It’s the scourge of many a pet parent: the ants come marching each springtime and don’t let up until the weather turns cold again. The ants’ target? Your pet’s food bowl!
Worry no more. You don’t have to just put up with these pesky invaders trying to snack on your beloved’s goodies. You can fight back, and without poisons. Here are five non-toxic ways to keep ants out of your pet’s food.
1. How to Remove an Ant Infestation From Pet Food Without Throwing it Away
If there are already ants in the food, then place the food in the freezer. Wait until the food is frozen and the ants are dead. Then, working in batches if necessary, use a strainer over the sink or a trash can to sift the dead ants out of the food.
2. How to Use Peppermint Oil to Repel Ants and Other Pests
I discovered the wonders of peppermint oil when crews broke ground near my apartment to construct a new line of the Washington, DC metro. Almost immediately, our home was infested by mice that presumably came inside to escape all the excavation and major construction that disrupted the environment.
We’d always entertained ants, which wasn’t ideal, but mice? Aw, heck no. I was not having it! After lots of research to find a non-toxic way to repel mice, I discovered that 100% peppermint oil (that’s 100% peppermint oil, not extract) works wonders. In a spray bottle, I mix a tablespoon of oil for every 1 cup of water, which is a potent potion.
Both mice and ants are guided keenly by their sense of smell, and 100% peppermint oil seems to completely bungle their olfactory operations. Since occasionally spritzing peppermint oil near my HVAC vent and having the smell delivered all throughout my apartment, I have seen nary a pest, and certainly no mice and no ants. Refresh with more spritzes anywhere you think pests might enter your home, and you should largely be pest-free in no time.
3. How to Disrupt the Ant Trail
If you don’t want to try peppermint oil, then do your best to disrupt the ant trail to throw them off your pet’s food’s scent. You can keep a placemat under your dog’s food bowl, and after each meal, wash the food bowl and wash off all the crumbs from the place mat with soap and water. You can also wipe down the floor with a gentle cleanser along the trail where you’ve seen ants marching, leading up to the space where you feed your pet.
Another option is to sprinkle baby powder where you’ve seen ants enter your home. Sprinkle talc lightly in a circle around your pet’s food dish. (Make sure your pet isn’t around to inhale the talc.) Ants can’t seem to stand being around baby powder and will beat a hasty retreat in its presence.
4. How to Create a Moat Around Your Pet’s Food Bowl.
Ants will drown in water and won’t be able to cross water to get to your pet’s food. You can use an aluminum baking dish that you would buy in the grocery store. Place your pet’s food bowl in the baking dish, and then fill the dish with just enough water to create a moat around the food bowl so that ants can’t access the food.
Of course the moat won’t prevent ants from entering your home in the first place. My favorite method has been peppermint oil. After the initial inconvenience of purchasing the oil and mixing up a bottle of 1 tablespoon of oil to one cup of water, it’s been so simple to just spray it around any time I notice an ant scouting out our kitchen. He runs for the hills, and I never have to host him or his friends again.