Can Dogs Eat Ants? 13 Things You may Not Know

A home can look immaculate on the outside, but the owner may still be careless about what they put in it, especially if it’s pet food.

The pet food bowl that has a few morsels in it at all times is a fixture in American homes.

Some members of most ant colonies are specifically trained to go out and find food. Most of the time, it’s something you already have at home: dog food. Ants are big fans of canine fare.

A hungry ant scout will report back to the colony that it has discovered a huge supply of food, and the others will soon follow.

In no time at all, a procession of ants will make the journey to your dog’s dish on a regular basis to partake in Fido’s meal.

Dogs sometimes eat ants that have accidentally made their way into their food. What, exactly, will happen if a dog consumes an ant colony?

Can Dogs Eat Ants?

If you didn’t see your dog eat the ants, you probably wouldn’t know he did it. In most situations, ants pose no danger to humans or pets; in fact, their high protein, vitamin, and mineral content make them excellent “vitamins” for dogs!

Ants in dog food are a common problem. To add more protein to dog food, you can mix in some ground ants. For the time being, consider this.

Ants are just one of many types of insects that humans eat. You won’t usually get sick from eating them, and they’re a great source of protein.

Can Dogs Eat Ants? Everything You Need to Know - Vetshows.

Is It Normal For A Dog To Eat Ants?

Obviously, you know that dogs can and do eat a wide variety of foods. One of the most common and (thank goodness) harmless choices is the ant. If your dog is snacking on ants, it could be for one of three reasons:

  • Instinct to hunt
  • He is aware of their health benefits.
  • He needs answers badly.

His Prey Drive

He might see a line or group of ants while he’s out there enjoying the fresh air and sniffing the grass. Even though he already has a perfectly balanced diet at home, he will still go out and hunt and eat them to satisfy his biological urge to hut and eat. This will serve to greatly stimulate his mind.

He Understands That They’re Nutritious

As a result of their evolutionary history, dogs may know that ants are a healthy and tasty snack when they’re hungry or feeling run down.

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He’s Curious

You had to know that this would happen. Your dog will be fascinated by the strange movements of ants. Which is why they lick them after giving them a good sniff. That doesn’t mean they definitely do!

Is It Bad Or  For My Dog To Eat Ants?

Any animal, from dogs and bears to birds and humans, can benefit greatly from eating ants due to their high protein and vitamin content.

It would appear that ants are a favorite food of many animals, particularly bears and birds.

A black bear is one large animal that enjoys snacking on ants. Research published in the Journal of Mammalogy at Oxford University suggests that the dietary needs of certain bear species are not dissimilar to those of dogs.

Bears eat ants, but they prefer to eat them when they are still in the larval or pupal stage.

Larvae and pupae, also referred to as “ant eggs,” are essentially dense clumps of fat and protein. When a bear licks its long tongue, it sticks.

They do this by rolling over rocks and sticking out their tongues to catch swarms of ant eggs.

Is Ant In Dog Food Safe To Eat - Expert Opinion

Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Food With Ants On It?

Don’t freak out if you feed your dog and discover ants in the food. It’s not uncommon to spot at least one or two of these creepy critters as you go about your day. As we discussed, these are completely safe to use.

However, if you see a large number of ants or ants that look dangerous (red ants or fire ants, for example), you may want to wait to feed your dog. A colony of ants may have set up shop close to where you feed your dog, infesting the food. You should probably get some new dog food and toss the old.

Fire and red ants are signs that the food should be discarded. Problems caused by red ants will be discussed further on.

Why Does My Dog Eat Ants?

To put it plainly, when ants are in or near a dog’s food, the dog eats them. Even if a dog does notice that there are ants in his food, he is still likely to eat them. The vast majority of ant infestations are completely safe, and may even be beneficial to your dog by adding some additional protein and Vitamin C to his diet.

Pets Foods Made From Insects

Not only can most dogs safely consume ant food, but new insect-protein dog food brands are one of the fastest growing segments of the pet food market.

The taste of dog foods made from insects has been studied extensively, and the results have been surprisingly positive.

Dog food made from insects, for instance, has been shown to have a “highly digestible” amino acid profile and a positive impact on digestive health in a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. Proteins can’t exist without amino acids.

According to the research, insect protein “compares favorably” to that of meats like beef and chicken. It’s preferable in some situations.

While ants were not used in this study, a wide range of other insects, such as housefly pupae, crickets, six-spot roaches, death’s head roaches, black soldier fly larvae, and morio worm larvae, were.

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What Happens If A Dog Eats Ants?

Probably nothing at all. But in extremely unusual cases, people may have an adverse reaction after consuming the ants. The most typical cases are:

  • Something like an allergy
  • Problems digesting

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An Allergic Reaction

This would typically manifest as a skin rash, the severity of which would depend on the dog’s allergy. Keep your dog from eating ants if he has an allergy to them.

Stomach Issues

Certain canine stomachs may be more prone to irritation than others. He may experience stomach distress from the excessive protein in his diet if he eats even a moderate amount of ants (with “moderate” being the operative word here). But he’d have to eat quite a few of them!

Dogs only eat ants in two extremely unusual situations. Again, these would be extremely uncommon, and the ants would have to be consumed in such large quantities—like an entire bucketful—that it would be impossible to do so in one sitting.

  • Ailment of the kidneys
  • Blindness

Ants as the cause of these is difficult to trace because of how uncommon they are.

According to the majority of authorities, it’s probably not the actual ants themselves, but rather the powdered form of ants found in foods like protein powders. If you’re concerned, your vet is the best person to ask.

Ants Are Highly Nutritious

But other studies have also looked at the nutritional profile of ants, and they have been found to be among the best sources of insect protein and other nutrients. For instance, the crude protein content of the Western harvester ant was found to be a very respectable 66.3% in a laboratory study.

The dog-friendly ant also did well on a test of 10 essential amino acids. All of the amino acids arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine are examples.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization commissioned this study.

However, you might have to wait a while before you can buy a can of dog food made from processed ant protein.

For the time being, the pet food industry is focusing on pet foods made from crickets, which are simpler to raise in artificial or farm-type settings.

Dog treats made from cricket meal are already widely available, and several major pet food manufacturers are in a race to be the first to offer dog and cat food with cricket meal as a major ingredient.

Can Ants Kill A Dog?

In terms of lethality, ant bites and stings are much more lethal to dogs than they are to humans. Their diminutive stature is to blame for this. Nonetheless, such an occurrence would be extremely unusual.

However, if he gets bitten and stung by a lot of ants as he investigates their nest, his face and mouth/throat could swell up to the point where he has trouble breathing. You should get him to the vet immediately if you see any signs of swelling or excessive panting.

What To Do If My Dog Ate Fire Ants?

As mentioned above, if you discover red or fire ants in your dog’s food, you should immediately begin looking for signs of stinging or biting.

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If your dog makes an attempt to eat one of these red ants, it will be met with fierce resistance from the ants themselves. Unless provoked, classic black ants rarely bite.

In the event that you discover ant bites on your dog, it is important to have him checked out by a vet immediately.

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How To Get Ants Off My Dog

If your dog has accidentally brought some ant hitchhikers into the house, you can get rid of them with one or more of the following:

  • Fabric steamer or lint roller
  • Something with bristles, like a brush.
  • Doggy bath time

Any ants on your dog should be removed as soon as possible, as they may bite or cause skin irritation if left there for too long.

How To Get Ants Out Of My Dog Food Container

There’s nothing worse than discovering a colony of ants in your dog’s bowl or other food storage space. Even when you take precautions, accidents can still occur.

If this occurs in a dog’s food bowl, after you’ve removed as many as possible, you can place the bowl in a shallow dish of water (or dispose of the food, if you prefer). This will act as a moat, preventing the ants from reaching the dog’s food.

You should either get rid of the ants or, depending on how you feel about it, toss the dog food if they have taken over the food container. To prevent ants and other pests from getting into your fresh food supply, store it in an airtight container. It has the added benefit of prolonging its shelf life.

While it’s generally safe for your dog to eat ants, you shouldn’t let him clean out the colony. Follow these guidelines and you’ll see improvement.

Food Of The Future

Two billion people, or more, consume insects on a regular basis, according to the United Nations. Around 1,900 insect species have been verified as safe for human consumption.

As the world’s population continues to soar and arable land becomes more scarce, UN officials believe that insect-based proteins will play a crucial role in meeting the world’s growing food needs.

This also suggests that the market for insect-protein foods among nonhuman species, such as the animals we love and rely on, may grow in importance.

With billions of ants already populating the planet, they could easily replace meat in our pets’ diets.

It’s probably more practical to welcome ants and other insects as a sustainable, inexpensive, and healthy source of food for our pets than to fret over them eating a few here and there.

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To Wrap It All Up

Ants provide protein and other nutrients, which is why dogs eat them. While most ants pose no threat, large swarms or red ants can spread disease.

Do you know anyone with a dog who enjoys a good ant meal? Give them a heads up and let them know what to look for by sharing this with them.

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