Ants have been known as one of the greatest food scavengers ever. As omnivores, they eat anything they come across, from plants to any kind of food, including your dog food. In fact, pet food is one of their all-time favorite foods. High in protein and full of nutrients, this is precisely what they need to grow their colonies. It’s no wonder they will quickly swarm any dog food they find.
So how to keep ants out of dog food? Do the following:
- Store the dog food in a lidded plastic container.
- Keep the feeding area clean at all times.
- Create a barrier around the dog’s food bowl.
What if the ants have invaded the dog food? How to get ants out of dog food? Do the following:
- Pour the infested dog food into a plastic container.
- Sprinkle some corn starch onto them, toss it all together until you’ve coated the food in corn starch, and leave it for an hour or two.
- Use a kitchen colander or strainer and dry paintbrush to remove the dead ants.
- Use a hand vacuum to remove the corn starch and the remaining ants that are still present.
Let’s talk about it all in detail.
Step-By-Step Guide to Keep Ants Out of Dog Food
To follow this guide, you’ll need to prepare the following items:
- Plastic container. You can either get a regular lidded plastic container from the dollar store or specialized pet food container like IRIS USA 3 (link to Amazon) that preserves your dog food a lot longer.
- Vacuum cleaner. Just use the one that you already have at home.
- Aluminum disposable pan or pie pan or cake pan (click here to see one that I buy from Amazon).
Step 1: Store The Dog Food
Always use a food container to store your dog food. Never leaves a bag of dog food sitting in your kitchen; that’s a surefire way to attract ants.
Step 2: Clean The Feeding Area
Build time into your daily schedule to clean all things in and around your dog’s feeding area to keep it free of crumbs that can attract pests. This includes:
- Sweeping or vacuuming the area around your dog’s food container and bowl.
- Washing your dog food storage container and dog bowl regularly with hot, soapy water. Clean it thoroughly, then rinse and dry completely before refilling.
Step 3: Keep Ants Out of Dog Food Bowl
Creating a water moat is the most effective solution to ant-proof your dog’s bowl because we know that ants can swim. Here’re how to do this:
- Grab the pan that you have prepared. If you happen to have two dog bowls and one is larger than the currently used bowl, you can use this one too.
- Take your dog’s bowl and put it in the middle of the pan.
- Fill the pan or the larger bowl with water. The water level should not be too high that it spills over the dog food bowl but should be high enough for ants to drown if they dare to cross the water moat.
Instead of placing the bowl in a shallow pan of water, you can also set a petroleum jelly barrier around the base of the dog’s food bowl and storage bin. Or you can put a few drops of peppermint oil on the cotton ball and wipe the surface of the feeding area with it. Both are excellent natural repellents for ants.
However, some dogs might hate the strong, penetrating odor of peppermint. So be sure to see your dog’s reaction first before continuing further use.
Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Ants Out of Dog Food
If the ants have come in direct contact with the dog food, here are five steps to get them out. To follow this guide, you’ll need to prepare the following items:
- Plastic storage bin
- Corn starch
- Kitchen colander and dry paintbrush
- Hand vacuum (optional)
Pour the ants infested food into a plastic container. You can use any type of storage bins and containers, it doesn’t matter, the most important thing here is to make sure the bin should be large and wide enough to spread out the kibbles.
Apply some cornstarch powder from your kitchen pantry to the infested dog food, toss it all, and leave it for an hour or so. Cornstarch is deadly to ants, but it should not pose a health risk for your dog unless he is allergic to corn.
The next step is to get as many ants out of the food as possible. By now, you will find a clump of dead ants inside the container. To pick the dead ants, you can use a kitchen colander or strainer. Gently pour the food into the colander and then tap it against the side to sift the dead ants into the bottom of the bin. Use a dry paintbrush to remove the leftover ants and the cornstarch from the dog food.
If you want a hassle-free solution, you may want to try an anti-ant bowl solution (link to Amazon). This bowl kills ants without using chemicals or water, only using physical mechanisms, so it’s completely safe for your pooch.
Step 4 (Optional)
If you want to go even further, you can use a hand vacuum to vacuum both the remaining cornstarch and ants stuck on the food. Cornstarch left on the food surface will not be harmful, but it might change its flavor a bit.
Other Methods to Keep Ants Away from Dog Food
The following is a list of several other alternative methods that you can try to keep ants away from your dog’s food:
- Place a line of vaseline around the bottom of your dog’s bowl. A thick and slippery surface of the vaseline will prevent ants or any other pests from crawling into your dog’s food bowl. Take a note, though, this method can cause a mess as your pet can smear the vaseline all over the floor.
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon. Even better, you can make a mixture of cinnamon and vaseline. The strong fragrance of the combination does work wonders to put the ants off the dog food’s scent leaving them confused and lost their way.
- Apply a vinegar solution. Vinegar is another proven natural ant-repellent. You can make your own repellent solution by mixing vinegar and water in a 50/50 solution. Then use the solution to spray the area around the dog food or wipe the floor where your dog eats.
- Draw a line around the pet food storage container and your dog’s bowl with chalk. The chalk line acts as a barrier to keep the ants from coming near the dog’s food. Do note that this method might not work for all ants. Some ants don’t seem to care and will just walk right on through.
- Put strips of duck tape around the bowl with the sticky side facing outside. This simple ant trap will trap any ants that walk into the opening.
- Mix baking soda with powdered sugar and place it near an area where ants roam. Baking soda is an old folk natural remedy for dealing with ants. Even small amounts are lethal for ants but harmless to use around dogs. That said, it can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large enough quantities. So if your dog tends to lick everything in sight, then it will be best to look for other methods.
- Spray dishwater soap. A mixture of dish soap and water is only effective when sprayed directly on the ants. Although this method can work, it is not for everyone, especially if you have a million other things to do.
- Spray peppermint oil. A peppermint spray solution is easy to make. You just need two ingredients: peppermint oil and a cup of water. Half fill the spray bottle with water, then add 10-15 drops of peppermint oil, swirl or shake the bottle to combine. Then, spray the solution near the ants-entry area. Optionally, you can add two tablespoons of witch hazel or five to ten drops of tea tree oil to make the repellent even more powerful.
Will ants in dog food hurt the dog? Despite becoming a little nuisance, a few ants won’t hurt your dog if he eats them. As a matter of fact, they can provide a little added protein and vitamin C.
Why are ants attracted to my dog’s food? The main reason why ants are attracted to your dog’s food is that it contains all the nutrients that ants need to grow and survive. Because of their keen sense of smell, even a faint scent of pet food crumbs is enough to attract hordes of ants from miles away.