Pet Food & Pests: How to Avoid Unwelcome Guests at Fido’s Food Dish

Pets bring loving companionship, health benefits, and extra fun to our lives. These four-legged friends are not only adorable playmates, they’re simply part of the family.

It makes it all the more worrisome, then, when pouring a bowl of breakfast for Fido brings with it a side of ants. If your pet’s food has become pest food, too, know that it doesn’t have to stay that way.

cat with cat foodWHY DO I HAVE BUGS IN MY PET’S FOOD?

Insects, rodents, and other invaders aren’t very discriminating when it comes to their next meal. The same creatures that forage into your trash cans for a bite also appreciate the convenience of a standalone bag of food. Pet food is frequently stored hastily in its original packaging—and often outside or in the garage—giving pests easier access than most other meal sources we have lying around.

Your pet’s dinnertime, unlike ours, is also less likely to have a cleanup crew involved. Unless you’ve trained your cat to pick up a broom, crumbs and chewed pieces get left behind with every meal and aren’t attended to as swiftly as, say, the dropped vegetables your 6-year-old swears she’s eaten. A “free-feeding” schedule for our pet means that not only are crumbs scattered around the area, but whole meals are left at ground-level all day for pests to feast upon.

HOW DO I GET RID OF PESTS IN MY PET’S FOOD?

Beetles, ants, mice, and cockroaches can be determined creatures when looking for food, water, shelter, and safety, so it’s up to you as a pet owner to be even more determined when taking action to banish pests.

cat food in bagsPROPERLY STORE YOUR PET’S FOOD

While it’s convenient to scoop food straight out of the paper or cardboard container, the flimsy packaging works against you when it comes to pest control. Rodents and other creatures capable of chewing through barriers can easily dig in, but thin packaging that is prone to holes also invites a slew of other bugs in to dine on pet food.

Inspect newly purchased pet food for any existing holes, and then immediately transfer it to an airtight container for storage to keep pests out. If you have the room, bulk pet food can also be stored in the freezer and then transferred to containers with tight-fitting lids before it’s time for your Fluffy’s next scoop of food.

dog with dog foodCONSIDER YOUR FEEDING SCHEDULE

Not unlike us, your pet likely has preferences when it comes to eating. Many pets prefer to graze throughout the day, while some pets want to eat larger meals at designated times. It might not seem obvious at first, but pet food left at floor-level all day is the same to pests as leaving a plate of our own food on the ground: both tempt pests equally out of their hiding spots to grab a bite to eat.

Utilize a veterinarian-suggested feeding schedule for the species, age, weight, and breed of your pet, and consider giving your furry friend only as much food as they can finish in one feeding to eliminate the temptation for other unwanted creatures ready to munch on their kibble between meals.

dog food bowlKEEP IT CLEAN

Most of our pets have a corner of the kitchen reserved for their food and water dishes. Those dishes most likely stay there until washed, often for days or even weeks at a time, with crumbs and debris accumulating in the area with every bite your pet takes.

Experts at the Center for Veterinary Medicine recommend washing food and water dishes at least every other day, if not daily. After tossing pet dishes in the dishwasher, grab the broom and vacuum to pick up all the pest-inviting crumbs that scatter around and below their mealtime area. The cleaner your pet’s dining area is kept, the less likely pests will be to stick around for leftovers.

person giving a dog foodMOVE THEIR MEALS

Pests live and eat primarily at ground level, which also happens to be where our beloved pets are, too. Pests are more likely to search low but less likely to search high for their next meal. Pet food placed even half a foot or higher off the floor, whether on a stand or in a raised dish, will deter most pests from climbing up for food.

While looking for a new spot for your pet’s dishes, consider an area away from walls, windows, and corners. While conveniently out of the way for you, your pet’s food might be the first thing pests see after crawling through a small crack in the wall looking for food, water, and safety.

BRING IN SUPPORT

Many pests can be controlled through traps, baits, and deterrents, but not all products are recommended for use in sensitive areas or around pets. Our trained experts know exactly how to treat your home with pet-friendly services. Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to not only keep your pet free of unwanted pests, but also keep your home and family—pets and all—protected and secure.

SOURCES

https://blog.homesalive.ca/bugs-in-your-dog-food
https://news.vet.tufts.edu/2017/03/using-pet-safe-pest-control/
https://www.tuftscatnip.com/everydaycatcare/using-pet-safe-pest-control/
http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/pantrypestscard.html
https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/insect-pests-of-home-stored-foods-5-501/
http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/pantrypestscard.html
https://simplyfordogs.com/dogs-dinner/7-tips-keeping-pests-dogs-dinner/
https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/how-often-should-you-clean-your-pets-food-bowls-041917.html