Ant baits are designed for those tiny critters in your home. But most of the time, it’s the big ones that get attracted to the bait — yes, your dogs! If you happened to put an ant bait at home but dog chewed it right before you could stop him, you must be now Googling about its effect to dogs.
It’s normal to be so worked up about it. You might be wondering if the content of the ant bait will poison your dog. Keep reading to find out whether an ant trap is safe for canines or not.
Why Are Dogs Attracted to Ant Traps?
Dogs are very curious creatures. They like sticking their noses into everything, including things they are not supposed to sniff, lick, or touch. Ant traps contain sugar or syrup that is highly attractive to ants. Because dogs have a powerful sense of smell, they could get a sniff of the sugar in the bait before you even realized.
Aside from sugar, some manufacturers use peanut butter as the attractant for the bait. As most pet owners know, dogs enjoy the taste of peanut butter. This pretty much explains why a dog would want to eat something like an ant trap.
Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate or Borax is the active ingredient in most ant baits. It is a mineral and a salt of boric acid often used not just for pesticides, but also for cleaning purposes. It is effective in killing fleas, but it should not be used on dogs for flea treatment as it can be dangerous for their health.
For ant traps, only a minimal amount of borax is used. In most cases, an ant trap is 1 part to 3 parts sugar. As an example, a leading brand of liquid ant bait only has around 5.40% of Borax, while the rest is represented by attractants.
Are Ant Killer Safe For Dogs?
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center ranked insecticides as seventh among the Top 10 Animal Toxins of 2017. Ant baits, yard products, and bug sprays are among the rampantly used insecticides. It happens that ant baits are the most common type of insecticides dogs ingest.
Despite the fact that it is on the list, the organization highlighted that ant traps are only mildly toxic to dogs, as they only contain small quantities of poison. It would take a lot of ant traps for a pooch to be in danger.
Supposing your dog ate one ant trap, take a sigh of relief now. It actually takes as many as one hundred of those ant traps for your dog to be seriously ill. STILL, it’s best to keep an eye on your ant traps and make sure dog won’t eat them.
Aside from concerns regarding toxicity, you should also be warned that ant traps can cause dogs to choke. In fact, the ASPCA noted that this is more of a problem than the insecticide itself. The bait, which is usually a small round plastic, can get stuck in a canine’s digestive tract.
If you notice that your dog is drooling after eating an ant trap, there is a chance that the object got stuck in the esophagus. In such a situation, it is very important to take the dog to a vet as soon as possible. This requires immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Vets usually administer intravenous fluids and pain control to treat a dog that ingested a foreign body. It is not recommended to induce vomiting at home because it may cause more problems. This may lead to inhalation problems because the object could block the air passage.
A medical operation may be required if the object is already in the intestine. If not treated, it can cut the blood supply to your dog’s stomach and intestinal tissue. This is usually diagnosed via X-ray.
What To Do If Your Dog Ate An Ant Trap?
In the event that your dog shows signs of illness, don’t hesitate to see the vet. Keep an eye for signs like vomiting, restlessness, and diarrhea. If these are present for more than 24 hours, contact your vet or an animal poison control center as soon as possible.
If your dog seems fine, it is still best to call your pet doctor just to be sure. Your veterinarian will decide if there is a need to bring him in, depending on the quantity ingested. Your vet could also request that you bring the bait for him/her to evaluate it or check the label.
In cases like this, vets usually induce vomiting if the dog only ingested the liquid. This is to get rid of the poison from the dog’s body. Most pet doctors also give the dog some charcoal pills. This is to help absorb any toxicant from the stomach.
Tips for Dog Owners
When you have dogs in the house, you have to be careful when using insecticides. Have the habit of reading labels, especially when buying insecticides. There should be an indication if the product is safe around kids and dogs. Below are some tips on how to use these substances to make sure they are safe for your pooch or anyone at home:
- Use an all-natural ant killer instead of the ones that have chemicals in them. There are so many natural ant traps widely available on the market.
- Place your pet’s food bowls in a pan of water. If you’re worried about the ants getting in dog’s food bowls, this trick could help.
- Put those bait stations in an area away from your dog’s reach or keep an eye on the bait stations.
- Destroy the nest with hot or boiling water. This is the most direct way of controlling an ant infestation.
As mentioned above, you may also try doing dog-friendly homemade ant traps. Do note that you can purchase an already dog-safe ant killer. But if you prefer making them yourself, here are some of the tried and tested alternatives:
1.Diatomaceous earth – the Food and Drug Administration says it is generally safe for both humans and dogs. Simply apply a layer of diatomaceous earth in the ant-infested area.
2.Baking soda – you probably heard that baking soda is toxic for dogs. Yes, but that is only in large amounts. For killing ants, all you need to do is draw a line where there are ant tracks.
3.Vinegar – spray it on the areas invaded by ants. You may also mix it with water and transfer in a spray bottle. Ants hate the strong smell of vinegar and it will also get rid of the smell of their trails.
4.Lemon – squeeze a few drops on the areas or openings where ants dwell. This is better than vinegar because it does not leave your house with an unpleasant odor. Ants do not like the smell of citrus.
5.Chalk – it contains calcium carbonate which helps repel the ants. Simply use the chalk for drawing a line around ant-infested areas. You may also crush it and scatter the powder in your garden.
6.Petroleum jelly – it’s safe for dogs and can even be used to get rid of ants from their food bowls. All you need to do is ring the bowl with a bit of petroleum jelly. This keeps the ant at bay.
7.Mint – if you’re bothered about outdoor ants, try planting mint. It helps attract good bugs such as hoverflies and honeybees while repelling the bad ones such as ants.
8.Cucumber – this is one of the best veggies for dogs. But your dog will not be very attracted to it since you will only use the peel. Place those peels where the ants are mostly seen.
9.Cinnamon- sprinkle a bit of it on the entrance points of ants. Cinnamon is perfectly safe for canines so you should not worry if dog accidentally licks some.
10.Alcohol – mix one part of rubbing alcohol to one part of water. Simply spray the solution on ant trails to get rid of them as well as the smell of the trail. That prevents them from returning to the area.
Some pet owners use a sponge soaked with sugar water. Avoid from doing this because your dog might eat the sponge. If you’re using sugar water or a liquid ant trap, simply secure a clear plastic container on the bait station using painter’s tape. This prevents the dog from getting to the bait.
Ant traps are mildly toxic to dogs. But what’s more concerning is the dog accidentally ingesting the plastic containing the ant bait as it may cause an obstruction. It’s indigestible and may even get stuck in your dog’s esophagus. In such cases, it is important to take dog to the vet for him to receive proper treatment.