If you’ve made your way here, I’m going to assume it’s because you’ve already had ants swarming all over your pet cat or dog’s food bowl at least once before. If this has happened to you once or twice, you have massive sympathies from me, I know from experience how frustrating a problem it can be.
Had to deal with this issue plenty more than a couple or even a handful of times? I’m ever so sorry for all the stress you’ve probably had over it. Hopefully you’ll find something in this article that will help you out in the ant resistant pet bowl department.
In my case, moving the location of my cats’ feeder from downstairs to upstairs has really helped prevent ants from finding and swarming all over it. I feed purely kibble, and when my then only cat used to leave a few pieces here or there for himself to snack on later, I once or twice found ants forming a line from outside into the bathroom to take back pieces of kibble. No good, and very frustrating. Whenever this would happen, I’d kill each and every ant I found, crushing it to smithereens with a tissue, and rubbing out the pheromone line the ants left behind so the other ants following couldn’t find the food. Then I’d carefully put all the dead bodies into the garbage can, to make sure I wasn’t feeding the ants with (gross but true) dead ant bodies (yup, they’re cannibals).
If you have ants, absolutely always kill them, even if you find one or two stragglers. If those ants find anything, they’re real good at telling the whole team where the resources are, so you could be saving yourself one heck of a lot of trouble by killing the one or two you see today.
Then there’s prevention – because if you can somehow manage to keep ants from getting in the house in the first place, you shouldn’t have trouble with ants in your cat’s food bowl if it remains inside. In my case, the one thing that helped the most in preventing ants from getting into the house was lining the entire foot of the house where ants typically gained entry, including in front of the back door, with borax powder. It’s basically uncross-able to them, and if they step on it, they die pretty quickly.
Food grade diatomaceous earth works wonderfully as well, though to me, it’s much better as an indoor deterrent than an outdoor prevention measure. Diatomaceous earth is pet safe, especially the food grade kind, and if cats or dogs ingest little bits of it, it’s potentially got health care benefits for them. The stuff will kill all ants and insects that walk over it, but very slowly, so don’t expect to see an ant die if it merely walks over diatomaceous earth the first time. The reason I feel it’s better inside than it is outside is that wind and rain wash and blow away diatomaceous earth quite easily. Somehow the borax powder sticks onto our concrete house, and lives through rain and wind for months, while diatomaceous earth needs to be reapplied if I use it outside pretty darn regularly (maybe twice a week).
You can use a combination of both solutions, or if you’re in an apartment, stick to the diatomaceous earth inside, it all goes a long way in helping in my opinion.
When it comes to outside my home, or in apartments where you don’t seem to be able to stop ants from becoming a recurring problem, that’s where these types of bowls can become a real life saver, in my perspective. In my neighbourhood, ants are rampant, and pretty well near prevent me from feeding feral/street cats in my neighbourhood though I’d like to. I can’t simply leave food out in a bowl for them. I do have some food out for pet cats who trust us, having it on an elevated platform that I keep clean, but the feral cats won’t trust that space enough to risk coming close and eating form it, so I may give one of these bowls a try for them.
Okay, now for the sort of bad news – a lot of the products marketed as “ant proof” dog and cat bowls simply aren’t. There seem to be a few different very good option, but these look to be the cream of the crop and the exception to the rule, because most “ant resistant” pet bowls don’t seem seem to deter ants enough to keep food bowls ant free. As you likely already know if you’re here, when it comes to ants, there’s not much difference between a little success and no success at all, because once one or two of those stubborn little insects find the mother load – your cat or dog’s supper – you’re absolutely going to have a swarm of them to deal with all over your pet’s food in no time. So I’ve done my best to weed through reviews to make sure what I recommend actually seem to be working for at least a few people, and have ignored ones with reviews that say they aren’t functional at preventing ants.
As a heads up, if you have a preferred food bowl for your cat or dog already – say, because you prefer the material, one made out of ceramic or one made out of stainless steel – yet you’d like to try one of the ant proof pet bowls listed here that’s just not cutting it for you in terms of the bowl itself, a lot of pet parents seem to be simply placing their favourite pet bowl on top of the ant-proof dog bowl they’re grabbing, which I think is ridiculously clever yet so straightforward and simple as a solution.
Now for the recommendations – and do let me know in the comments if you give any of these a go and whether they were good enough at resisting ant swarms and keeping your pet’s food ant free.
Picture from post Feeding the Neighbourhood Cats I: Martha
Ant Free Cat & Dog Bowls: Ant Free Pet Food & Water Dishes
This is probably the most highly reviewed ant proof pet food and water bowl. Everyone who uses it indoors seems to have no problems at all with it. Some reviews have been saying it’s not suitable for outdoor use, though that seems to depend on the size of the ant. Large ants don’t seem to be deterred well enough by this dish. While you’re just supposed to put water into the moat, pet parents have had better success with diatomaceous earth or dish soap & water mixes. Give those alternatives a shot if you’ve got this particular one or something similar and it’s nearly doing the trick for you.
If you’re looking for an ant resistant pet bowl that can easily be picked up and put down, and as a result, doesn’t use water to create a moat around the food to defend it from ant invasion, this is probably your best option. The issue? It is absolutely not ant proof and completely ant free, and seems to work best only if/when the bowl is regularly emptied/free of food. This may be ideal if you’re planning on using it indoors, if you’re planning on giving your pet meals in it, or if you’re feeding feral cats who will polish off food between meals, but otherwise, it’s probably not the most ideal solution.
Really would prefer to use your current pet bowl, but absolutely want the best possible solution to preventing ants from getting to your cat or dog’s food? I think the Anstser is the answer. It’s in my opinion the best solution out there for ant proof cat and dog bowls – without even being one.
How does it work? One reviewer described it perfectly: “You put any type of liquid soap in it (I use Dawn foam pump) and fill the inside and around the outside ridges with water (cold or hot, doesn’t matter). Then you put the lid on it, which is a pain to get on sometimes cause you can’t see where the ridges go, but it’s fine, because this works!”
A lot of pet parents seem to be having crazy success with this thing, and considering you can put your own bowl on top of it, I think it’s hard to beat if it stops ants as well as that.
Yet another product that seems to work really well with small ants, and not so well with keeping away larger ones. While it is an option, I would personally pass it up for the Antser instead, but if you’re looking for something lightweight in the ant-prevention tray department, it may be worth a go.
This plastic ant resistant dog and cat bowl is pretty good. Apparently, most of the time, it works like a charm, but every so often, if your cat drops a piece of food into the narrow moat, ants will use the food as a bridge to get to the rest of your pet’s food. Have a pet who’s pretty darn neat and tidy when it comes to mealtime? This may be the perfect fix for you. Have a pet who’s a sloppy eater – almost certainly a hard pass, at least if it’s used by itself. Your pet somewhere in between a neat and messy eater? This likely will work out for you most of the time, though you may want to either combine it with another bowl – like this reviewer did with the Durapet stainless steel bowl – or with an ant-proof barrier tray like the Antser.
I’m a bit skeptical about this product because it hasn’t got the most reviews out there. It seems like it has a good shot at working, though some were saying it’s quite small, while at least one reviewer mentioned ants sadly still got in. Could potentially work, though I’d personally take the risk on something that’s been bought and reviewed by a lot more pet parents.
Another product that’s not a bowl but an ant free tray. Also doesn’t use water to create a moat – instead uses insect blocking gel, keeping things tidier, less messy, and making it easier to move the tray if you ever need to. While you do need to re-apply the insect blocking gel, apparently a little goes a long way and it lasts quite a long time. A lot of pet parents who free feed and always keep the food bowl topped up for their dogs and cats seem to love this tray. Seriously a good product based on the reviews, a lot of which showcase in pictures completely ant free pet feeding stations.
Likely the option I would go with if I still had ants around. So many positive reviews – and I actually haven’t seen many negative reviews of this product from those looking to deter ants from getting into pet food. It seems to do okay for roaches, but not as well as it does with ants. Makes sense, but keep that in mind if you’ve got both.
In case you can’t tell from the product picture, it’s basically a stainless steel pet bowl that comes on a pretty darn sturdy dish. Raised pet bowls are really good as they’re more often than not more comfortable for pets to eat out of. You’ll likely end up with less mess, more comfort, maybe even slower eating, and less likeliness of regurgitation if you’re feeding with an elevated feeder, so these things do two really important jobs (the ant prevention being the primary), in one.
This product is a little different insofar as it’s a food and water bowl – so a food and water station for pets both large and small. It uses the water for your pet as a moat, and you place a bottle upside down into it to get it to fill, so if you’ve got a pet cat or dog who’s a bit of a mess-maker, it’s not ideal. There are issues with it as a design; one reviewer took a moment to outline those here, so be forewarned.
Your Thoughts on Ant Proof Cat & Dog Bowls?
Have you ever had to deal with ants obsessing over your cat or dog’s food and/or water bowls? Did you ever solve the problem completely? What did you do to fix things if your idea worked out?
Ever tried an ant free pet bowl yourself? Would you recommend the one you got or advise against buying it? What types of uses do you think these would be ideal for versus other solutions?
Have any other tips with regards to keeping food bowls for pets ant free?
Any and all advice you have, please leave in the comments down below!