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Can Dogs Eat Ants? What Will Happen If My Dog Eats Ants?

can dogs eat ants

Dogs are among the most versatile animals, and no doubt they surprise us regularly with something. Well, if you own a canine, you can understand the same seamlessly. So, likewise, here we are, sharing something like this with you. Yes, we are discussing ants in your dog’s food.

You might be thinking that we are kidding and that for dogs, ants are not a safe option. But in reality, this is possible, and dogs can have ants. So let’s discuss it in more detail!

Are ants safe for dogs?

Indeed! Dogs can eat ants in minimal amounts and rarely. We are not saying you should capture them and then give them to your dog. Instead, we are focusing on the situation when ants make their way to your dog’s food. If this has just happened to you and you are thinking of changing the food bowl, don’t do so. These are beneficial and provide a little Vitamin C and protein to your dog.

Note: Some dogs have the habit of observing their food, and if they notice an ant crawling over it, they skip it. Thus, if this is the case with you, then just mix the food properly so that your dog can’t have a glimpse. Also, you should keep the food bowl in a dish filled with water to prevent ants from entering it. And keep the food jar lid tightly closed at all times.

Reasons behind the dog’s accepting food with ants

Well, if your dog breed is not like those exceptional breeds that analyze their food before eating, you are fortunate. Yes, these (ants) are harmless, and there are reasons for dogs to have them. The possible causes are as follows:

Curiosity is at its best

Like humans, dogs are curious and want to analyze things with close attention. For example, do you ever notice your dog taking a look at moving ants on the floor and sniffing them? Well, this is happening because he wants to sense them and, in some cases, lick them too. All this is happening because they are curious to know more about them.

Your dog knows its nutritional values

Dogs are very intelligent, and no doubt they are aware of nutritional habits linked to the available resources. Although they have not learned it overnight, instead, they inherited it from their ancestors. So yes, when they need the same nutrition or are feeling low on energy, they eat the ants.

Your dog’s prey drive lets him do so

Dogs’ prey drives are commendable, and this lets them do things we can’t even imagine. When they are roaming around the lawn, they probably sense something and want to have it for them. The same is with ants, which they notice there. Hunting and eating is a spontaneous response of the dog’s body, and they do it with a sense of relief. This is also a great source of mental stimulation.

Will there be any difficulty for the dog after consuming ants?

There are negligible chances for dogs to face any difficulty after having ants. However, if your dog is extremely sensitive, he or she will become infected. This can be categorized as:

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions are not very severe in this case. However, they may develop a rash or start scratching themselves. In this case, reach out to a veterinary doctor immediately. If you find out that your dog is allergic to ants, don’t let them have them. If you notice even a single ant in their food bowl, replace it with another bowl.

Gastric issues

Gastric issues may also take place. Most likely, they will probably experience diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. This happened due to excess protein consumption. Thus, we suggest you check their bowl twice before letting them have it. The gastric issues symptoms will not be visible immediately, so pay attention to them for 2-3 days after having the same.

Rare complications dogs face after having ants

Dogs may also notice some rare complications after eating ants. This includes:

Kidney failure

The symptoms are not initially visible. But if your dog is allergic to ants and they have them frequently in their food, soon the symptoms will appear. When a condition reaches an incurable state, the symptoms appear in most cases.


Blindness is a condition in dogs that is rare to notice. However, one cannot ignore it because it is one of the few complications of ant consumption.

What types of ants are safe for dogs?

We all think that all ants are safe for dogs. But don’t take it this way. There are 828 species of ants available, and one cannot easily find out which species is safe and which is not. Thus, be sure to check your dog if they had ants in their last meal.

Can dogs eat red imported fire ants?

 red imported fire ants
Source: CISR UCR

For example, red imported fire ants are among those ants that can cause serious health problems for your dog. These sting them and are also responsible for killing small animals. These ants are defensive in nature, and if your dog tries to sniff or lick them, they will attack to defend. Unfortunately, if you notice any ant bites on their bodies, do reach out to the veterinary doctor immediately.

Can dogs eat pavement ants?

pavement ants
Source: IFAS UF

Pavement ants are among the most dangerous types of ants and are responsible for spreading disease and bacteria. So if you notice live ants in your dog’s food, change it.

(Appearance of pavement ant: these are light brown to black in color with appendages lighter than the rest of the body.)

Can dogs eat odorous house ants?

odorous house ants
Source: UTE

The odorous house ants are harmless, but they are responsible for food contamination. Thus, if you notice your dog’s food getting occupied with these ants, replace it.

(Appearance: these are dark brown to black in color and approximately 1/8 inch long)

Can ants be responsible for killing dogs?

Yes, ants can be responsible for killing dogs. Though these are very small, their bites are very harmful. However, keep in mind that this is a rare occurrence. This is only possible if so many ants bite your dog.

Also, do understand that you should not ignore the changes happening in your pet dog’s body. Sometimes, due to negligence, this condition takes place.

Is there any way to get the ants off my dog?

Fortunately, yes. If your dog has recently brought out some new ant friends at home, consider the following measures to get rid of them:

  • Bathe your dog with antibacterial soap.
  • Use a bristled brush.
  • Use a lint roller.

It is advisable to remove the ants from your dog’s body as soon as possible because the longer they stay in the fur, the more problems they will cause. The issues they can cause include skin irritations specifically.

Is there any way available to remove the ants from my dog’s food?

If you prefer dry food for your dog, keeping it in the sunlight will help you. Keep the container open under the sun for 3–4 hours, and then recheck the food. If ants are still there, repeat the process the next day too.

However, if you want to feed wet dog food, put the food bowl in shallow water and let it be in the same state for a while. After that, sun dry it and keep it in an airtight container.

The takeaway from all this

Ants are a safe option for dogs, and the chances of complications are rare. However, if your dog is very sensitive, then be sure to feed him ant-free food. Always look out for the best dog foods to have no problems. If you find your dog in any situation where they are not responding properly, or you notice some behavioral changes, then approach the veterinary doctor immediately.

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