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How to Keep Ants Out of Your Pet's Food

Dog with bowl


Sometimes, being a pet owner means you need to deal with some pesky situations. One of these is when tiny pests, namely ants, make their way into your pet's food bowl. Not only is it not good for your furry friend (no ant bites, please), but it’s also a major hassle. Of course, there’s never just one ant, which means where you see one, more are likely to follow. So, it’s vital to put a stop to your pest problem as soon as possible, or better yet, prevent it altogether. 

Dog and cat in kitchen with Neater Feeder

Best Practices for Keeping Your Pet’s Food Ant Free

Before you start sprinkling and spraying things around your kitchen, start with the basics first. For example, keep your pet’s stuff clean and organized to reduce problems and unhealthy situations. It’s always easier to stop ants from coming than to try and get rid of an invasion, so these four tips are an excellent starting point.

Clean Your Pet’s Dishes

Ensure you thoroughly clean your pet’s water and food bowls daily. Think about it; after you eat off of a plate, you likely wash it, right? So, why should your pet’s dish sit for a few days at a time without a good washing? Use warm water and soap to clean the bowls and let them dry before putting food in them.

Keep Your Pet’s Food Area Tidy

It’s also essential to ensure your cat or dog's eating area is clean. Vacuum up crumbs, wipe up spills, and clean the spot regularly to eliminate any temptations for would-be ant invaders.

Use a Mess-Proof Elevated Feeder

Using a product like the Neater Feeder can help keep spills and food messes to a minimum. The Neater Feeder is a raised feeder, so that means that your pets food sits higher off the ground, making it harder for critters to get into your pet's bowls. Plus, the Neater Feeder has high walls to keep kibble in the bowls and a gentle slope to direct spilled water into the lower basin. By keeping the food contained inside the feeder and off your floor, it prevents messes that would typically attract ants, rodents, and other pests. 

Store Pet Food Properly

It’s also vital to properly store your pet’s food. Simply rolling down the original bag isn’t a good barrier for ants. Instead, use airtight pet food storage containers to keep your pal’s food secure and fresh. You should also have similar storage solutions for your pal’s treats as well. If your pet eats canned food, you should store opened cans in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Use a can topper to keep the can nice and sealed.

Toss the Leftovers

If your pet doesn’t finish their meal, pick it up. Don’t let food sit out for extended periods.

Safe Ways to Get Rid of Ants in Pet Food

The best way to take care of a pest problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. But, sometimes, ants will find a way; they’re persistent pests. So, when it comes to keeping ants out of your pet’s food, you naturally want to be careful with what you use. After all, you don’t want to use harsh chemicals or dangerous sprays that are toxic for your pet. So, to deter ants from invading your pet’s food supply, opt for some of these non-toxic prevention methods.

Some Pet-Safe DIY Ant Sprays and Mixes

  • Mix some confectioner’s sugar with baking soda and sprinkle around the kitchen. The ants will go for the sugar, but the baking soda will be their downfall.
  • Another option to sprinkle about is diatomaceous earth. The food-grade variety is non-toxic to animals and humans but will get rid of ants and other pesky pests.
  • Try spritzing some lemon juice or vinegar mixed with water around your pal’s food area, or use the mixture to clean your floors and kitchen. These items can help rid the area of tempting smells that might entice ants to come around.
  • Some essential oils can also help stop ants in their tracks, including tea tree, peppermint, clove, lemon, and orange. You can try mixing about 5 to 10 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle with water. Another concoction is 2 ounces of water, 2 teaspoons of vodka, and 15 drops each of lemon, orange, and clove oil. Obviously, don’t spray these mixtures onto your pet’s food, but you can spray them around the kitchen and on surfaces to try and get rid of your ant problem.

Some people also suggest using pepper or cinnamon near your pet’s bowls to deter ants. However, it’s important to keep in mind that both things can potentially irritate your pal. Although not toxic, pepper can get in your pal’s nose and send them into sneezing fits. Likewise, if your pal decides to lick up the cinnamon, it can irritate their  mouth.

Build a Barrier

If you’re battling an ant invasion while working your way through eliminating the pests, protect your pet’s food area. You can create a barrier using a couple of different means.

  • You can attempt to place a more physical barrier between the ants and your pet’s food dish. Some people draw a chalk line; it’s not always a winner, but worth a shot. Other people try double-sided tape to create a sticking point for the ants, literally. Of course, this can also pose a sticky situation for your pet, but it’s an option.
  • Finally, you can also apply Vaseline around the base of your pet’s bowl or feeder so the ants can’t climb up the sides. However, only do so if you’re sure your pet won’t try and lick it all off. Vaseline has a very low to no toxicity level to dogs and cats, but you still don’t want your pal to chow down on it. If they ingest too much, it could lead to an upset tummy.

Pet-Safe Products for Getting Rid of Ants

If all else fails, there are some products you can try that are pet-safe. Still, to be extra-safe, ensure your pets aren’t around when you apply the product. Always read all of the instructions on the product’s label carefully before applying, and make sure to apply it as directed. Also, use the products in a place where your pet is unlikely to reach it, for example, up higher on a wall, inside of cabinets, etc.

Aunt Fannie’s Ant Remedy Spray

The base of this ant-fighting spray is essential oils with no harsh chemicals. So you can spray it directly on ants and around your pets without worry.

Advion Ant Gel

You can purchase this product online or at home improvement stores. It uses an ingredient called Indoxacarb that targets most ant species while being generally safe for mammals.

Nobody wants to deal with ants, whether it’s in your pet’s food, around your home, or anywhere else. Indeed, there are a million other ways you want to spend time with your dog or cat than fighting off tiny insects. These tips can help you keep your home ant-free and your pet’s food safe and healthy. For more helpful tips like these, check out the rest of our blog. Here’s to no more ants in your, your pet's dish.

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