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How to Keep Ants Out of Dog Food (9 Fast & Easy Tips)

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Dogs are notoriously messy eaters, and the leftover food on your floor can easily attract unwanted visitors. Almost every dog owner has had ant infestations at one point or another, and it can be a massively frustrating issue to deal with. Additionally, opening a container filled with expensive dog food only to find it riddled with ants is even more frustrating. Luckily, storing dog food and keeping it safe from ants long-term is fairly easy; it’s the short-term ant problem that is most problematic.

There are fast and easy solutions to keeping ants out of your dog’s food without having to resort to potentially harmful pesticides. Read on to find out how!Divider 1

The 9 Easy Ways to Keep Ants Out of Dog Food

1. Keep your dog’s dish clean at all times

Ants are attracted to any morsel or crumb of food that they can find, and even if your dog has eaten all their food, there may still be the smell of food or a few tasty morsels around. Make sure to clean your dog’s bowl after every feeding, and clean around their feeding area, too, to create less attraction for ants.

2. Keep dog food in sealed containers

Dog food packing in plastic bag
Image Credit: tong patong, Shutterstock

If ants are getting into your packet of dry dog food, a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid is the best option. You can keep dry dog food in the packaging that it came in, but it’s harder to reseal and keep ants out. We recommend transferring it into a clean plastic storage bucket or container with a tight-fitting lid that ants cannot sneak into.

3. Water barrier

Luckily for pet owners, ants cannot swim, and creating a moat around your dog’s food is a great way of keeping ants out. You can use an aluminum dish that is larger than your dog’s bowl and fill it with water — an inch or so is enough. Then place your dog’s bowl in the center for a makeshift, ant-proof moat!

4. Petroleum jelly

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Petroleum jelly, or Vaseline, is slippery and thick, and spreading a layer of it around your dog’s bowl or food container will stop ants in their tracks. This can get messy, though, and you should keep it at the very bottom of your dog’s bowl to prevent ingestion. Still, this is only a temporary solution while you invest in more permanent solutions.

5. Sticky tape

Sticky tape or double-sided tape around the base of your dog’s bowl or food container acts as a barrier, like Vaseline and water. Ants cannot cross the sticky tape and thus cannot get to your dog’s food. Of course, the tape can get dirty quickly and will need to be replaced often. This is more of a temporary solution.

6. Diatomaceous earth

Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a universal pest control measure. These microscopic pieces of soft sedimentary rock are like a fine powder to us but have sharp, irregular shapes, and any pest that ingests it will die quickly after consuming it. It is inexpensive and easy to find, and most importantly, it is perfectly safe to have around your dog. Simply sprinkle it around your dog’s food bowl to stop ants in their tracks.

7. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a great natural pest repellant. Dilute three to five drops with water in a spray bottle, and lightly spray around your dog’s feeding area (not on their bowl), and ants will stay far away. Keep in mind that tea tree oil ingested in large amounts can be dangerous for dogs, so spray the area when your dog is not around and keep it to a minimum. We recommend diluting it with a large amount of water, as this will eliminate any risk to your dog.

8. Anti-ant bowl

dog waiting for food
Image Credit: 99Art, Shutterstock

There are great bowls on the market that are made specially to keep ants out. Some bowls have a small built-in moat to fill with water, but these can be messy. We love the “floating” stainless-steel anti-ant bowls that create a gap between your dog’s bowl and the floor, making it impossible for ants to climb up and inside.

9. Dish soap spray

Dish soap mixed into a spray bottle with water is also a great ant repellant. Mix equal parts of dish soap and water and spray around your dog’s feeding area or ideally, onto the ants themselves. Ants breathe through their joints, and coating them with soapy water will cause them to suffocate. Try to do this while your dog is not around, and keep it away from their food bowl.

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Featured image credit: Yashkin Ilya, Shutterstock

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