How can I keep ants out of my dog’s food bowl?

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Few things can vex a dog owner as much as finding ants in your dog’s bowl. It doesn’t make your dog too happy, either, especially if she likes to eat outside and if she eats her meal in portions, rather than all-at-once.

Ants seem to be drawn to a pet dish instantly, and this is because of their sophisticated tracking system. When they discover a food source, they lay down a trail of pheromones for the other ants to follow.

Luckily, here are a few tactics you can employ to get rid of them:

• Drown them: Use a shovel to dig up any ant beds you find in your yard. Place the ants in a large bucket of soapy water. The soap will prevent the ants from being able to attach to the sides of the bucket and climb out.
Make sure you place the bucket out of reach of your dog, because this will prevent her from being tempted to drink from the bucket—and you’ll need to leave the bucket alone for three to seven days to give the ants time to drown.

• Wash the area where you normally feed your dog thoroughly with soap and water to clear away any existing ant pheromone trails.

• Make mint oil. Ants do not like mint and will not cross a path of mint oil, which is non-toxic to your pets.

Create a ring of mint oil on the ground in a wide circle surrounding the area where you intend to feed your dog. Create a shallow pan of water and then place your dog’s food dish in the pan of water. Any ants that do cross the mint oil trail will get caught in the water before they can make it to your dog’s bowl. In the unlikely event that an ant does manage to reach the dog bowl, the surrounding water will prevent it from laying a pheromone trail for other ants to follow.

Replace the mint oil after each rain and be sure to remove the dog’s food dish whenever it is empty.

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