Things may be quite problematic when instead of attracting ants, your ant bait attracts your dog and next thing you know you’re entering “my dog chewed ant bait” as a query in hopes for directions and hopefully, some reassuring news. If your dog chewed an ant bait, you are obviously worried as thoughts of poisons come to mind . Perhaps, you may assume that what can kill ants, must somehow harm dogs. However, things may not be as bad as thought, considering that some ant baits are not harmful as thought. In this article, we are therefore discussing those ant traps that are in plastic (ant baits).
Phewww.. Minimally Toxic…
If your dog chewed up an ant bait, you can exhale a sigh of relief. Both the ASPCA Animal Poison Control and the Pet Poison Helpline list ant baits as minimally toxic. Most ant baits contain insecticides as active ingredients such as abamectin, chlorpyrifos, indoxacarb, hydramethylnon, hydramethylnon, fipronil and boric acid.
Fortunately, these insecticides have a wide margin of safety considering that their concentrations are very low, like around 0.01-0.05 percent. After all, ant baits aim to kill tiny ants so the fact that dogs are considerably larger is something at a dog’s advantage.
Along with these active ingredients are also some added inert ingredients which are meant to act as a “bait” so to attract the ants to them. These added ingredients generally involve some sort of food attractant such as sugar, peanut butter, bread crumbs. Here you go, now you know why your dog was attracted to the ant bait as well!
Is it therefore safe to say that the toxic ingredients in ant baits are totally harmless to dogs? Not so fast. While they are minimally toxic and it takes ingesting great amounts to cause symptoms, there are always chances for causing symptoms but usually under the form of mild digestive issues consisting of vomiting or diarrhea, but mostly likely from the inert ingredients than the active one.
” Exposures to these types of ant baits usually do not require decontamination or treatment. Most often, if signs are seen at all, they are mild in nature and self-limiting and are usually attributed to the inert ingredients instead of the active ingredient. ~Animal Poison Control Center
But the Plastic is Concerning
While you exhaled a sign of relief, in regards to the toxic component of ant traps, there is a more concerning problem: the plastic container of the ant trap. If your dog ingested parts of this plastic, there may be chances that if the pieces were large enough, they could cause an blockage.
A blockage takes place when something gets lodged somewhere in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract preventing the passage of food (total blockage) or making it difficult (partial blockage). Affected dogs will develop nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and serious complications when left untreated. If you suspect a dog intestinal blockage from your dog ingesting plastic, see your vet as soon as possible.
“The bigger concern with many of these products is an ingestion of the plastic housing which can cause irritation to the stomach or risk for a foreign body obstruction if a large enough piece is ingested.” ~Pet Poison Helpine
Creating a Cocoon
Another concern about a dog eating the plastic of an ant bait station are the sharp edges of the plastic causing damage to the dog’s digestive tract. If your ant bait is therefore missing just a few small pieces, the sharp parts of the plastic may be a concern. Inducing a dog to vomit something like plastic is dangerous as it can damage the tissue of the esophagus as the pieces are brought back up.
Instead, if your dog ingested plastic, you can try to feed your dog some mashed potato or a few slices of bread so that they’ll wrap around the edges of sharp plastic and sort of form a cocoon, suggests veterinarian Dr. Scott Nimmo. Dr. Nimmo also suggests checking the dog’s feces for signs of the plastic. This may sound like a yucky task, but at least provides piece of mind that plastic was successfully expelled. Normally, the traces of plastic should be passed in the dog’s feces within 24 to 48 hours.
If your dog chewed ant bait it’s always wise to monitor your dog for signs of problems such as a painful abdomen, vomiting, straining, loss of appetite and lethargy. Report with your vet promptly if you notice these signs.
- Common Household Hazards Sharon Gwaltney-Brant DVM, PhDm Jill A. Richardson, DVM
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
- Pet Poison Helpline, So You Got a New Pet, Now What?