Dogs can have some strange dietary habits at times, but, what seems odd to you if often perfectly normal for the dog.
Eating insects is one such behaviour and most dogs will, at least at some point in their lives, try insects as a snack.
Dogs eat ants simply because they present an opportunity for an easy meal. As an instinctive predator a dog will often make the most of a chance to eat and ants, as well as other insects, offer easy pickings which provide high levels of nutrition for their size. Dogs have an omnivorous diet and insects can be considered a benefit to this type of dietary requirement.
It’s not unusual for dogs to show interest in ants.
You may notice them sniffing around ant hills or even digging into the hill to try and catch an ant or two.
The reasons behind this behaviour are rooted deep in their ancestry as domestic dogs evolved from wolves where hunting insects was common place.
Insects were seen as easy prey for early dogs when hunting.
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Can my dog eat ants safely?
Insects are not necessarily bad for your pet to eat, however it is important to consider the benefits of eating insects for dogs.
Insects contain high levels of protein and most species of insect are easy to catch which means they offer a high reward for the amount of effort required.
In general it is fine to let your dog eat some ants, but there are a few reasons that you may not want your dogs eating insects:
Some dogs can develop allergies or dietary intolerances to certain types of insects.
Dogs who have been stung by bees and wasps may suffer from anaphylactic shock which can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Some species of ants may also be toxic to your dog and this can result in death for the unfortunate animal.
Can my dog eat fire ants?
As mentioned above, some species of ant are toxic to canines and unfortunately fire ants fall into this category.
Fire ants will attack any creature they think is threatening their nest and can cause severe damage to dogs who eat them.
As with most things the best advice is not to let your dog eat ants. However, if your hound does catch an ant or two it shouldn’t be a problem for them as long they are not fire ants.
If you are concerned about allergies or dietary problems then it is best to consult your vet.
Is it safe for my dog to eat his food if it has ants on it?
Having ants near your dog’s food isn’t usually a problem for them to eat, however the same rules apply as if he or she was catching them themselves.
Some dogs are allergic to insect bites while others will suffer from digestive problems if they are given large quantities of ants.
In most cases it is fine for your dog to eat small levels of insects that may be on their food.
If you frequently see ants on your dog’s food then it might be a good idea to move his food to a different location and to take steps to deal with any ant infestations.
What to do if your dog eats ants?
If your dog does manage to get hold of some ants and eat them there is no reason to worry too much.
Ants are generally quite easy for dogs to digest and they aren’t poisonous enough that a few bites will cause any major problems.
If you want to take some precautions then it might be wise just in case:
Make sure your dog doesn’t eat more ants.
If they are fire ants or another toxic species of ant then it could be very dangerous for them to eat too many.
Give your dog something else to eat after he has eaten the ants.
Having a treat afterwards will occupy him and mean that he won’t feel tempted to get into any other ant hills or nests.
If your dog shows any signs of poisoning you should always contact a vet immediately.
If the ants are fire ants then this could be very serious for your dog and it is best to seek advice or treatment as soon as possible (even if he seems fine).
If your dog has suffered previous allergic reactions to stings from insects then you should contact your vet immediately for advice – this is very important if your dog has experienced any form of anaphylaxis in the past as, if this is not treated quickly it can be fatal.
Dogs eat ants because they are an easy to catch source of food that provides high levels of protein and nutrients.
In most cases ant eating won’t harm your dog but there is always the risk of allergic reaction or a type of ant that could cause problems for your pet.
As is the case with many things, prevention is often better than cure, and you should try to keep your dog away from sources of ants to remove any risk.
Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API