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How to Safely Get Rid Of Ants When You Have Pets at Home

Updated on: June 7, 2021

An ant infestation is one of the most annoying things you can have in your home. While it’s easy to simply buy or make ant bait and set up a bait station, you’ll have to think twice about your ant trap’s ingredients when you have pets at home. You must be sure to create pet safe ant bait that will protect your pets while getting rid of your ant problem in the process.

So how do you safely get rid of ants when you have pets at home? It’s always best to go for a homemade ant killer with natural ingredients. We highly recommend cornmeal, diatomaceous earth, dish soap spray, boiling water, or baking soda. You can also opt for ant baits such as Terro Ant Bait and Home Plus Ant Bait.


Poisons Found in Some Ant Baits

Before we discuss pet-safe ant baits, we must first understand why some ant baits are poisonous.

Several ant baits and ant killers on the market have toxicity that depends on the active ingredient, the amount that’s ingested, and the type of animal concerned. A lot of these ant baits have sweet attractants such as honey or sugar — attracting ants to eat the poison. However, these attractants can also be attractive to pets, and pets like dogs could ingest all the bait that they can get. Luckily for us, the most commonly used insecticides these days have low toxicity. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful.

Boron compounds are common and can be found in products like AntRid and some Kiwicare products. While these compounds are safe to pets with small ingestions, large amounts can lead to severe gastroenteritis and even kidney injury.

Fipronil, an insecticide that upsets the insect's central nervous system, is another ingredient found in ant killers. The amount of fipronil in most domestic baits is not typically enough to harm your dogs and cats, but rabbits are specifically sensitive to fipronil. All their exposures to such an ingredient must be considered life-threatening.

Ant spray can also contain pyrethroid insecticides (e.g., bifenthrin, permethrin, esfenvalerate, and tetramethrin). Neurotoxicity in dogs and cats can occur if enough pyrethroid insecticide is ingested. Cats, in particular, are essentially sensitive to this ingredient and can get sick even from small exposures.

Be sure to also avoid using borax and boric acid products around your pets. While they may be an effective solution to get rid of sugar ants, they’re not a good idea for a house that has pets. You might find some sources saying that peanut butter would be a good bait, but these peanut butter bait recipes usually involve borax — definitely a no-no when you have pets.

Several other poisons that can be found in domestic ant baits include abamectin, hydramethylnon, indoxacarb, thiamethoxam, and pyriproxyfen.

Ant Killers That Won’t Harm Your Pets

ant infestation

Baiting ants can give you peace of mind when you know that your pets are still safe. With that, getting rid of the crazy ants in your home must be done without strong chemicals if you want to keep your pets safe and secure. Here are some pet friendly ant killer or bait methods you can do at home.


Cornmeal is dried and ground field corn whose texture ranges from fine to medium to coarse. It’s mostly used in Eastern Europe. Apart from being a yummy dish, cornmeal can be a pet safe ant killer. Just remember that while it’s safe for your dogs and cats, guinea pigs and birds shouldn’t eat it — especially if it has cheese.

When it comes to ant control, though, cornmeal is a big help. Once an ant takes a bit of cornmeal, the substance expands in its guts. It makes them bloated, leaving you with — you guessed it — dead ants.

Diatomaceous Earth

If you’re not new to reading about how to make a pet-safe ant killer, you’ve probably heard of diatomaceous earth. It’s known for its ability to kill a lot of insects and easily solve a home’s pest problem. In fact, it doesn’t only deal with an ant invasion. It’s a good bed bug and roach killer too! What’s great about it is it’s a natural ingredient that contains fossilized remains of diatoms, aquatic microorganisms — making it a safe ant killer that won’t harm your pets.

Just take note that this ingredient can only be used for minor infestations. If you’re dealing with a huge ant infestation or a large ant colony of foraging ants, diatomaceous earth may not be your best bet.

But again, if it’s a minor one, this is a great bait trap. Simply sprinkle it where the ants are coming from. You can also soak a sponge in sugar water and put it at the same location. Let it sit for 24 hours. You’ll likely see dead ants after that. Wash them off and repeat.

Dish Soap Spray

This is one of the easiest pet-friendly ant killers you can make. You’ll only be needing dish soap spray and some water. Get a spray bottle and fill it to ¾ of the way. Add 10 to 20 drops of dish soap, shake the spray bottle, and spray away! You now have a liquid ant bait that won’t harm your beloved pets.

Be sure that you don’t add so much dish soap without adding water. It won’t be as effective, and you’ll only be wasting your dish soap. Also, keep in mind that since this is a liquid bait, it can be a little messy too. Remember to also shake the bottle before every use.

Since we’re talking about keeping our pets safe, remember to use natural dish soap as well.

Boiling Water

Prepare approximately 3 gallons of water for this method. Pour water into a pot, crank up the stove, and let the water boil. Once the water boils, pour it into the ant nest.

Since this is just water, it’s obviously not poisonous to you and your pets. But remember that boiling water can be dangerous, so be sure not to splatter yourself or your pets.

When ants get in contact with boiling water, they die immediately. This method can be a good pest control solution because you can also use it on wasps, bees, cockroaches, and the like. Just remember that ants won’t always be near the surface of the ant nest, so do this method when it’s not too cold. Cold weather will lead ants to dig themselves deep into the nest, making them less prone to die from the boiling water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda disrupts ants’ digestive process. As gross as it sounds, their insides will soon be on the outside!

To use baking soda as ant bait, mix some sugar to baking soda to attract ants. This will encourage them to taste the mix and stop ant activity in your home in no time!

Learn more: Homemade Ant Baits


Ant Baits That Won’t Harm Your Pets

Not all ant baits in the store are harmful to your pets. Ant baits like the ones below are actually effective and non-toxic.

Terro Liquid Ant Bait

When it comes to killing pests, Terro is a leading company in the US. It developed several non-toxic solutions for killing ants.

A Terro ant killer has bait stations that are filled with liquid that kills ants. Simply open the lid to expose the liquid and place the bait station where ants are found. Ants will walk over it and get poisoned within one to two days. Terro liquid ant bait products are also known to provide fast-acting elimination of the colony of Argentine ants.

Keep in mind that they won’t die on contact. The ants will eat the bait and disappear gradually. This will lead to complete extermination after a certain period.

What’s great about Terro ant bait is it’s not only cheap and effective, but it’s also safe for both pets and kids.

Home Plus Ant Bait

Home Plus Ant Bait is a small circular mechanism that needs to be positioned close to the ant infestation. For this method, the trap is closed. The ants will enter the trap to eat the baits. What’s great about this bait is it also attracts the queen. Once the queen is poisoned, she returns to the nest and contaminates almost every ant in it.

Home Plus Ant Bait’s ant removal system essentially targets the whole ant colony. The attracted worker ants go inside the ant trap to feed on the baits, head back to the colony, and contaminate the whole nest.

Ways to Prevent Ants From Coming Back

prevent ant infestation

Once you’ve dealt with your ant problem at home, your next problem would likely be preventing them from coming back. Here are some tips to keep those crazy ants out of your home for good.

Keep your home clean

This is a pretty obvious way to keep ants away, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Make sure your home is kept clean and your food items are cleaned up. Clean up your dirty dishes after every meal. Dirty dishes can easily attract ants, and they’re sure to come back if you don’t clean up your dishes right away.

Apart from keeping your dishes clean, you should also sweep and vacuum your floors regularly. Keeping your floor clean eliminates stray food crumbs that can attract ants. Be sure to wipe down common surfaces as well. Ants are not just attracted to food; they also love sweet and sticky substances that come from spills. Wipe down surfaces with cleaning products to ensure that no ants will come back.

Eliminate the ant trail

Identify where the ants came from and eliminate their trail to prevent them from coming back. Ants leave scent trails as a guide for other ants, so when you find one trail, you’ll likely find the others.

Store your food in sealed containers

Store both human food and pet food in air-tight containers. This will restrict ants’ access to food sources, steering them and other pests away.

Be sure that ant baits are placed in active areas

Make sure that the ant baits you make are placed in areas with ant activity. Remember that the baits will be brought back to the colony and can help get rid of the colony itself, so placing them strategically would be a good start.

Seal off entrances in your home

Search for areas in and around your home that might be an entrance for ants. This includes cracks as well. Sealing these entrances can eliminate the obvious entrances for ants. Just remember that these sealants will degrade over time, so keep an eye on them and reapply as needed.

Hire a professional

Making a homemade ant killer is great, but sometimes, it’s best to leave the extermination to the professionals. Their years of practice and reliable knowledge are essential in getting rid of ants in your home. They are also trained to find the root of a pest problem. You could even ask them for help in getting rid of other pests that are disrupting the peace in your home.

Permakill Exterminating’s Reliable Services

Whether you’re dealing with a carpenter ant, a fire ant, or a pharaoh ant, you can never go wrong with choosing Permakill Exterminating for your ant problem.

If you have carpenter ants in your home, Permakill Exterminating will choose from several carpenter ant treatment techniques depending on the results of their inspections. These techniques could be exterior power spraying, liquid application to basement sills, crack and crevice treatment in kitchen and bath, and many others.

Permakill Exterminating specializes in providing scientifically proven treatments to meet your specific requirements when it comes to pest control. They aim to provide the most scientifically advanced pest management services while still keeping safety and professionalism in mind. Plus, prompt, courteous, and on-time service is their ultimate goal.

They also provide rodent control, termite control, and tick control among others.

Contact Permakill Exterminating now to get a quote.


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