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Dr. Scott Sandeman

Dr. Scott Sandeman

Holiday time sometimes means guests dropping in unannounced. A cup of eggnog can make Uncle Roy singing Christmas carols tolerable, but mice are never welcome. Here are some reminders that will help keep vermin on the naughty list out of the gingerbread cookies:

• Block mice access to buildings. Check garages, doors and entryways for damage that might allow mice to enter. Seal off any pipe or wiring that extends from the outside in. Keep pet foods and bird seed in rodent-proof containers to discourage feeding these pests.

• Use pet-friendly live traps or “sticky” traps to capture mice invaders.

• Check for old baits. Many pets come in contact with poison baits placed by a previous homeowner or tenant. If you have a mouse problem now, its likely that someone who lived in your place before you did as well.

• If you must use poison to deal with a mouse problem, know exactly what type of chemical you are putting out. Keep a record of the brand name, as well as any reference in the packaging that describes the active ingredient, the quantity of the bait, and its antidote. Keep emergency drugs such as hydrogen peroxide readily available along with the phone number of your veterinarian.

• All traps or baits should be checked regularly for activity. Illness of any kind in a pet may be important if it coincides with a recently discovered bait box that has been damaged or shown evidence of being discovered by a pet. Dispose of dead or captured mice appropriately and immediately.

Keep your pets healthy this fall by looking for non-toxic ways to discourage rodents from moving into your home. If you must use poisons, be informed about the content and quantity of the bait, check it regularly and place it out of reach of pets. Remember to call your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately if an accidental exposure should occur.

As for Uncle Roy? A slice of fruit cake might just keep him away too!

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Questions? Send them to Dr. Sandeman, Home & Garden, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801. Or, email to papertrained@ mchsi.com. Dr. Sandeman cannot answer letters or email personally, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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