How to Get Ants Out of Pet Food and Keep Them Out

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Ant infestation is not only a nuisance but also a damage-causing problem you will encounter when spring comes.

It is the time where these tiny little creatures look for food to store for future use. The air circulation enables them to quickly sense the aromatic smell of sugar, fats, and protein[1].

It just so happens that dog and cat food possesses such an aroma.

Your pets may not be aware of the ant problems you perceive as their pet parent.

They may not be as worried as you are, so they don’t have any clue that their character as messy eaters is putting them at risk of keeping pests closer to them. 

Therefore, cat and dog owners should find an intelligent way to get rid of them without depriving these animals of the freedom to behave naturally.

When ants swarm around your pet’s food bowl, they excrete pheromone chemicals to create a communicable path which we understand as ant trail.

This trail will keep them coming back to your pet’s eating place even if you kick them away from the area. You can not easily deter them from attacking the bowl even if you kill them.

Among other pests, they are a force to be reckoned with.

how to keep ants out of dog food safety health

Reasons Why Ants are Attracted to Pet Food

You might be wondering why anything in pet food seems to be aromatic to them.

That is because there are many food sources in your house that they could turn their attention to, yet they never did.

Did you know that they like cooked rice more than raw rice?

It is because every ant is attracted to moisture[2].

Although they consume protein tissues from a dead animal, they need more fluid than fibrous meals.

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It is because they have similarities with biological cells that are composed of a significant amount of water.

If they are attracted to moisture, why do they still like dry food such as kibble?

Dry food is not completely dry. It has 12% moisture that comes from fats and carbohydrates content.

Carbohydrates are also rich in glucose and sucrose, the sugar that they love the most.

Are Ants Bad for Dogs?

These tiny creatures are not harmful to dogs.

They can even be an alternative source of protein for domestic pets.

Bears that are known to eat ants have a similar metabolic system to dog creatures.

So, ants are not poisonous. They won’t harm your pets.

Why Should You Keep Ants Out of Your Pet Food?

Even if cats or dogs consider them a meal, they won’t bother eating ants because they are nuisances.

As a result, pets, especially dogs, would become less interested in eating their everyday food infested with ants.

What’s worse is when they no longer want to have that type of food they’ve been eating for so long.

And for you as a pet parent, ants around the food bowl are a significant disturbance.

Instead of spending your time with other important tasks, you will end up removing them from the bowl every day if not appropriately addressed.

To prevent ants from attacking and to get them away from pets are two different things. When ants are already on your pet food bowl, do not throw away the food.

Here is a simple yet complete guide in removing them.

How to remove ants from dog food with corn starch

How to Remove Ants from Pet Food

  1. Transfer the food infested with ants to another larger container or tray. You can use a bin or a dish as long as it has enough space at the top.
  2. Get some corn starch and sprinkle it onto the food. You don’t have to use a whole can. Just use it depending on the amount of food that is infested.
  3. Shake the container to let the corn starch spread all over the food.
  4. Clean the empty container where ants attacked the pet food. Then, remove the remaining ants from the surface.
  5. Go back to the container where corn starch has been poured.
  6. When you see the white color all over the pet food, get a strainer or a dry paintbrush.
  7. Place the strainer above a tray or a bin where the corn starch and the ants drop.
  8. Put some pet food into the strainer.
  9. Shake the strainer while brushing the top of the pet food.
  10. When the pet food in the strainer is no longer white, pour the food into the empty container.
  11. Do it for the remaining pet food with corn starch.

How to Keep Ants Out of Pet Food

Now that you know how to remove ants from pet food, it’s also necessary to have more information about an effective way to deter ants from future attacks.

Here are some of the most popular options you can consider:

Petroleum Jelly

Put some petroleum jelly around the storage bin of your pet’s food.

The jelly will make it difficult for an ant to cross the sticky surface.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is an essential oil that produces an unwanted smell for pests such as ants and mosquitoes[3].

However, too much of it is harmful to your dog or cat.

Just use one tablespoon of peppermint oil and pour it into one cup of water.

Next, stir the water and pour it into a spray bottle. 

Spray it around the infested area.

You can also use a cotton ball, soak it a little bit into the water with peppermint oil, and rub it around the storage bin or the dish where your pets eat.

Did You Know?

Peppermint oil can also be used to fight against flea infestations!

Water Moat

Water moats are the most practical way of keeping ants away from pet food.

Just place the dish inside a larger dish or tray with water.

You can also buy food bowls with a built-in water moat.

Ant-Proof Food Bowl

The Ant-Proof Food Bowl is a stainless steel bowl with elevated sides.

The design makes it difficult for ants to reach the top of the bowl.

In addition, it is so slippery for them that they are likely to fall to the floor along the way

This bowl is dishwasher safe as well.

Airtight Container

An airtight container is enough to prevent ants from getting inside it.

They may never find it because it is so tightly sealed that the aroma has been wholly contained inside.


Feeding your pets with ant-free food is a gesture of love like that of a mother to her baby.

Of course, as a pet parent, you won’t feed your pet with anything unusual in it, no matter how small it is.

However, the next time you see ants swarming into the food bowl, the above information will surely help you.


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