload of theobromine. This would be potentially fatal to a mouse.

The truth is, it’s better to play it safe in terms of feeding your mouse chocolate. There are plenty of other healthy foods your mouse would love to eat.

Other Foods to Avoid

Chocolate is not the only food to be wary of when feeding your mouse. There are a variety of other foods that are best avoided for your mouse’s health. Mice are not picky eaters, and much like humans, they will happily overindulge in foods that aren’t ideal for their proper diet.

For mice, it’s best to avoid highly acidic fruits and vegetables, foods high in fat and sugar, and any potential allergy risks. Some of these are best in moderation, as they can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, obesity, and other health issues. Below is a list of some of the more unhealthy foods for your pet:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Limes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Candies
  • Dairy Products
  • Peanuts
  • Fast Food
  • Raw Meat
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Alcohol

What Is the Best Diet For a Mouse?

Pet mice are with us for such a short time due to their limited lifespan. You’ll want to feed your mouse a proper diet to ensure your pet is in optimal health and is with you as long as possible.

The base diet for a mouse should be commercial mouse food from the pet store with small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. You can also provide occasional protein-filled treats like lean meat, cooked eggs, mealworms, and beans. Below are lists of acceptable fruits and vegetables:

Vegetables:
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicory
  • Sweet peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Watercress
  • Peas
Fruits:
  • Apples (seedless portions)
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Melons
  • Dried bananas
  • Grapes

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Conclusion

It is best to avoid feeding chocolate to mice. Not enough research has been conducted to say with certainty that it would be safe for them. Due to potential theobromine poisoning that happens in other pets such as cats and dogs, it’s likely a mouse could experience this as well.

There are other fatty, sugary, and acidic foods that you should also avoid feeding mice. It’s best to have a well-rounded diet that is based on commercial mouse food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional treats.

Mice have enormous appetites and are no stranger to overindulgence. If you plan on treating your mouse with any sugary or fatty foods, you will want to do so in moderation.

It’s always best to check with your veterinarian for the best dietary advice for your pet. They will help you come up with a proper nutrition guide to ensure your pet mouse is as happy and healthy as possible.


Featured Image Credit: Grace800, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.