How to Keep Ants and Other Insects out of Pet Food Bowls
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. How do I keep ants out of my pet's food bowls?
A. Especially during the warmer months, ants and other insects can cause problems by getting into pet food bowls and water dishes. Fortunately, there is a way to solve this problem without the use of insecticides.

An ant/insect free bowlThere are commercial dishes available which basically have a moat between the outside dish and the inside dish, which contains the drinking water and food. The moat is filled with water and a few drops of dishwashing soap. The insects are unable to cross the soapy water.

For small pets, who you may be concerned about drinking the soapy water, or for whom the commercial dishes may be too big, you can make your own. Get a plastic container with a cover (e.g., an empty whipped topping container). Select a heavy food dish, which your pet will not be able to push around with her nose. Cut a hole in the cover of the plastic container large enough for the food dish to easily go thru with about 1" clearance around it. Partially fill the plastic container with soapy water. Set the food dish inside the water-filled plastic container. If the dish is too low in the plastic container, place the dish on a heavy base (e.g., a smaller covered plastic container filled with sand). The level of the water in the larger plastic container should be low enough that the pet will not be able to reach it with her tongue.

The insects will not be able to go across the 1" clearance, or move across the soapy water. Your pet will not be able to drink the soapy water in the bottom of the larger plastic container because of the cover on the top.

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