One Simple Hack Will Keep Ants From Invading Your Pet's Food Bowl

If you leave pet food out continuously so your dogs and cats can eat whenever they want, you could draw ants and other pests to the area. There are several techniques to put a stop to the marching line of ants toward your pet's dining spot. But one of the simplest and most effective is to ring the exterior of the bowl with petroleum jelly.

Ants don't like to cross areas with gooey or sticky substances on them. Even if the petroleum jelly is a thin layer, it can seem like a thick barrier to a tiny insect like an ant, and the pest will avoid it. Make sure you've removed any other sources of food nearby as well. The ants may initially be drawn toward your pet's kibble, but if they find something else they like after the petroleum jelly thwarts them, they might keep coming back to the area.

How to use petroleum jelly to deter ants

One of the best things about this hack is that it takes very little time to set up and perform. Take the bowl of dog or cat food and use your fingers to smear some petroleum jelly around the side of the bowl. Make a ring around the entire circumference, leaving no gaps where the ants could find a way to reach the food inside. Keep it toward the bottom of the metal or plastic bowl so the pet does not ingest it while eating food, especially if your pet is a messy eater.

While the ants still may come near the food, the petroleum jelly will keep them from climbing up the sides and reaching the food inside. However, if your pet throws chunks of food outside the bowl while eating, this hack will not work unless you clean them up regularly. The ants will just as happily eat the stray pieces, rather than trying to climb into the bowl. 

If you do not have petroleum jelly on hand, but you do have beeswax, you could use it as a substitution. Although they aren't the same substance, they have similar consistencies. As mentioned earlier, ants will not cross sticky substances, and beeswax can be used to create a barrier as well.

Stay safe while keeping ants away from your pet's food

One of the best things about using petroleum jelly to protect your pet's food bowl is that it will deter the ants naturally, without using poison. You don't want to risk exposing your dog or cat to a toxic substance so close to their food if you don't have to.

Having said that, one potentially poor outcome of using petroleum jelly on your pet's bowl is that the dog or cat may ingest it. It is not toxic for dogs or cats, but it can make them sick if they eat too much of it or lick it off the bowl every time you apply it. Petroleum jelly has no toxicity for humans, either, so it's safe for you to apply it with your fingers.

Unless the dog or cat is routinely licking the petroleum jelly off the bowl, you should not need to reapply it more than once a week. Because it's a sticky substance, it can attract dirt. So, you'll probably have to wash the bowl more often and then reapply the substance after washing. Cleaning your pet bowls regularly also can make the area less enticing to these insects, meaning you may not need to keep repeating the petroleum jelly application after a while.