Pet food should always be stored in an air tight container, but sometimes it can get invaded by ants anyway. This guide will show you how to get ants out of pet food and keep them out. You can easily save your dog food and cat food without having to toss it in the trash!
There isn't much worse than going to feed your pets and discovering that their food has been invaded by ants...especially at 6 a.m. Yesterday, I awoke to that exact issue. I was half awake, pre-coffee, and went to fill our dog's food bowls, when I discovered hundreds of tiny little ants had made their way into the dog food bin. To say that I was livid would be a vast understatement since I had just filled the bin with a $55 bag of special grain free dog food. We have two Boston Terriers, and they have very sensitive stomachs, so we feed them grain free dog food that isn't full of fillers. My first thought was that we'd have to toss their dog food and buy new food. I fed them some chicken that we had in our refrigerator and waited until I could go to the pet store to buy more food, but decided I would call their vet first to see if there was a trick for saving the their dog food. I mean, surely this has happened to many people, right? Thankfully, our veterinarian had the perfect solution and we were able to save the expensive dog food instead of tossing it out! If you have other ant problems, check out my 2 Ingredient Ant Deterrent Spray to keep ants and other pests out of your home!
How to Remove Ants from Pet Food
- Pour the ant infested pet food into a large bin. I used a bin that is long, but shallow.
2. Grab some corn starch...yep, the kind you use for cooking and such.
2. Sprinkle some corn starch onto your ant infested pet food.
3. Toss it all together. The corn starch helps to detach the ants from the food.
4. Once the you have coated the food in corn starch, it's time to get the ants out of the food. If there are a few ants, they won't hurt your pet if they eat them, but let's get out as many as possible. Grab a kitchen colander or strainer and a dry paint brush. Fill the strainer with the food and toss it while using the dry paint brush to remove any ants that are stuck on the food...their shouldn't be many. Most of them are probably at the bottom of the plastic bin. Do this in shifts until all of the dog food is clean. It's a bit tedious, but totally worth it! Pour each batch of clean dog food back in the dog food bin. Corn starch left on the pet food will not harm your pets.
Once the food is all clean, take the below precautions to ensure that your dog's food is ant free going forward.
How to Keep Ants Out of Pet Food
Place a line of petroleum jelly around the bottom edge of your dog or cat's food storage bin and around the bottom of your pet's food bowl to keep ants or any other pests from crawling into your pet's food. Ants will not cross the barrier.
Another easy way to keep ants away from pet food is to dab surrounding areas with a little bit of peppermint oil. Peppermint essential oil in large amounts can be harmful to some pets, so just a dab on a nearby rug, curtain or a cotton ball that your pet can't get to will keep ants far away. Ants detest the smell of peppermint.
Looking for more easy pet tips and tricks? Check these out...
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Be sure to check out hundreds of my easy cleaning tips and natural cleaning recipes HERE on my Home Cleaning Page!
Great tips! However, and it's none of my business, but I have had 3 different vets tell me to never feed my dog Blue Buffalo. My brother's vet told him the same thing.. Thank you for all the wonderful tips you put online.
Joyceann Dreibelbis says
why did they say not to feed Blue Buffalo? that;s all I feed my dog and she's 12. thank you
I have made the ant deterrent spray and it works great! We had an ant infestation at the beginning of the summer. I sprayed it around the foundation of the house and near spots where I thought they might be coming in. No more ants! Amazing!
Suzanne Hunt says
Blue Buffalo dog food has recalls and class action law suits, and I would never recommend it. Also anything corn is not good for dogs. If your pups have sensitive stomachs try feeding a species appropriate raw diet. I think you will love the results.
My vet told me not to put the dog food directly in the bin. He said just drop the full bag in the bin. Dog good has fat in it that can get rancid and if you don’t wash your bin every time it can contaminate the new food. Plus is there is a recall you can see if your bag is on the list.
Alissa Henkel says
Thank you!!! I never knew this
, I’m washing my bin right now because my doggo was not wanting her food and she always loves meal time so I looked and Ants were feasting on the kibble. Then I saw the post on rancid food.
Texas Nana says
I put a few bay leaf in the dog food bin it also deterrs ants. I had ants in the bathroom under the sink counter and placed bay leaf under the counter rim and ants left in a few days.and have not returned.
I had ants coming in a corner of a window several years ago. Tried recommended peppermint tea bags. They walked right over them. So tried the peppermint EO. They walked around that.
Try it at your own risk, but I had heard about WD40 stopping ants. So I sprayed a little shot in that corner. Never saw another ant come in there or anyplace else.
Jane Watkins says
I tried the vaseline trick on my cat's food bowls and the ants went right past the barrier and into the food. So there's that.
I've never had that happen...if it is thick enough, they should get stuck in the vaseline.
If you put the bowl in the freezer it kills them and they all fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Isaac Contreras says
I have 2 automatic cat feeders in my house. Last summer we had ants get into the feeders. I solved this by creating a diatomaceous earth platform of sorts. I used 2 old full size PC server case side panels. ( you can source items like this from the electronics recycling bins at recycling centers)
You just need some standoffs between the 2 like a sandwich. Put the diatomaceous earth on the bottom like a mote, then put the other case on over it to keep the cats from getting into the powder. Now you don't have to worry about ants in animal food anymore.