Dogs are famous for getting into things they shouldn’t chew.
We’ve all seen the social media posts about dogs destroying shoes or books. You might’ve even experienced it with your own dog—I know I have!
It isn’t always possible to keep your dog away from everything, especially if you leave them home alone during the day and they aren’t in a crate.
Sometimes it can get dangerous to give them the freedom to roam, especially if you use ant traps in your home.
Dogs might eat an ant trap because it has a unique scent and they’re curious to know what it tastes like.
Here’s what you should do if your dog eats an ant trap and how the traps work so you can understand them better.
What’s in an Ant Trap?
Some ant traps have a hard plastic covering that doesn’t allow people to see inside the trap. Others are clear plastic, which reveals the sloshing liquid inside.
What’s really in an ant trap?
Depending on what you get, ant traps can contain a variety of poisons intended for small pests and insects.
The most common ant trap poisons are:
- Borax (Borax also kills fleas)
Although these poisons are lethal for ants and other small pests, the amount of insecticide in an ant trap is typically too small to sicken or kill most dogs.
What about the ants? Is it safe for dogs to eat ants?
How Does an Ant Trap Work?
When you lay out an ant trap, such as the Raid Max Ant Bait, it doesn’t start working right away.
Is Your Dog Driving You Nuts During the Day?
Get Our List of 11 Awesome Indoor Activities to Keep Your Dog Busy and Out of Trouble!
Ants need to crawl into the trap, get the poison on them, and bring the poison back to their nest.
Once the poison is inside the ant colony, it begins to kill whatever’s inside.
The poison in ant traps is specifically designed so it’s a slow release toxin. This is a major reason why most dogs who eat an ant trap end up just fine.
Watch for Poisoning Side Effects
It’s natural to be concerned about poisoning if your dog eats an ant trap, especially if you have a small dog.
Although most dogs will be fine if they eat just one trap, you can watch for poisoning side effects and check to see if they ate more than one.
If they consumed multiple ant traps, they may experience poisoning side effects such as:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Excessive drooling
If your dog starts showing these symptoms, you can always take them to your vet for a second opinion. You can also call a pet poison hotline.
They’ll recommend what you should do, which may result in inducing vomiting or taking your pet to an emergency clinic for an exam.
Never do anything drastic like inducing vomiting without a vet’s recommendation.
Monitor for Plastic Shard Damages
The plastic trap itself may present more of a danger than the poison inside.
When dogs chew on plastic ant traps, they break it into shards, which can damage their intestines or lead to bowel obstructions.
Signs of an obstruction include:
- Excessive vomiting
- Bloody stool
- Heightened anxiety or panic
- Straining and whimpering when trying to pass stool
If your dog exhibits these symptoms, you’ll need to take them to their vet or an emergency vet clinic for an exam.
Bad blockages may need surgery.
Your vet might also recommend that your dog eat some food, which can wrap around the plastic and help pass it through their digestive system.
How to Use Ant Traps Safely Around Dogs
You might be nervous about using ant traps in your home, but you still need to get rid of the pests.
There are a few ways to use and drive safely around dogs, as long as you take precautions.
The first thing you can do is scout locations for your ant traps before you bring them home.
The best locations will be places that your dog can’t get into, like under the far reaches of a TV stand or inside kitchen cabinets.
Another smart way to keep track of the traps is to write down where you place them.
You’ll never forget where they are and you can safely remove each trap when they stop being effective, which is usually after a couple months.
You can also choose to use traps for only a week or two. That way you don’t have to feel like you need to constantly monitor your pet for three to six months at a time or worry about them potentially finding a trap and eating it.
If you still have ants after a couple weeks, it’s most likely that the trap isn’t working anyway.
Ant Trap Alternatives
If your dog has a bad experience with ant traps or you’re too nervous to use them, there are a few alternatives you can try.
Indoor Pest Sprays
Indoor and or pepper sprays use the same poisons, if not more, than traditional ant traps.
The only reason they are a possible alternative is because they’re typically safe to interact with after they dry.
If you spray along the bottom of your front door and your dog lays down against it after the spray dries, they won’t have skin irritations or reactions because the poison is safe to touch.
Natural Ant Repellants
You can also use all-natural ant repellents to see if they make a difference in your home.
Once you find out where the ants are coming in, like a crack in your kitchen floor or underneath the door, place some of these resources in that opening:
- Coffee grinds
- Cinnamon sticks
- Peppermint leaves
- Lemon juice
Ants are deterred from these things because of the strong odors or acidic nature of the resources.
At the same time, it’s worth noting that your dog will also want to eat all of these and more if they find them laying around.
If you use this option, you’ll want to keep your dog in a separate room until you can remove the deterrents after the ants are gone.
Do these ingredients look familiar? Some can be used to repel fleas, too!
DIY Ant Bait
You also have the option of making your own ant bait, which would collect the live ants so you can toss them outside or get rid of them as you please.
All you need is something sweet, light corn syrup or powdered sugar, to attract ants.
Once they climb in the bowl with the bait solution, they should get stuck to another ingredient like shortening or boric acid.
You can then get rid of the ants and monitor the trap for fresh pests. Never let your dog ingest any of these ingredients either.
If your dog eats an ant trap, you might feel scared or anxious for them, but most of the time they’ll be fine.
Watch your dog closely over the next 24 to 48 hours for poisoning symptoms and if they start acting unusually, always call your vet or a poison hotline for the best advice.