What Do Mice Eat?

Kelly Roper
Mice checking out their food dish

It's true that mice will eat just about anything, but you should still give your pets the highest quality diet possible. Your best choice is to feed a commercial, block-type or pelleted diet formulated especially for rodents as the base diet, and then supplement occasionally with fresh food.

Feeding a Pet Mouse

You'll find a variety of mouse diets at local pet stores. However, your choices come down to two main types - seed and pellet mixes or block/pelleted diets.

The Problem with Seed and Pellet Mixes

Many pet mice become ill because they don't receive a proper diet. The seed and pellet mixes sold in most pet stores may technically provide complete nutrition, but that's only if a mouse eats every type of food contained in the mix. Mice tend to go for the tasty seeds first and ignore the healthier pellets included in the mix. The result is that they become overweight when they're fed seed as a steady diet because they receive too much fat and oils, and obesity can lead to a variety of health problems.

Why Block Diets Are Best

Mouse and lab blocks

According to the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association, block or pelleted diets actually provide the best basic diet for pet rodents. When you feed a block diet, your mouse receives balanced nutrition from every bite he takes, and there is no picking and choosing.

Block diets:

  • Provide fiber - Fiber keeps the mouse's digestive system running in good order and helps prevent diarrhea, a common complaint in pet rodents.
  • Promote healthy teeth - A mouse's teeth grow continually, so gnawing on block food prevents the teeth from overgrowing and hampering the mouse from chewing normally.
  • Result in less waste - Blocks are easier to keep track of and don't get lost and soiled in the cage litter nearly as much as a seed and pellet mixes. Less waste will also help keep your food costs down.

Recommended Diets

Ideally, you'd want to choose a diet formulated specifically for mice, but most small rodent feeds are formulated for all mice and rats. Higher protein formulas are suitable for growing juveniles up to four months old, while lower protein formulas are better for adults.

Brand Age Cost Guaranteed Analysis
Block/Pellet Mouse Diets

Oxbow Essentials

Smaller pellets, sold in convenient volume for pet owners

Adult About $10 for 3 pounds
  • Crude Protein 15.00% (Min)
  • Crude Fat 4.00% (Min)
  • Crude Fiber 7.00% (Max)

Native Earth 4018

Large blocks, sold in bulk volume perfect for breeders

Adult About $21 for 40 pounds
  • Crude Protein18.90% (Min.)
  • Crude Fat 5.00% (Min.)
  • Crude Fiber 5.00% (Max.)

Harlan Teklad Lab Blocks

Large blocks, sold in mid-range volume for breeders and pet owners

Juvenile About $25 for 10 pounds
  • Crude Protein 24.0% (Min.)
  • Crude Fat 4.0% (Min.)
  • Crude Fiber 4.5% (Max.)

Mazuri Rat & Mouse Diet

Large blocks, sold in convenient small volume for pet owners

Juvenile Around $7 for 2 pounds
  • Crude protein 23% (Min.)
  • Crude fat 6.5% (Min.)
  • Crude fiber 4% (Max.)

Fresh Supplements

Mouse nibbling an apple

A block diet does ensure nutrition, but even mice like a little variety. You can offer your pet small amounts of various veggies and fruits as long as you don't overdo it. Choose fresh foods that are naturally high in fiber.

Safe fresh foods to offer include:

  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato
  • Cauliflower

Always remove and discard uneaten fresh foods from your pet's cage after one hour.

Foods to Avoid

It's almost as important to know which foods aren't good for mice. You should avoid feeding:

  • Peanuts - High fat content
  • Citrus fruits - Too acidic
  • Onions - Toxic (contain theobromine)
  • Garlic - Toxic (contains theobromine)
  • Chocolate - Toxic (contains theobromine)

A Healthy Diet for Longer Life

You want your little friend to live as long as possible, and feeding him a truly healthy, well-balanced diet can help make that happen. Just don't forget that hygiene is also extremely important. Always have fresh water available, clean your pet's dishes every day, and keep his cage clean. If you can do that, your mouse may live as long as two years, and that's a ripe old age for these adorable little rodents.

What Do Mice Eat?