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How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food

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Tim Rhodes

You might be wondering how to keep ants out of dog food?

As a dog lover, I’m a hundred percent convinced that canines make the best companions anyone could ever wish for in their life.

That feeling when your pet happy, sticking with you no matter what, playing with you, and even giving you unexpected kisses is just amazing.

But what’s most satisfying is knowing that you’re the reason behind your fluffy buddy’s happiness.

Because they show their happiness, by the way, they look at you, with gratitude and loyalty, all filled in their eyes.

In most cases, this happens when you’re feeding a dog his/her favorite treat or snack, how they look at you in such moments gives you one of the best feelings ever.

I feed my pup every day, and it’s like she knows her dish because whenever she sees me holding that dish, she starts wagging her tail and looking at me suspiciously.

Table of Contents

How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food

Before we look at the best ways to keep ants out of dog food, let’s assume they have invaded the food already.

Note this carefully, never feed your pup on ants-invaded food, even if you had no other food left in the house.

It’s better to look for something else to feed him/her or try to remove the ants from the food so that he can feed on ant-free food.

Below are the two methods that you can use in such cases.

1. Refrigeration Method

This one is a simple method, and it involves just four steps that are crucial in recovering ant-infested food.

You only need to have a strainer, a food dish, and a freezer or just a fridge in this method.

If you have them already, then follow the steps below.

Put The Infested Food In a Food Dish

If the food was in a bag or paper, pour it into a dish, and cover it tightly to prevent the ants from spreading in your freezer or fridge.

Put The Food In a Freezer

Now the infested food is in an airtight food dish, put it in a freezer, and leave it there until it gets frozen.

There’s no set amount of time here; it depends on how fast your fridge can get the food frozen.

Although ants are cold-blooded, they cannot survive in extreme environments like frozen food.

In some cold environments, ants hibernate, but in extreme environments, they die.

Once the food is completely frozen, the ants will die, and this will make it easy for you to remove them from the food.

Pour the Food Into a Strainer

Take the food and put it into a strainer, and make sure there’s a container under it.

Shake it vigorously; the ants will come out and fall into the container placed under the strainer.

Keep shaking the strainer until there are no more dead ants coming out.

Store It 

The food is now free from ants and ready for storage.

Store the food in an airtight container; else, the ants will invade the food again.

When storing, consider washing the area to remove any food remains that could attract the ants again.

You might also need an ant-proof bowl or dish to store the extra food.

However, the first attempt may not remove all the dead ants from the dog food, so you can repeat some steps like shaking until you’re comfortable with the food.

2. Corn Starch Method

For you to separate the ants from the dog food, you need to detach them first, and the only way to achieve that is to kill them.

This method requires you to have cornstarch, a large shallow container, and a strainer or colander.

Follow the steps below.

Pour The Infested Food Into a Large Shallow Container

If the infested food was still in a paper or a dish, take it and pour it into a container.

A big shallow container is the most preferred because it will allow the food to spread out evenly.

Its shallowness will somehow be crucial because the cornstarch will easily reach the ants, therefore serve the desired purpose effectively.

Sprinkle the Cornstarch Onto the Infested Dog Food

When the dog food is in the container and spread out evenly, it sprinkles the cornstarch.

Cornstarch is the best because it’s safe for animals and humans, and on the other hand, deadly to insects like ants.

Cornstarch kills insects in two ways. 

First, it attracts the ants, which then try to eat it, but their bodies cannot digest it, so they die.

Secondly, sprinkle the cornstarch along the ants’ trail, leave it for some days, probably a day or two, then fill a spray bottle with water and spray the ants.

The water reacts with the cornstarch to create a sticky mixture that looks like cement.

As the mixture dries, it traps the ants and kills them. 

The method works well when you want to get rid of the insects in your house but not in dog food because you cannot spray water.

The best thing about this method is that you can get rid of the ants from their source. 

That would solve your problem once and for all.

However, it has a downside; if you sprinkle the water, you might wash off the cornstarch.

If that happens by any chance, the method cannot work.

Toss Until Cornstarch Covers the Food Completely

Shake the container thoroughly to mix the food and the cornstarch until the food turns white.

Leave it for some time, maybe two hours or three, to give the ants enough time to eat them and ingest.

Once they eat, they won’t be able to digest it, and each one of them will die and detach from the food.

Pour the Food Into a Strainer

The ants are dead by now, and it’s time to remove the dead ants from the dog food.

Fill a strainer or a colander with the food and shake it vigorously until the food is clean. 

The only way you can tell the food is clean is by observing whether they’re still coming out when you toss the strainer.

You can do this repeatedly until you’re satisfied that the food is free from ants.

You will notice that as you shake the strainer, the cornstarch and the dead ants will drop off, and the remaining corn starch cannot harm your dog.

Again, remember to cover the food well or use an airtight container to prevent the ants from re-infesting the dog food.

The two methods(cornstarch and refrigeration) work perfectly, but let’s agree that unless we take preventive measures to keep the ants out of the dog food, then we’ll keep on doing the same thing repeatedly.

So, instead of repeating the same steps of getting rid of the ants from the dog food, there are better ways to prevent the ants from infesting the dog food.

How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food

Keeping the ants out of the dog food is the most effective and efficient way because it’s easier than getting rid of them.

It’s easier because you only need to take preventive measures, and it doesn’t require a lot of time and effort to do it.

Now, there are several ways in which you can do it, and you get to choose how to do it, whether to follow just one precautionary measure or to combine them all: the more, the better.

These measures include the following.

1. Store Extra Food Well

The first step is to protect the food from ants, which means you must store any extra food in a way that the ants aren’t able to reach it.

For you to store extra food away from the ants, you need to:

  • Store it in a Sealed Container

Such containers include resealable bags, cans that can be closed using an airtight lid and such things.

To make it safer, you can decide to use two containers, one inside of another, and that will make it hard for the ants to locate the food scents.

For ants to invade stored food, they need to access it.

The only way they can access it is if the container used to store the food has spaces if it’s airtight, they can’t.

So, choose a container with a reliable lid that can close it tightly.

  • Create a Moat Barrier

Take two pet food dishes or containers, one larger than the other, mostly the ones that won’t rust (preferably made of steel) and a flat brick or stone.

On the smaller container’s underside, attach and stick the flat stone using sticky glue such that the dish sits on the brick.

Give it time to dry, probably two to three hours.

Once the brick is completely stuck on the container, place it slowly on the larger one.

The small container is now inside the larger one but on a flat brick.

Pour water in the larger container, but don’t let it splash into the smaller one, so you have to do it cautiously.

The water surrounding the small container will act as a moat, which will prevent the ants from reaching the food.

2. Buy Ant-proof Dishes

There are a variety of pet food dishes to choose from, but the best are ant-proof to protect the dog food from getting infested by ants.

All you have to do is to choose the best ant-proof dish for your dog.

Some of these dishes/bowls have a unique design to keep the ants out, for example, YUWODA Ant Proof Dog Bowl.

The bowl doesn’t need water to keep ants out of the food.

The bowl doesn’t use toxic chemicals to serve its desired purpose; instead, it uses physical mechanisms.

You can also use the bowl for other purposes, so it’s multipurpose.

3. Keep the Area Around the Dog Food Clean

Once you’ve made sure that the stored food is safe, now clean the area to remove any leftovers that might attract the ants.

Even after storing the food safely, it’s possible to see ants because they still can be attracted by the small food particles on the floor.

Ensure you clean the dog bowl regularly, maybe be every day, or even after every meal.

After that, clean the floor, especially where you keep the dog bowl or where your pup sits when eating.

If you want to use soap to clean, make sure it’s a pet-safe soap to protect your pup from harmful chemicals that the soap may contain.

To make it even more efficient, you can add vinegar or lemon water into the cleaning water.

After that, wipe the floor using the water so that the scent can keep the ants away.

4. Use Other products

You can use several different products to keep ants away.

Such products include peppermint Oil, Petroleum Jerry, and Baby talc powder.

Using Peppermint Oil

It’s funny how ants will always find food no matter how much you try to hide it from them, especially if you don’t take enough measures.

Have you ever wondered how ants detect food?

They use their strong sense of smell.

So, if you can disrupt their sense of smell, then there’s no way they will detect your food, but how can you do that?

You can use peppermint oil to disrupt their sense of smell so they won’t track the food.

What you need

Here, you will need a spray bottle, Peppermint oil, a Tablespoon, and water.

How to do it

Put a tablespoon of peppermint oil into the spray bottle, add a cup of water, and mix.

Use it to wipe the floor, especially the area where you keep your pup’s bowl.

Remember to spray where the ants trail.

One thing to note is that when used in large quantities, it can be harmful and toxic to pets, so dilute it with water always before using it.

And don’t use it directly on a dog’s bowl, and also don’t apply it on surfaces where the dog is likely to lick it.

5. Use Petroleum Jelly 

You can use petroleum jelly to keep the ants away from the dog food, which is the easiest method.

What You Need

You will need petroleum jerry, like vaseline and a dog bowl or dish.

However, that is not the best method because the dog can smear it on the entire floor, making your house slippery.

There’s also a possibility of him/her smearing it on himself/herself, which isn’t good either.

How to do it

Take the vaseline and apply it around the dog’s bowl.

That ensures the ants cannot get to the food because it’s sticky, so they will get stuck before getting inside the bowl.

6. Using Baby Talc Powder

This powder and vaseline work in the same way, but the former also has a scent that keeps the ants away.

The disadvantage with the powder is that it can be harmful to pets, so you should use it with caution.

You now know two things; how you can get rid of the ants from the dog food and how you can keep them away from the food, but there’s another question.

Why all the hassle?

That is an important question: why should you struggle so much to get rid of the ants and keep them away from the dog food?

In other words, the question seeks to find the possible consequences that could arise if a dog consumed ants.

  • Ants Spread Bacteria and Diseases-causing Organisms

In most cases, ants do not pose health risks to humans and animals because they don’t have any disease-causing organisms.

However, they can be carriers of bacteria and fungi, so yes, ants can contaminate dog food.

When they move around, they can pick germs and bacteria, such as in the garbage cans and the bathroom.

Even though they rarely carry germs, some of them, like sugar ants, have reportedly transmitted the germs found in feces.

Once they carry such germs, they invade the food, and they could contaminate it and make it unfit for your dog’s consumption.

Some ants like Pharaoh ants can carry germs like Staphylococcus and salmonella.

  • Some Ants Can Sting

Some of the ants, like Fire ants, can harm dogs through stinging.

Although other ants bite, the fire ant is the most dangerous among them all.

That is because when other ants like bullets and carpenter ants bite, they release a formic acid on their target. 

But for a fire ant, they bite and sting with their abdomen and release a toxic substance called alkaloid venom on their target.

This venom can cause allergic reactions in dogs.

So when the dog food has such ants, and you go ahead and feed your dog, your dog might end up being sick, which isn’t a good thing.

In case you notice the fire ants have invaded your home, call the pest control services to get rid of them as soon as you can.

How Can You Tell?

Fire ants are small and reddish-brown, they don’t like living near people, but they build their nests nearby to make their food search easier.

They build ant hills called mounds in the yard, and these behaviors make them unique.

However, it’s not automatic that reddish-brown ants with mounds will always be anthills so that you can involve an expert in pest control.

There are several suggestive symptoms of fire ants bites like pain, liking, and sores. 

  • The Issue of Cost

Although you can remove ants from most dog foods, they may infest other foods that are hard to recover in some instances.

In such cases, your only option is to throw the food away.

Throwing food away now and then could lead to a loss and wastage of money.

How to keep ants out of dog food can be challenging, but if done correctly, then it’s not as hard as it may seem.

The first step should be to get rid of the ants. After the food is clean, you take the necessary measures to keep the ants away from the food.

Now, when it comes to keeping them out of the food, you should concentrate much on removing any food traces that could attract them.

That is done through thorough cleaning, pet-friendly soaps, or lemon water because it keeps the ants away.

Final Thoughts

Other products used to keep away the ants do work, but not as perfect as the safe storage and cleaning method.

It’s because all the three have their disadvantages; for instance, using peppermint in large quantities may harm pets like dogs, for the vaseline method, a dog could smear it all over, and for the baby talc powder it could harm the dog.

Therefore, only use these methods when you have no other option; otherwise, you shouldn’t use them.

Finally, it’s crucial to know that although ants are known to be safe for animals, some of them can still be dangerous, especially the fire ants, so keeping them out of dog food should be your priority.

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