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10+ Tips On How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food (Or Any Pet Food)

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Sheena Paredes

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10+ Tips On How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food (Or Any Pet Food) 1

Once the spring and summer months kick in, you can expect to see ants coming and lining up to gather whatever food they can find. Unfortunately, if you’re a dog owner, your pet’s food will most likely end up as an irresistible target for these pesky insects. So we ask – is there a way to keep ants out of the dog’s food for good? How to keep ants out of dog food?

Keeping ants (and other pests) away from dog food (or cat food or any pet food for that matter) can really be a pain, and the thought of wasting quality, expensive dog food doesn’t help one bit. Good thing, there are a couple of things that you can do to stop ants from invading your dog’s food bowl and pet food for good. 

While a few come with a cost, some of the solutions mentioned here can be done without spending a dime. So, make sure to read through all the options. We even added ways on how you can save your dog’s food even if ants and other pests are already all over it so that you won’t have to search for other articles.

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How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food

No fur parent would want to deal with ant infestation (or any pest problem) and see their pet food container and pet’s bowl covered with crawling ants and other pests. So, what can one do to keep ants out of pet food and out of your home for good aside from using a harmful ant deterrent spray? 

Whether you live with dogs, cats, or other animals, the following solutions will help get rid of ants and solve your ant problems:

Store Dog Food In An Air-Tight, Sealed Container

The first thing you need to do is to store the cat or dog food in a container that’s sealed tight. Or better yet, you can store it in the plastic that came with it or transfer it to a resealable plastic bag then store this in an airtight container. 

Wash Your Pet’s Food Bowl Every After Use

Leaving your pet’s food dish with crumbs all over it is an open invitation for ants to come and visit. As such, it’s a good idea to wash your pet’s food bowl after use.

If your dog’s bowl was once covered with ants, washing your dog’s bowl with warm water and soap will also help get rid of any ant trail scent.

Keep Your Home Crumb-Free

You can expect ants marching towards your pet’s food area after a few minutes when tiny crumbs are left scattered there. As such, cleaning up after your pets is a great idea. 

Make it a habit to vacuum your home to ensure that no crumbs are left behind. You might also want to mop the floor. You can use a spray bottle to spray the dish soap and water mixture or lemon juice and water mixture on the surface to remove any scent that the other ants left behind.

How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food

Opt To Use Ant-Proof Pet Food Bowls

At times, we can’t help but leave our doggos. And when we do that, we will need to leave food for them in case we miss a meal time. If you want your dog to enjoy its meal and avoid a possible ant invasion, you can opt to use anti-ant pet food bowls. They’re pricier than the average bowls, but these will surely keep ants away from the dog food.

Ant-Proof Your Pet’s Food Bowls 

Don’t worry if you can’t buy an anti-ant bowl for your pets, because you can easily make one from scratch or from items you’ll find in your home. 

Moat or Water Barrier

Most store-bought ant-proof pet bowls use water to stop ants from their tracks since ants aren’t good swimmers. You can do the same.

You can create a moat around your pet’s bowls by placing the bowl in the middle of a pan and filling the pan with water. Make sure that the water doesn’t reach the cat or dog food.

Sticky Tape

Besides water, you can also create a barrier between the cat or dog food and ants by sticking tape at the bottom or on the exterior surface of the food bowl. Although duct tape is extra sticky and durable, double-sided tape is easier to apply.

Petroleum Jelly

Like sticky tape, petroleum jelly can also stop ants from reaching the cat and dog food. Dab a thick, slippery layer of petroleum jelly around the bottom of the bowl to keep ants away.


For extra protection, you can also add cinnamon to petroleum jelly before applying it around the food bowl. Ants hate the smell of cinnamon. Besides that, its scent tends to confuse ants.

Diatomaceous Earth Powder

Diatomaceous Earth can effectively get rid of ants and other pests minus the high cost, and it’s readily available at garden supply and hardware stores. What’s good about this is that it’s perfectly safe for dogs, cats, and other animals. 

Just put this around your pet’s feeding area and other areas in your home, and say goodbye to your ant problem.

Pure Baking Soda

Another common household item that you can use to deter ants is pure baking soda. It’s non-toxic, so you can put this around your pets’ feeding area, window sills, doorways, and other entry points.

Lemon Juice or Lemon and Orange Peels

Ants are also not a fan of citrus fruits like lemon and orange. As such, you can use this to your advantage by spritzing the lemon juice on entry points.

Lemon and orange peels can also be blended and mixed with a cup of water to create an ant-repellent spray.  

10+ Tips On How To Keep Ants Out Of Dog Food (Or Any Pet Food) 2

Other Ways To Keep Ants Away Before They Reach Your Pet’s Food

Besides pouring boiling water over an anthill to get rid of ants from its source, there are other items in your home that you can use to deter ants. However, it’s advised to use this when your dog is not around since it can be harmful or toxic to dogs.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne isn’t harmful to dogs but it can still irritate your pets’ eyes. As such, it’s better to sprinkle this on dog-free surfaces.

Essential Oils

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Besides cinnamon, ants also hate the smell of other essential oils like peppermint oil, clove oil, and tea tree oil. To use this to deter ants, you can dab a few drops of peppermint essential oil or something similar on a cotton ball and place it in ant-infested areas.

Alternatively, you can create your own ant deterrent spray by mixing one cup of water with one tablespoon of 100% peppermint oil in a spray bottle. Mixing 2 cups of water with 5 to 10 drops of tea tree oil also works. You can spray this close to the vents. 

Dish Soap

Dish soap mixed with water in equal amounts also serves as an excellent anti-ant spray. Coating ants with this solution suffocates them. Just make sure to spray this away from the dog food or feeding area.

Ants Have Invaded My Dog’s Food! What To Do

What if ants have managed to get into the pet food container, is there a way to undo this? Also, can your dog still eat the food? The answer is YES to both.

No pets have died from eating food that ants have invaded, so there’s no need to worry. Your pet is going to be A-okay. But of course, you’d want to feed them dog food that is free of ants. Here are two ways to get rid of ants from your pet’s food without damaging or spoiling the food.

Freeze & Strain

Ants aren’t resilient to cold, which is why no ants live in Antarctica. If ants somehow manage to get in the container, close the lid tightly and put this in the freezer. This should kill the ants. After that, strain the ants off the food using a strainer. 


Ant-infested dog food can also be salvaged by using cornstarch. Just sprinkle the cornstarch on the food and toss it until they’re all coated. Doing so helps detach the ants from the pet food. After that, you just need to strain off the ants using a strainer. And yes, cornstarch is perfectly safe for doggie consumption.

NOTE: Whichever way you choose, both will take time, but it’s going to be worth it.

Bottom Line

Ant infestation is a problem dog owners (or any pet owners) dread. Unfortunately, it’s something we need to go through every once in a while. But don’t fret. It’s a problem that can be solved in many ways – over 10 ways. 

What’s more, you don’t have to spend a lot of cash or contact the exterminator to deal with it. In most cases, you can keep your pet’s food safe and ant-free using items commonly found in your home.

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