Are Ants Poisonous to Dogs? {Can Dogs Eat Ants?}

Dogs can be silly and they’ll get into trouble with their curious noses and tongues. What happens if they eat an ant? Are Ants Poisonous to Dogs?

Sniff, slurp and sucking in ants may occur in the process of eating or investigating the outdoors.

Which ants cause problems for dogs? How can you treat your dog if they get bit by an ant? When should you visit the vet if this happens?

In this article, we’ll discuss the topic, “Are Ants Poisonous to Dogs?”

Are Ants Poisonous to Dogs?

Ants are generally not poisonous to dogs. Red ants or fire ants are dangerous because they have a venom that is an alkaloid which can cause allergic reactions in dogs.

Some dogs may end up feeling itchy and excessively licking or chewing their body. Their skin can turn red or an ant bite can lead to much worse reactions such as vomiting or respiratory distress.

If you notice your canine companion feeling stress and discomfort with weakness or possible skin reactions, please visit a veterinarian immediately.

What Will Happen If My Dog Eats Ants?

Your dog will end up eating lots of strange things in life. This includes ants. It will happen from time to time. Ants will find their way into your dog’s bowl. Your dog may not sense it, notice or care.

If the food is delicious or if the dog is hungry enough, they won’t be bothered by a couple of ants crawling around their food. Ants can provide protein and additional vitamin C for your dog.

If your dog doesn’t seem to mind, then you shouldn’t either. The major problem with your dog eating ants is that allergic skin reactions or internal illnesses may occur in rare cases.

You can put a dish underneath the dog bowl with a little water inside it to discourage ants from accessing the bowl at the center of the dish.

Can Ants Cause Problems for Dogs?

Yes. There are certain types of and such as fire ants or red ants that can bite or sting. Many dogs can receive negative or adverse effects such as:

  • Hives
  • Licking affected area
  • Swelling
  • Whining
  • Inability to settle
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Respiratory distress
  • Pale gums
  • Collapse

The symptoms can start with small vocalized whining noises or excessive licking. It can gradually worse to the point where you may witness your dog feeling weak or physically vomiting.

If your dog is reacting poorly after a meal or when you returned from the great outdoors, you may have a victim of an ant bite or another insect that may have come into contact with your canine companion.

It’s time to visit the vet and find out what is wrong and treat it before it gets worse.

What Happens if a Dog Eats Red Ants?

Dogs are curious. They may stick their face in a pile of fire ants and get stung. If your dog is brave enough to eat some red ants there could be a few adverse effects such as:

  • Drooling
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Uncontrolled urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Muscle weakness
  • Walking wobbly

If you notice that your dog has made contact with red ants, monitor the possible effects closely. In most cases nothing will happen.

In some occurrences, dogs may experience some of the negative consequences above. If you notice that at least one or two of these reactions, please visit the vet and find out which treatments are available to ease your dog’s discomfort.

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Can Ants Make Dogs Throw Up?

Dogs can throw up very often. They can pump their own stomach to induce vomiting when they feel uncomfortable or if they regret what they have eaten.

Red ants can give off a nasty or toxic taste after your dog has ingested it. It may have been by accident, but this fire ants can also sting your dog internally.

Your dog may wish to throw up as a result. If the effects continue on, struggling to breathe or wobbly movements, could your your dog is experiencing allergic reactions to the sting of a fire ant. Please seek the help of a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Why Are Ants Attracted Dog Food?

Ants are attracted to plenty of food sources that are out in the open. We tend to leave dog bowls with food remaining inside it for a long period of time. Ants are able to sense the nutrition available in the pet food.

If some water has mixed with the pet food, then it is easier to absorb as liquid nutrition without having to break down solid foods.

Ants are able to locate food sources and leave a scent trail behind for other ants to pick it up. Pretty soon, you will have a lot of ants surrounding your dog’s food bowl.

Are Carpenter Ants Toxic to Dogs?

No. Carpenter ants are not toxic to dogs. They do not transmit any diseases. Carpenter ants are focused on chewing through wood materials. They do not bite unless they feel a threat.

More often than not, your dog will not make contact with carpenter ants who are busy damaging wood. In rare cases, a bite from a carpenter ant can cause pain or irritation for your dog, but it will not be considered toxic or poisonous.

How to Treat an Ant Bite On Dogs

If your dog has been bitten by an ant or another insect, you can give them an antihistamine. Severe reactions would require a visit to the veterinarian.

If you would like to create a soothing paste to treat the ant bite, you can:

  • Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with water.
  • Apply it to the area to relieve the itchiness or soreness.

You can also try a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in equal parts:

  • Apply it by wetting a cotton ball. 
  • Dab the area up to three times each day.

Your dog will not want to lick the vinegar or baking soda. If itchiness continues or the area is swollen, you can use a cold compress to help your dog feel more relief.

If you do seek a veterinarian’s help, they will probably give them a steroid to reduce the pain and swelling or an antibiotic to treat any skin infections that can occur.


If you want to keep ants out of your dog’s food, put a shallow dish of water out and place the dog bowl on top of it. This will create a barrier to keep ants away. If your dog is not eating at the moment, you can also seal the dog bowl or place the food in a container.

When on excursions with your dog, always monitor them when they return home. Check their body and skin.

Observe their overall energy and respiratory function to make sure that they are just tired out and relaxing instead of feeling discomfort from a possible ant bite. Thankfully most ant bites are not poisonous.


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