Why Does My Dog Eat Ants - Dog Training Tips (2023)

Would you consider ants to be a tasty dish? Probably not!

But your dog thinks otherwise. He sees ants as an enticing treat that is readily available right in front of him.

And guess what he will do?

He will start eating these little critters left and right!

That is just one of the reasons why your dog eats ants.

Your dog is eating ants because he is suffering from diet deficiency, or he finds ants to be a form of tasty snack. He is curious about these little insects and licks them to investigate. He found ants in his food and just ate them. He could be doing it out of boredom.

Table of Contents

Diet Deficiency

When your dog eats ants, he could be suffering from some form of diet deficiency.

Does his diet contain all the nutrients that his body needs?

Is it a well balanced diet that keeps him from hunger?

If your dog is hungry at the time of this behavior, he may be having a hard time controlling himself and might just eat anything he can get his mouth on.

You see, ants are nutritious insects that can provide your dog with protein and calcium and when he eats them, he can get some extra nutrients.

So if your diet is not providing what your dog’s body needs, he will look for other ways to get what he wants.

This is when you will see him start eating grasses and insects such as bugs.

He will exhibit signs such as bad breath, dull coat, excessive fur loss, weight loss as well as bowed limbs when he is having diet deficiency.

(Video) Can Dogs eat Ants? | My Dog eats Ants

If you see any of these signs in your dog, you will certainly need to make some changes to his diet.

It could also be the case of him suffering from intestinal parasites that are “robbing” the nutrients that his body is trying to get from the foods he eats.

In either case (diet deficiency or intestinal parasites), you should take him to see your veterinarian immediately to do a review and checkup.

Why Does My Dog Eat Ants - Dog Training Tips (1)

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Curiosity Induce His Eating

If your dog is still a young puppy, he will be curious about the environment that he is in.

And when he sees small little insects such as ants moving on the ground, that is inevitably going to trigger his curiosity and make him carry out his investigation.

He is going to sniff and lick them in an attempt to find out more.

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This is how he starts to get a taste of the ants and if he finds the taste to be enticing, you see him doing this again and again.

And since dogs possess predatory instincts, it is probably just his innate desire to prey on insects.

Tasty Treat For Him

Some dogs may be attracted to ants because they find them so delicious. The taste of ants is often unpleasant for humans, but not for dogs.

This makes ants an irresistible treat for your dog, and he will want to eat them again and again.

And since ants are often found in all households, this makes them an easy target for your dog at any time of the day.

He will start licking or chewing on them when he spots them.

Ants Are Getting In His Way

Your dog is not eating ants on purpose, but as they are getting in his way (“attacking” his food), he has no choice but to eat them along with his food.

So, to prevent attracting ants, always keep your dog’s food bowl in a pan of water and that should deter ants from reaching the food.

Always clean up any spills as soon as they happen to prevent the ants from spotting them.

Also, make sure you don’t have anything lying around that could attract ants.

Out Of Boredom

You would never know what your dog will be doing when he is getting bored. He would do some wild things that you could ever think of.

This is when you will see him rolling over dead animals, eating his poop or even some insects that he can easily get hold of (such as ants).

So it is important that you keep your dog’s life as interesting and busy as possible.

There are a lot of ways to make sure that your dog gets a chance to release his pent-up energy and ease his boredom and make sure that he is having fun.

The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that he gets enough exercise.

Your dog should be able to run and play around freely in your garden or backyard.

This will help him to use up all his energy that he has built up during the day.

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You can also play some games with him, such as fetch.

The way to play this game is to throw the ball as far as possible and make your dog go and get it.

When he is back with the ball, reward him with a good treat, such as a small piece of steak or cheese.

This interactive game can certainly help to build a bond with your dog and make him drain his energy.

You can also play tug-of-war with your dog. You will need to throw the rope and make him pull it.

When he starts pulling the rope, you must reward him with a treat. This game can help to strengthen his muscles and help him release his energy swiftly.

You should also take him for a walk at least once a day. This will give him time to relax and let off any remaining pent-up energy he had.

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Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Ants?

In general, ants provide some nutrients (proteins and vitamins) needed by canines, so they are in fact beneficial to your dog’s health when he ingests them.

It is unlikely that he will get sick from eating ants.

However, there is a risk that these ants will be all over his mouth and face as he tries to eat them, and they could potentially bite him causing painful pustules.

This is especially so for fire ants, which can release caustic alkaloids that cause a burning sensation when in contact with his skin.

What Do You Do If Your Dog Eats Ants?

If you find your dog eating ants for the above-mentioned reasons, try your best to eliminate these triggering factors, and it will be much easier to correct this behavior.

Address His Diet Deficiency: Work on improving his diet and creating a well-balanced meal for him.

Provide More Tasty Treat For Him: Train him to know that by not eating ants, he will be rewarded with a much more valuable treat (maybe some enticing meat treats for him).

Get The Ants Out Of His Sight: Make sure to keep his food bowl away from the reach of the ants. You can place the bowl in a pan of water.

Ease His Boredom: Keep him occupied with physical activities and mental simulation games.

Keep your home clean and tidy and clear the garbage bins regularly.

In addition, you should avoid leaving food trails on your floor for ants to follow.

This will prevent pests like ants from invading the house.

If you find a nest of ants in your house, you should get rid of them immediately.

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FAQs

How do I stop my dog from eating ants? ›

So, if you find ants in your dog's food, you can place the dog bowl in a shallow dish of water to create a barrier. And be sure to store food in a sealed container.

Why does my dog like eating ants? ›

Ants are also eaten by dogs for another reason. A few dogs simply eat ants for the sheer joy of it. Several people have argued that dogs eat ants because they are a source of protein, but I feel this is stretching the point because ants are so small. Some will say that dogs that eat ants are prey-driven.

Can ants make your dog sick? ›

Symptoms of ant bites and stings might include (bullet points) lameness, hives, chewing or licking at the affected area, swelling, vocalizing/whining, and the inability to settle. In anaphylactic reactions, a dog might suffer from (bullets) vomiting, weakness, respiratory distress, pale gums, and collapse.

How do I stop my dog from eating things off the floor? ›

Ways to Curb Your Dog's Unusual Eating Habits
  1. Clean your backyard frequently to remove any rocks, poops, or other items. ...
  2. Teach your dog to 'drop it' and 'leave it' on command. ...
  3. Increase your pup's exercise and enrichment throughout the day.
May 15, 2022

Do ant bites hurt dogs? ›

Whilst adults know to stay away from ants, our curious and playful pets are less aware of their painful bite and they certainly hurt! Pets can get bitten by ants anywhere on their body, especially if the ants crawl up onto your pets coat, however prime targets are their nose or paws as they lead the charge.

What happens if you eat ants? ›

Edible ants are generally safe to eat. However, consuming whole ants increases your risk of parasitic infections. You should avoid consuming poisonous types of ants to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.

Does dog poop cause ants? ›

If you have swarms of ants in your dog run, for instance, they are probably eating the feces, because it is rich in protein. They also eat termites. In fact, ASPC will look for ants in your house. If you see ants in your bathroom, for example, it may not just be because of the moisture and the sugar in your toothpaste.

Do dogs lick ant bites? ›

Swelling and itchiness. You'll notice your dog flicking, scratching, or shaking a paw or leg if he has been bitten by ants. He might also lick or chew on the problematic areas.

What does a ant bite look like? ›

If you receive an ant bite, you will likely have a small, red, pimple-like mark on your skin. The bite could last for a few days before it disappears. For a sting from a fire ant, you might develop a bump on your skin that forms within an hour after the sting.

Can I give my dog Benadryl? ›

Benadryl is a great medication for use in dogs with mild-to-moderate allergies. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, environmental allergies, and allergic reactions to snake and insect bites all respond to Benadryl in most cases.

Do black ants bite? ›

Little black ants do possess a stinger, but it is typically not big enough to do damage. These tiny pests are just that - an annoying pest in your home - but they are not dangerous. On the other hand, carpenter ants can induce a burning feeling with their bites, as they can inject formic acid.

Do dogs grow out of eating everything? ›

Most puppies will outgrow their desire to eat everything. For others, the behavior will lessen but perhaps not go away entirely. However, if we make too big a deal out of it, then it can become a more obsessive behavior that turns into a more serious problem.

How do I stop my dog from eating random things on walks? ›

Here's how to help deter this behaviour.
  1. Make sure your dog is fed before walks.
  2. Choose a less tempting route.
  3. Train your dog with “leave it” and “watch me” cues.
  4. Change up how you walk.
Mar 4, 2022

What if my dog licked ant poison? ›

If there is any chance that your dog may have insecticide poisoning, bring him or her to the veterinarian immediately, as delays in treatment and supportive care may lead to death.

What happens if a dog eats ant killer? ›

Animals that have eaten some ant bait do not usually need treatment because symptoms are usually mild and self-limiting. Your pet may become thirsty and salivate excessively shortly after ingesting the bait (due to the drying action) but as long as fresh water is available these signs will generally pass quickly.

Is Aloe OK for dogs? ›

Aloe Vera is not safe for dogs to ingest, but it is safe to put on their skin. It is important to practice caution when using Aloe Vera. Do not use it internally on your dog or allow your pet to ingest it.

What do ants taste like? ›

They have a poison gland in their abdomen that contracts and releases the acid. Formic acid, I'm told, is bitter. One Internet expert (yeah, let that sink in) says the formic acid in ants makes them taste citrusy, like a lemon.

Can ants survive in your stomach? ›

The environment of the stomach is far too hostile for an ant. Your digestive juices are a complex chemical soup with a ph of 4 or less. Additionally ants are air breathers and would quickly drown in your digestive juices.

Can ants survive inside body? ›

No. It can't survive if at all it enters.

What is the white bug in dog poop? ›

Tapeworm infections are usually diagnosed by finding segments—which appear as small white worms that may look like grains of rice or seeds—on the rear end of your dog, in your dog's feces, or where your dog lives and sleeps.

Are bugs attracted to dog pee? ›

Pests are attracted to cats and dogs because their urine contains ammonia, which draws them to the areas where they have been. Cats and dogs tend to urinate in places they frequent, such as behind bushes or under shrubs. The ammonia from cat and dog urine can also endanger ants.

What does a fire ant look like? ›

Fire ants are red and black in coloration and, like all insects, they are protected by a hard exoskeleton and have six legs. Worker ants have round heads with mandibles, an armored thorax midsection and an abdomen, made up of the pedicle and the gaster. The head is typically copper brown in color.

What is biting me in my bed? ›

Besides bedbugs, numerous insects bite at night. These night biters can be mites, fleas, mosquitoes, lice, spiders, and ticks. Most of these insect bite marks look alike; hence, you should first look for bedbugs and investigate further.

Do ants feel pain? ›

Over 15 years ago, researchers found that insects, and fruit flies in particular, feel something akin to acute pain called “nociception.” When they encounter extreme heat, cold or physically harmful stimuli, they react, much in the same way humans react to pain.

Do ants have brains? ›

Each ant's brain is simple, containing about 250,000 neurones, compared with a human's billions. Yet a colony of ants has a collective brain as large as many mammals'. Some have speculated that a whole colony could have feelings.

What to do if your dog snaps at you? ›

Calmly remove your dog from the situation.

No scolding, no yelling, and no physical punishment. Gently take hold of her collar, lead her to a quiet room away from the action, and leave her there with a bowl of water and a chew toy.

Why do dogs lick their paws? ›

When you think of pets dedicated to self-grooming, dogs might not be the first animals that come to mind. However, dogs regularly lick their legs, paws, and tail to remove debris. This is a normal, healthy behavior and sign your furry friend wants to be clean (even if their antics suggest otherwise during bathtime!).

Can I give my dog melatonin? ›

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), melatonin is a safe supplement to give to your dog. Melatonin has little risk for harmful side effects . The most common side effect is lethargy upon waking the next morning.

Why do ants fight to the death? ›

Summary: Ants are also aggressive toward each other, fighting to the death over their tree territories. The consequences for losing colonies are stark: loss of territory or colony death. After a fight, victorious colonies have to defend their newly gained territory with a workforce heavily depleted by fighting.

Who is stronger red ants or black ants? ›

While the red ant is clearly more destructive to the humans and prey that it is around, black ants are generally more bothersome than harmful to people.

What does a queen black ant look like? ›

The carpenter ant queen is a fertilized, functional female of the colony. She is wingless, about 13 -25 mm long, colour is dependent on species but often range from dark brown, reddish, yellow, or black tones. Similar in appearance to worker ants, the queen's body is divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen, or gaster.

At what age does a dog stop chewing? ›

Much like human infants, puppies go through a stage when they lose their baby teeth and experience pain as their adult teeth come in. This intensified chewing phase usually ends by six months of age.

Do dogs know when to stop eating? ›

The vast majority of dogs, however, will stop eating once they've had enough. They might eat to the point of nausea, or until they throw up, but rarely, if ever, until they die. Dogs, cats, horses, and goats have all been known to eat themselves to death.

Do dogs get bored of what they eat? ›

Some dogs become bored with the smell, flavor, and texture of their food. Change out one ingredient, such as swapping any chicken-based food for fish or lamb. You can also add fresh ingredients to the dog's kibble. Both steps may awaken those sensitive noses and make an old dish more exciting.

How do I teach my dog to leave it? ›

Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.”

Should you muzzle a dog for chewing? ›

It seems obvious, but muzzles are used to prevent dog bites. They are not for preventing problem behaviors by forcing your dog's mouth closed. Do not use a dog muzzle for barking, chewing, or other ongoing behavioral problems.

How do I know if my dog has pica? ›

Signs of pica in dogs can include things such as vomiting and diarrhea, but lethargy, a loss of appetite, and excessive drooling can also indicate a problem. An intestinal blockage is one of the side effects of untreated pica in dogs.

What will make ants go away? ›

Salt, baby powder, lemon juice, chalk, vinegar, bay leaves, cinnamon, or peppermint oil are a few items that you have around your home that will stop ants from coming inside. Lay these out in areas where you see ants, and they'll stop using that area as an entrance into your house.

Is there a natural ant repellent? ›

Both cayenne and black pepper repel ants. Ants hate cayenne pepper. Black pepper will work just as well too. Locate the source of the ant infestation problem, sprinkle some pepper around that area and if possible, create a wall that will stop the ants from accessing your household.

What smell do ants hate? ›

Peppermint

Peppermint is a natural insect repellent that may effectively deter ants and other bugs, such as mosquitoes. To use peppermint essential oil as an ant deterrent, complete the following steps: Mix 10 to 20 drops peppermint essential oil with 2 cups water in a clean plastic spray bottle.

What are tiny ants called? ›

Ghost ants are extremely small, between 1.3 to 1.5 mm long. The top half of ghost ants tend to be dark brown with the bottom half appearing to be an opaque or white/yellow color. The size and coloring of these ants make them very hard to see.

Will killing ants stop them from coming? ›

It makes sense that you want to wipe them out the moment you spot them in your house. However, this might be the beginning of your troubles. Killing ants will, definitely, attract more ants because the dead ants release pheromones that attract or rather alert, nearby ants.

Do dryer sheets repel ants? ›

Dryer sheets, especially scented ones, have gotten a bad rap as of late. But these very same fragrance-laden fabric softeners are an excellent ant deterrent (among many other hack-type uses for dryer sheets, if you need to finish off a pack).

What will ants not cross? ›

Better Than Hopscotch: Ants will not cross a chalk line. Draw a chalk line in front of exterior doors, to prevent ants from coming into the house. You can also draw a chalk line around tables on the porch or patio, to keep pesky ants away while dining outdoors.

Does cinnamon get rid of ants? ›

Cinnamon is often regarded as an effective DIY ant control option. It is believed that cinnamon acts as a natural repellent because ants cannot stand the smell. Also, if an ant inhales cinnamon, it can suffocate and die. Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on an ant's pathway for them to inhale.

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