My Dog Ate an Ant Trap: Are Ant Traps Poisonous to Dogs?

my dog ate an ant trap

Having a few ants in the house isn’t a huge concern to me as I will put down ant traps. That means by bigger concern is about what happens if my dog eats an ant trap. You would think that ant traps from Terro, Combat, and Amdro and poisonous to dogs.

So, what is the truth about ant traps? Are they poisonous and toxic to dogs if eaten? I decided to do the research for you, with the quick answer first.

My dog ate an ant trap, what should I do? Most ant traps are non-toxic to dogs just in case this they do eat them, but always read the label. However, ingredients in the ant trap can make a dog sick, or possibly even cause an obstruction so always call a vet if your dog eats an ant trap.

In many cases you can wait for your dog to pass the ant trap. However, if you suspect an obstruction, this is something that needs to be addressed by a vet right away.

Are ant traps poisonous to dogs?

Whilst I cannot say for certain on the ant trap product you are using, I have never seen a commercially available ant trap in a store that is toxic to dogs. The manufacturers of ant traps deliberately design them to not be poisonous to dogs, to reduce risk to your pet.

What I can with certainty though, is that certain ant traps contain boric acid, and if dogs eat enough of this substance, it can be toxic.

The bottom line is this; most ant traps are not poisonous to dogs, but you should exercise extreme caution and consult a vet if your dog eats one.

are ant traps poisonous to dogs
Ant traps should not be poisonous and toxic to dogs. (Image of ant via https://pixabay.com/photos/ant-insects-nature-macro-697329/)

Possible side effects for dogs eating ant traps

The majority of ant traps are non-toxic and not poisonous to dogs due to the risk of pets ingesting them. The traps do contain a mixture of chemicals including borax, indoxacarb, abamectin, hydramethylnon, and lambda-cyhalothrin, but the quantities are not large enough to sicken a pet.

On average, the toxic chemicals make up about 0.05% of the compound, which should not put your dog in danger.

The bigger concern is related to obstruction if the dog ends up swallowing all or some of the trap. You may notice that a piece or the entire ant trap has been eaten by your dog.

In this case, watch your dog closely for signs of choking or bowel obstruction, which we will examine below. A blockage may require immediate surgery to remove.

Symptoms

If a dog eats an ant trap, they may display the following symptoms due to the chemicals:

  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Visible discomfort

The piece of ant trap should pass through your dog’s digestive tract within a couple of days. You will notice the symptoms for a day or less after consumption, but they should then abate.

Whilst a vet is probaly only needed if you notice that the symptoms last longer than one day, to be absolutely sure, call them for some on the phone advice.

They will likely recommend that you feed your dog certain foods to help him pass the trap from their body.

If you suspect that the trap is causing a bowel obstruction, you will notice additional symptoms. Typically, these include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Straining to pass stools
  • Bloating in the abdomen
  • Bloody stools
  • Vomiting
  • Whining or other signs of anxiety

In this situation, you need to call your vet right away to book an appointment.

Leaving this unresolved for too long could be fatal for your dog. If your dog eats multiple ant traps, you will also need to call the vet right away, as the chance of obstruction is much larger.

What should I do if my dog ate an ant trap?

The first thing that you should do is immediately take the trap away if the dog is still trying to eat it. This will prevent the problem from getting worse.

Then you should remove any additional ant traps that you have around your house to avoid the dog from eating more.

Next, you should read the box or the back of the ant trap. There should be advice telling you what to do. You should also review the ingredients listed and try to see if anything is indicating if it is non-toxic or has elements poisonous to dogs.

If you are unsure about the toxicity or how much the dog has eaten, you should give your vet a call. They will then determine if you need to bring the dog in or not.

If the dog ate a majority of the trap, the vet may want to administer activated charcoal to induce vomiting and rid the toxins from their body.

In non-serious situations, you can help the dog pass the toxins at home. You can give them a small amount of ‘people food’ with lots of fiber to help move everything through their intestines. This includes the following:

  • Small pieces of whole wheat bread
  • Pumpkin (it can make dogs poop)
  • Plain butternut squash
  • Ground spinach
  • Psyllium husk powder

Be careful not to give your dog too much of any of these foods, as you do not want to upset their stomach even further.

How to stop a dog eating ant traps

Most dogs are naturally curious, and they explore the things around them with their nose and mouth. If a dog notices that the ant trap is a new, unfamiliar object, they are going to check it out.

This is why they end up licking or chewing the ant trap in the first place.

Another reason is that the ant trap is laced with some type of odor to attract the ants. Unfortunately, this smell can also appeal to a curious canine.

The best way to stop your dog eating an ant trap is by placing them out of reach. Your dog has access to many areas that you may not think about when you are placing the traps.

For instance, a dog can reach their paw underneath a couch, table, or appliance to access items underneath. Inside, try placing the traps inside cabinets, or on high-up shelves where the dog has no way to get to.

When you place ant traps in the house, keep a list of all the ones that you currently have set up. This way, you can go through the list and check them off when you dispose of them.

This prevents any ant traps from going unnoticed and finding their way into your dog’s mouth.

Many dogs enjoy rifling through trash cans, especially if there is something in there that smells good to them. This is one way that they can get a hold of old ant traps.

Upgrade your trash can to make sure it is dog-proof. Some trash cans have a pedal on the bottom and a locking mechanism on the top, making it impossible for dogs to access the inside. Other cans require significant weight on the foot pedal to open them.

Handy Hint: I have previously written a step-by-step guide explaining how to keep a dog out of your trash cans both inside and outside the home.

Safer alternatives to ant traps

If you are looking for an alternative ant-deterrent, there are many pet-safe options for you. One method is creating your own spray using non-toxic dish soap and water. Add 3 tablespoons of the soap into a spray bottle and add 16 ounces of water. This will clear away any ants that you find in the house.

Store-bought options include sprays with pet-friendly formulas. Many of these sprays include essential oils, which can be used around pets in small, diluted doses. Check the label before you buy it to make sure it is pet-friendly.

Another thing you can try is diatomaceous earth. This is a non-toxic powder that can eliminate many household pests, including ants. You will simply scatter the powder in different areas where you know the ants frequently visit, such as countertops.

As a precaution, wear a mask while applying it to avoid inhaling any directly. This method will take longer to kill the pests, but you can apply it without having to worry that it will harm your dogs.

Conclusion

Springtime is almost upon us, and it will bring increased temperatures and more time spent outdoors. There are many reasons to look forward to spring; however, we also tend to notice more ants during this season.

I frequently see ants in my home in the spring and I used to place traps all over in an attempt to get rid of them.

But with my dog being very curious, I stopped doing it. Whilst I appreciate most ant traps aren’t poisonous to dogs, it’s going to make him ill if he keeps chomping on them.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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