Pest proofing your pets food

It’s something we don’t think about much and our pets either don’t mind sharing or they just can’t get your attention. Roaches, ants and all sorts of bugs love the tasty treats you leave out for your pets. Mice can live their whole lives just sneaking out and grabbing a ‘Kibbles & bit’ every night while never having to invade your pantry.

Of course there are the times when you see a trail of ants leading up to the dog bowl or a unfortunate earwig who drowned in ‘Fluffy’s’ water bowl. It’s then we just clean it out and put down fresh.(hopefully)

For those of you who have chronic problems or those who just want to take one more step in keeping your home pest free, maybe this will help.

Pest control is made up of one basic strategy with 4 easy steps.

Eliminate food
Eliminate water
Eliminate harborage
Perform any chemical controls

Without basic necessities of food, water and a place to live almost all pests will go into severe stress and begin to die. When we leave food out for or pets we are actually supporting any pest population we may have. Just last week I did a roach job where the owners left turkey bones in a dish for their dog. I barely touched the bone and literally hundreds of roaches began to scurry. I’d like to say they were clean otherwise but they were not. They wanted me to bait for the roaches but I explained that would only be effective if we got rid of the ‘free food’. Given the choice, roaches will go for what you eat (or Fluffy) more times than they will any roach bait.

Ok, so you get the idea but your pets have to eat too. How can you keep the bugs from staying out of the food without spraying the bowl?

You may need to get inventive but let’s start with the obvious.

  • Store all feed or food in plastic containers. They make big ones for large bags or amounts such as 25lbs. of bird seed
  • Keep the pet dishes at least slightly elevated. Bowls and dishes are available at pet supermarkets for this very reason.
  • Clean up all scraps or spills that are on the floor.
  • Try to place the bowls away from foundation walls. It’s very easy for ants to trail in from outside and find the food.
  • Pick up and discard the uneaten food every night before you go to bed

Well as I said, that was obvious but what do you do when you feed your dogs let’s say outside and
you are constantly fighting ants?

You do as much of the above as you can but then go on a ‘search and destroy’ mission in the yard for any ant hills and put granules or spray the mounds. For flying roaches or crawling insects like earwigs you can always sprinkle NibanFG bait just outside the area of the pet dish. Hopefully they’ll find and eat that first and die off.

For chronic problems or persistent bugs never spray the bowls, even at the base. Most are made of hard plastic or stainless steel so the pesticide won’t stick anyway. You could always use a light touch of aerosol ‘spray glue’ and that would keep them from crawling up. If you’re worried about the toxicity of the spray glue you could make a little glue and brush it on for the same effect. (see how to make your own glue)

Some folks have success making a moat to place food bowls in. A shallow cookie sheetroaches in pet food filled with soapy water would do the trick. Place the feed bowl in the middle and the crawling insects won’t be able to cross it. (Unless they saw that episode of MacGyver where the ants made boats out of leaves)

Like I said you may need to think outside the box but this may give you a start. If any of you have another way I’d be happy to hear it. Just comment below what works for you or if you try one of these and it works, I’d like to hear that as well.

Good luck.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • bob

    The moat trick works for a while but then the water gets gross and foul smelling with food spillage and dead slugs. I think an elevated table with neem oil on the legs should control the ants and slugs.

  • Not a bad idea-

  • Bobby

    ive did loads of jobs over the years for biscuit beetles thats been living in the likes of cereal, dog and cat food, ive even had them in the whole grain wheat rodenticide that ive bought and put in customers lofts and months after they call me saying they are getting little brown insects falling into the bath and sure enough they came from my rodenticide that i installed in the loft to kill their mice….. talk about job creation… lol

  • Haha–yep. We also get ants galore on our exterior stations. They love the rat bait.

  • Bobby

    i get a lot of slugs and snails through my outside perimeter baits Jerry but i always put them in a plastic bag to prevent them eating or contaminating the rodenticide…

  • That would work

  • Envy Alakye

    Actually use patroleum jelly and dust it with baby powder. I watch ant keeper videos sometimes. The ants cant cross the baby powder. Do it at the base of your dishes, light coating doesnt have to be thick, and no more ant problem