Can mice eat chocolate? This is a very important question and as a responsible pet mouse owner, it’s essential that you know the answer. If you do not, you could bring your mouse’s life in danger.
If you own a pet mouse you naturally want to give them the best possible diet. However, you also want to spoil them occasionally with treats, and what better treat than chocolate? However, before you go and feed chocolate to your mouse you’ll first want to know if they can safely eat and digest it. Especially when it comes to chocolate it is important to do your research. We’ve all heard the horror stories of dogs eating it and getting sick and this is definitely something you want to avoid.
That’s most likely why you’re here. You want to know if mice can eat chocolate. I’m here to answer that question for you! Let’s dig in.
The quick answer is this: Mice should not eat chocolate. They can eat it, but it’s not good for them. A very tiny amount of chocolate will not kill them instantly but too much can be lethal. It also contains no nutritional value for them (and a lot of calories) so it’s better to opt for different, more nutritious, and healthier treats instead.
Is chocolate toxic to mice?
We all know that chocolate is toxic to some animals, but not everyone knows why. The reason why is because it contains theobromine. The reason why this is poisonous to some animals but not to humans is that we metabolize it faster than them. This allows it to build up to toxic levels in their body whereas we metabolize it before it becomes a problem.
The question then becomes if mice can metabolize theobromine fast enough. Unfortunately, there’s quite a lack of data on the effects of chocolate on murines (mice and rats) because not enough research has been done.
However, there is one study that was used for Jean Carper’s book “100 things you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s and age-related memory loss” where they fed chocolate to mice to see how it affects the brain.
The point of this study was not to find out if chocolate is dangerous for mice, but during the study, they did feed chocolate to mice and there was no indication of a small amount of it being toxic for them to eat.
There was also an article in the Rat & Mouse Gazette that discussed the effects of chocolate on rats and the conclusion was that a small amount of it does not pose a health threat to them (source). It seems like murines are able to metabolize chocolate quite well, especially compared to animals like dogs and cats.
However, in large quantities, it is toxic to mice and since it contains no beneficial nutrients for them, it’s best to not give it to them. It’s also very high in calories and can cause obesity.
Dark vs light chocolate
Let’s first take a look at what exactly chocolate contains and what the differences in nutrient levels are between dark and light. (source)
|Nutrient||Dark Chocolate (100 grams)||Light Chocolate (100 grams)|
|Protein||5.54 grams||8.51 grams|
|Carbs||60.5 grams||58 grams|
|Fat||32.4 grams||30.5 grams|
|Sugars||47.5 grams||54 grams|
|Iron||2.13 mg||0.91 mg|
|Phosphorus||51 mg||206 mg|
|Potassium||502 mg||438 mg|
|Sodium||6 mg||101 mg|
|Calcium||30 mg||251 mg|
|Cholesterol||5 mg||24 mg|
As you can see, there are quite a few differences between the nutritional content of dark and light sugar. Both versions are very high in calories, sugar, and fat but dark chocolate contains much less sodium, calcium, and cholesterol. I’ve left white chocolate out of this comparison because that’s not even made of cacao beans at all so I don’t count it as real chocolate.
Nevertheless, there’s nothing in chocolate that really contributes to your mouse’s nutrition and therefore should only be fed to them very sparingly if you choose to give it to them at all.
Chocolate also contains theobromine like I’ve mentioned before, which is what makes it so toxic to some animals. Dark chocolate contains much more theobromine than milk chocolate (up to 10 times more!). For that reason, white chocolate is less harmful to mice than dark chocolate.
Do mice like chocolate?
Unfortunately, even though it’s not good for them and can even kill them mice absolutely love chocolate. They will definitely eat it if you present it to them. In fact, they love it even more than cheese. The sweetness and high calorie content of the food is what attracts them.
However, they seem to avoid dark chocolate (thank god) because of how bitter it is. This is a blessing due to the fact that, as I’ve said, dark chocolate is much higher in the dangerous compound theobromine.
It’s even been suggested to use chocolate in traps instead of cheese because of how much mice are attracted to this food.
How much chocolate can mice eat?
The ideal amount of chocolate to feed to your mouse is a big fat 0.
Mice are small creatures. Therefore, if you do decide to feed them some of it, you should only give them a very small amount. Also make sure to feed them only milk or white chocolate, never dark chocolate. Also, keep in mind that what seems like a small square of chocolate for you would be a huge amount for them due to the size difference between you and your mouse.
If you want to give it to them as a treat, give them no more than 1 square centimeter of it once every 2 weeks.
Now that you know that you shouldn’t feed chocolate to your pet mouse you might be wondering what to give them as a treat instead. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy, delicious alternative snacks for mice out there. I’ll give you a list of ideas to get you started:
- Wholewheat bread
- Brown Rice
To learn more about what mice eat, including which foods are poisonous to them, check out this guide. It offers a ton of useful information.
White chocolate is different from light and dark chocolate because it’s not made from cacao beans. Instead, it’s made from cacao butter, milk, and sugar. Since it’s not made from cacao beans, it contains much less theobromine. The amount in it is so negligible that it doesn’t even pose much of a threat to dogs, let alone to mice.
Nevertheless, it is still very high in fat, calories, and sugar so it’s not something that your mouse needs or should eat. Just because it won’t kill them doesn’t mean it’s good for them!
Should you ever feed your mouse chocolate?
I’ve mostly gone over whether or not mice can eat chocolate. However, now we should ask ourselves whether or not they should eat it. The truth is that while mice can handle the theobromine in chocolate relatively well compared to other animals, it’s still not a healthy treat for them. It contains way too much sugar, fat, and calories which can make them obese and does not contribute to a healthy diet.
This means you shouldn’t feed your mouse anything containing chocolate. So no chocolate cake, chocolate milk, no chocolate anything. It is much better to feed your mouse other treats that have better nutrition for them such as carrots.
I hope you found this guide on the effects of chocolate on mice informational and that it shed some light on whether or not you should include it in your mouse’s diet. If you have any concerns, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.