It's a situation dreaded by pet owners everywhere. You come in to feed your pet and find out that critters other than Fido or kitty have been chowing down. Whether food remnants left in the bowl have attracted a few ants, or the food has been attacked by rodents right out of the container, no pet owner wants to find themselves battling other creatures for their dog or cat's feed. So, how can you make sure your pet's food stays pest-free without using harmful chemicals on or around their feeding area?
First, assess the situation, and determine how the pests are gaining access to the food. Keep food in locking, plastic bins instead of in their original bags or packaging. This not only makes it more difficult for critters to get to, but it also cuts down on the scent trail to the food, meaning that most creatures will leave it alone. If pests are getting to your outdoor dog or cat's food, set up several smaller feeding times for your pet, instead of leaving large bowls of food out all day long. If your pet knows it's feeding time, they'll be prepared to eat all at once, and will likely finish the meal and you'll be able to bring the bowl back inside were animals and bugs will leave it alone. If your indoor pet's food is being overtaken in the bowl before they can even finish eating, looking into placing food up on a surface rather than at ground level. For cats, you could place food up on a higher shelf or table. For dogs, it might be worth investing in a raised feeding tray. These can be adjusted to the height of your dog, and will get the food up and out of the easy reach of various pests.
Additionally, cleanliness is key in keeping pests away from your pet's food. Wash food bowls thoroughly, and often, to keep buildup and crumbs away. Sweep up crumbs when your pet is done feeding, and if spills have occurred, use a wet rag to do a quick mop-up of the area. Just one or two small crumbs of food left on the floor can signal insects (especially ants!) that food is nearby and available, and once they get that message back to the colony, they'll be everywhere in no time at all.
Finally, if ants are still finding their way into your pet's bowl, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the outside of the bowl. This is safe for your pet, and the slippery surface means insects can grip the side of the bowl as they try to climb up and over the edge, and therefore they will be unable to reach the food and eventually lose interest.
Of course, the other major factor in keeping pests away is by having a routine pest control treatment set up with a local provider. For residents in and around the greater Polk County area of Central Florida, Country Boy Pest Control is here and ready to help you customize a pest control plan for your home. We offer an on the spot estimate so you know what to expect, and we'll help you figure out where pests are getting in, and how to get them OUT where they belong. Give us a call to get started!