What a nuisance! Although very small, these insects can make your life way harder. It doesn’t matter where you live, ants will choose to invade your home in a bustling city, countryside, or in the suburbs. In order to find out how to keep ants away from dog food, read on!
They find a reason to invade your home even if you don’t have a dog, so imagine how attractive your pet food sounds to ants. These pests are famous around the globe because they are on a never ending search for food sources. So, if you are a dog owner, you have probably already encountered an ant infestation problem before.
Why is dog food so attractive to ants? Well, there are many aromas in dog food that work like a magnet for ants. Also, we know that our beloved furry friends are not so tidy eaters, and after they’ve finished with their snack, there can be many leftovers around the dog food bowl, which will be sure to attract these intruders.
But, if you do notice that you have ant problems, you need to act right away because dogs don’t feel ants in their food.
Luckily, we’ve found many different ways and solutions to keeping ants out of your dog’s food. We’ve prepared a list of some things that you can use that you probably already have in your home, meaning you can avoid using harmful pesticides.
Check out these ant control methods for how to keep ants away from your dog food!
How Do You Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food?
All dog owners have probably had to intervene with these annoying ants at some point. It’s irritating when they come to the area where you store your food, but at least there, you can see clearly what they are. The problem occurs when they arrive at your pet’s food dish.
Your pet may notice that something is moving inside their food, and there is a chance that your dog will be afraid of it and then won’t eat the food.
But don’t worry, we’ve prepared some great tips that you can use to keep ants away from your dog food and eradicate these intruders from around your dog’s bowl (or a cat food bowl if you have a cat too), before you decide to use pest control sprays.
1. Keep Your Pet’s Food In Plastic Containers
A great way of keeping ants away from your dog food is keeping the food in a plastic container. Keeping your dog food in the open packaging that it came in isn’t practical, because you can’t completely close the bag.
You can use your own plastic containers or you can buy containers that are specifically made for pet food. Make sure that you buy ones that have a tight-fitting lid that will prevent ants from getting in. This is also practical for when you’re giving your pet their food, as you won’t spill around the bowl.
2. Mark Your Pet’s Territory
Let’s see what 10 things you can use to prevent ants from sneaking into your pets’ food.
Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is a great temporary solution for ants. As it’s thick and slippery, it spreads a greasy-like layer on the surface if you put it at the bottom of the bowl as well on the sides of your pet’s food bowl.
How does this work? This way, you don’t have to worry about your pet ingesting the vaseline, while making the ants’ lives way harder. The slippery surface will be unclimbable for them. However, this can be really messy, so try to only use this method if you don’t have other options.
2. Sticky Tape
You probably have some sticky tape in your home. For ant prevention you can use a few different types of sticky tape. It’s important that the sticky part of the tape is on top, in order to keep ants away from your dog’s food bowl.
Duct tape is firm enough, but double-sided tape is a way better option because it is easier to apply. Putting strips of tape around your dog’s bowl will make ants stick to the tape, leading to them failing their mission to get to the bowl.
Sticky tape acts like a barrier but it will quickly get dirty, so you need to replace it quite often.
Another trick you can try is drawing a line with chalk around your dog’s food bowl. You may have real luck with this technique as, for some reason, ants won’t cross the chalk line, so they will stay at a distance from your pet’s food.
However, if you got lucky the first time you tried this, it doesn’t mean that the ants won’t cross the chalk line the second time. If this method seems to be working for you though, you can use it freely.
4. Lemon Juice/Vinegar
Another method you can use to keep ants away is to put vinegar or lemon juice in water that you use to wipe your floors. Make sure to wipe around the dog bowl daily.
These smells are very unattractive to ants, but make sure that when you clean the floors with these add-ons, your dog is not around, because vinegar and citrus smells are some of the smells dogs hate.
Well, I’m sure that you already have cinnamon in your kitchen cabinet. We don’t know why cinnamon repels ants but if it’s working, it doesn’t matter why, right?
You can use the cinnamon with Vaseline, this is the easiest way to know where you have applied it, and a plus is that the area will smell nice.
One more thing that you are sure to have in your kitchen cabinet, is pepper. Ants don’t seem to be able to tolerate it, so cayenne or regular black pepper will help you keep ants away. Sprinkle some of it near your dog’s food bowl.
7. Baking Soda
Keeping ants away with baking soda is a nice, non-toxic method. Your pets won’t be affected by these methods. You should mix sugar with baking soda and sprinkle it in the areas you want to get rid of ants.
Ants are naturally attracted to sugar, but a mix of sugar and baking soda will definitely kill the ants.
8. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a very effective pest control measure. You may not have heard of it before, so let us explain what it is and how it works.
This is a natural product that is available in food-grade form, it is not meant for human consumption. However, food-grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to pets and humans, but it is deadly for ants, bedbugs, fleas, and many other pests that try to invade your home.
You can buy it at garden centers, warehouses, or at hardware stores for a small price. How is it used? The powder looks like very small pieces of sedimentary rock, with irregular and sharp shapes that upon ingesting, will kill ants quickly. Sprinkle it around your pet’s food and get rid of ants for good!
9. Orange Peels
Don’t throw your orange peel after you eat an orange. You can use it to stop ants from invading your pet’s bowl. The skin of oranges contain many essential oils that are repellent to many animals.
Blend one cup of water and a peel of orange.Blend it to whatever consistency you like. After that, pour the mixture on every anthill you can find.
Another way is to make a spray out of it. This is easier to use, plus the smell of citrus is clean and fresh.
Let us tell you a little about borax, especially if you don’t know anything about it. It is a substance that is used to enhance laundry detergent. You can buy it in the laundry section at most grocery stores.
How will borax help you to get rid of ants? Make a fusion of 1 1/2 tablespoons of borax, 1/2 cup of sugar, and add 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Soak some cotton balls in the solution and place it where you have an ant infestation.
Bear in mind that it is not safe for kids and dogs to be around these soaked cotton balls, so make sure to keep them away for a while. In that time, the ants will be attracted to the sugar in the mixture, and they will bring the borax to their nests, then the borax will do its job.
After a short period of time, you can throw out the cotton balls and clean the area, so it is safe for your pets and kids to be around again.
3. 4 DIY Natural Sprays
What better solution is there for how to keep ants away from dog food, than home-remedies? Let us show you 4 sprays that you can make yourself with things you already have in your home.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural pest repellent. Add from 5 to 10 drops of it into a spray bottle, fill it up with water, and you have made another non-toxic ant repellent. If you prefer aromatic smells, you can add a drop of peppermint oil.
Now that you made a non harmful spray, make sure to spray around your dog’s feeding area, not directly on the bowl, and ants will stay from it.
Make sure that your dog is not around, as breathing in large amounts of tea tree oil can be dangerous for him. When making this homemade spray, make sure that you use a lot of water, in order to eliminate any risk to your furry friend.
2. Boiling Water And Dish Soap
Another homemade ant repellent is a spray made up of water and dish soap. In order to make this spray, you need to mix equal amounts of water and dish soap. After that, spray this around your dog’s feeding area, or you can spray it directly onto these annoying pests, the ants.
As ants use their joints for breathing, this spray will cause them to suffocate. Spraying this mixture is great when your dog isn’t there, but make sure that you spray it far away from their food bowl. It is a good idea to wash away ant trails with dish soap and water.
3. Ant Repellent Spray
No, you are not making cocktails, you’re making an ant repellent spray.
Follow the recipe by putting these 5 ingredients into a spray bottle:
- 2 teaspoons of vodka
- 2 ounces of water
- 15 drops of orange oil
- 15 drops of clove oil
- 15 drops of lemon oil
Spray this directly onto the ants and they will be dead on the spot. This will also keep away fire ants.
4. Peppermint Spray
With peppermint spray you are in a win-win situation, your place will smell fresh and clean, and the ants will be gone. In a spray bottle, fill it to about two-thirds full of water, add 2 tablespoons of witch hazel, and then add 12 drops of peppermint essential oil.
Mix all of these ingredients together and use it when you need to get rid of ants.
4. Always Keep Your Dog’s Bowl Clean
What’s a better way of keeping ants away than a fresh and clean feeding area? Ants are attracted to any crumbs or morsels of food, so your dog’s leftovers will surely attract them.
After every meal, you need to clean both the feeding area and the bowl to make sure that there is nothing left to attract ants.
Clean your pet’s bowls with dish soap and water, rinse carefully, and dry it. Then, their bowl will be ready for their next meal, without the little pests that annoy the hell out of us. It is better to prevent them than to have to get rid of them after they have accomplished their mission.
5. Create A Barrier With Water
Guess who cannot swim? Ants, of course! Their inability to swim does us a favor. You can use water to prevent their invasion of your pet’s food. You’ll need a large, aluminum, disposable pan, in the middle of which, you will put your dog’s bowl.
Fill it with water, an inch or so will be enough and bam, you have an ant-proof moat. There is no way that the ants will make it to your dog’s bowl.
6. Regular Vacuuming
Just before you wash your dog’s feeding area , you need to vacuum the area. As we all know, almost every dog is a messy eater. Even if you don’t see any crumbs around their bowl, you can be sure that they’re there.
Those crumbs that you don’t see, the ants do see, and you already know that they’ll come for them as soon as possible. So, make sure to vacuum the floor regularly in order to prevent ant attraction.
A useful tip is also to use a dog food mat, as this will catch all the food that your companion leaves behind.
7. Remove Leftovers
In some cases, your dog won’t eat everything you put into the bowl. Leave the food for approximately an hour, an hour and a half, anything longer than that will just attract pests, and you can be sure that they move fast.
If your dog is a picky eater, pay particular attention to this. After two hours, make sure to throw out any food that your dog has left in the bowl.
8. Use Cornstarch To Remove Ants That Are Already In The Food
If you find ants in your dog’s food, those preventative options above, will not have an effect now. However, the problem is not unsolvable.
Lucky for you, we’ve found the solution to this problem. Don’t throw the bag away!
We all know that cornstarch is an edible and safe powder, both for humans and dogs, as it is used in many of our food preparations, and is in the ingredients of dog food.
Cornstarch will help separate the ants from your dog’s food, but this only works on dry kibble.
9. Anti-Ant Bowl
A great solution for how to keep ants away from your dog food, is to invest in a good anti-ant bowl. These bowls are made specially, to prevent ants from climbing up.
If you want to purchase one of these bowls, make sure to look for stainless-steel anti-ant bowls that create a space between the floor and the dog’s bowl, this way, it is impossible for the pests to climb up and enter their heaven on earth.
Why Is My Dog Food Attracting Ants?
You are probably not the only one that is dealing with these intruders. Every dog owner has faced this problem at one time or another. Why? Because dog food is normally aromatic, and these aromas really do attract ants.
Ants can invade not only an opened bag of food, but also your dog’s food bowl. For this reason, it is important that you follow some of the above tips.
What Should I Do If Ants Are In My Dog’s Food?
- Move the food infested with ants into a big box. You can use a bin that is shallow, but long, so you can see the ants better.
- Take cornstarch that you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet.
- Pour some cornstarch into the bin you have placed the ant infested pet food into.
- Now, it’s detaching time! Toss it all together in order to detach the ants from the food.
- When the cornstarch is all over the food, do your best to remove the ants out of the food. Try to get out as many as possible, but know that one or two ants will not harm your pet if they eat them. Now, grab a strainer or kitchen colander and a dry paint brush. Put some food in the strainer and toss, then remove any ants stuck on the food with the dry paint brush. You’ll see that there aren’t many, as most of them will probably be at the bottom of the box.
- You can repeat this as many times you want, making sure that all of the dog food is free from ants. I know that it can be a bit boring and tiring, but the results are amazing. You should put the cleaned food back into the dog food bin. You won’t have to worry about any cornstarch residue on the pet food because it is safe and edible.
- When you have cleaned all of the dog food, use the below tips and tricks to save yourself and your dog from ant trouble.
Will Ants In Dog Food Hurt The Dog?
The ants in the dog food will not hurt your dog. If somehow an ant finds its way into your pet’s food, just know that an ant will provide a little protein and vitamin C in your dog’s diet.
However, it is better that their food is free from ants, as ant bites can occur. This can be irritating to a dog, and you don’t want that.
To Wrap Up
You, just like many pet owners, probably face ant infestation problems every once in a while. However, there are many solutions for how you can keep ants away from dog food.
I hope that we have provided you with really helpful tips and tricks that you can try anytime. As ants are really annoying, it is better to prevent them from appearing, than trying to eradicate them. Nevertheless, there are also steps you can follow when ants have already found their way into your dog’s food bowl.
Good luck with these annoying pests. I’m sure that you will handle them quickly!