Small but terrible. Tiny yet territorial. Cute yet colonizer — these common perspectives refer to ants — one of the household insects we expect to crawl and surprise us with a sensational bite.
We see ants in a colony united to scout for survival. But, like humans, ants serve with purpose. They persevere to balance the underground ecosystem with other animals and aerate soils to allow water and oxygen to reach plant roots.
Some animals take part in consuming ants. However, can dogs be counted in the eating community? Can dogs eat ants?
Maybe your answer could be “yes” or “no.” That’s why, in this article, we aspire to guide you on understanding ants, their benefits, and ways to prepare them safely for your dogs.
What are Ants?
Ants are eusocial insects related to wasps and bees, belonging to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 million and 60 million years ago.
Many of today’s ants have adapted to agricultural ecosystems, where they participate in the form of mutualism known as “ant farming.”
Some species, such as the red harvester ant and Florida carpenter ant, are pests that can cause substantial damage to buildings.
Moreover, ants can have a mutualistic relationship with plants, which can be seen in the feeding of aphids by red ants.
They vary in size and flavor depending on their diet. For example, worker ants from one species may have a mild flavor while another ant may have an intense taste or smell.
Food family of Ants
Ants belong to the family food of Hymenoptera, a large order of insects commonly formed by wasps, bees, and ants. This family has two subfamilies — Forminicae and Apidae.
The most well-known food families are probably the Apidae (bumblebees and honey bees), beetles in the Scarabaeoidea superfamily, and ants of the Formicidae family.
There are around 20,000 species of ant worldwide, with the majority found in tropical regions where they thrive in warm conditions that allow for a steady food supply.
Ants are generally considered to be a good source of protein for animals. Ant eggs and larvae also contain high-quality proteins, but they may contain toxic substances like alkaloids which can cause paralysis if consumed by humans.
With that being said, can we deduce that dogs can eat ants?
Can dogs eat Ants?
Of course, dogs can eat ants. The egg and larvae of ants are rich sources of proteins, but they can also contain the alkaloids that cause paralysis in humans.
Ants have been beneficial in improving livestock health, such as cows and pigs since their presence increases milk production and the meat quality of the animals.
Ants are a good source of protein for dogs, so it’s safe to assume that they can eat ants as well. Dog owners have been using ant eggs and larvae as dog treats due to their high nutritional value.
However, you should note not to feed your pet too many ants because they can contain toxins that may harm them.
To make it more manageable and safer, here are some best ways to feed your dogs with ants:
Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Ants
Buy cultured ants at a pet store.
Pet stores are offering cultured ants for your dogs and cats. So, why not buy them? They are ants kept in an enclosed container so they can’t escape.
They come with different flavors and sizes to choose from, ensuring that you will find the perfect match for your dog’s preferences.
Buy ant eggs at a pet store.
You don’t have to buy actual ants if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. You can also purchase ant eggs from a pet store.
Ant eggs are usually contained in containers with gel, ensuring that they stay fresh for more extended periods and make it easier to feed your dog.
Feed ants as toppings on their food
This is probably the easiest way to give your dogs ants without you having to go through the trouble of buying them.
The best part is that you can feed your dog ants as toppings on their food, such as dog food or treats.
You can also sprinkle ants on your pet’s water bowl so they will feed on them whenever they want to drink.
Just make sure you buy edible-sized ants for this purpose and not the ones used as insecticides in gardens, which are usually very toxic to dogs.
Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Ants
Ants are not just small creatures crawling beneath your walls or grasses on your lawn. But this animal also has incredible health benefits improving your dog’s health:
Rich source of protein
As earlier mentioned, ants are a good source of protein for dogs. But, ants have more to offer than just proteins.
This insect is rich in minerals such as calcium and iron, which your pet needs daily.
Improve heart’s health
Ants contain high amounts of vitamin B-complex, which can help improve the overall cardiovascular functions by increasing red blood cells.
Ants are also rich in antioxidants which can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke because it helps lessen oxidative stress on your pet’s body.
This is beneficial to dogs who often suffer from autoimmune diseases or have a history of chronic illnesses.
Improve dog’s health condition
Dogs with allergies may benefit from ants because they are rich in fatty acids to improve skin conditions.
If your dog has allergies or is suffering from atopic dermatitis, you can try feeding them with ants to see if it will work for them.
Ants also contain ursolic acid, which is beneficial for dogs who often suffer from cancer or tumors since this substance has tumor-inhibiting properties.
Possible Concerns When Eating Ants
Your dog’s health may be at stake when its body doesn’t suit the goodness that comes from eating ants.
If your dog already has a history of being allergic to certain insects, you might want to watch out for the following possible health concerns:
Possible respiratory arrest is the most common concern of pet owners when it comes to dogs eating ants.
When your dog eats too many insects, he may develop an allergic reaction that can cause him to experience difficulty breathing or even stop breathing entirely due to swelling on his throat and tongue.
This is why you should monitor how many ants your dog eats and if he experiences any difficulty breathing after eating ants.
Ants may trigger skin allergies in pets who have a history of being allergic to certain insects. If your dog has been suffering from itchy, dry, or red patches on its skin for some time now, you should monitor how your dog’s body reacts after eating ants.
Some dogs may experience a higher amount of itching, dryness, and redness on their skin when they consume ants, so it’s best to keep an eye out for these changes if your pet is allergic to insects or ant bites.
Large amounts of protein might make your dog gain weight quickly, which can lead to obesity. Since ants are rich in proteins, you should monitor how your dog’s body responds when your dog eats too many ants.
If you notice a sudden increase in your dog’s weight and appetite, then it may be time to cut back on the amount of ant food toppings that you’re giving him.
Signs your dog is sick from eating Ants
Your dog may act unusual, which manifests the signs of sickness after eating ants. So as a dog owner, you have to ensure you know its symptoms:
If your dog suddenly experiences seizures after eating ants, you should rush him to the vet immediately.
The sudden onset of seizures can be due to poisoning from pesticides or ingestion of toxic substances contained in some kinds of insects.
This is why it’s best for pet owners to monitor how their dogs react whenever they eat anything new, including Ants, because it may lead to the onset of seizures.
Abdominal pain, Nausea, and Vomiting
Suppose your dog displays any unusual behavior like vomiting or nausea after eating ants. In that case, you should immediately monitor your dog’s stomach for signs of abdominal discomfort or pains, which ant bites can bring about.
Abdominal cramps are also common whenever your dog’s stomach is upset due to eating ants. You should also keep an eye on the color of his vomit or stool since it may turn dark brown if he ingests many insects, leading to dehydration and malnutrition.
Loss of Consciousness
If your dog’s body becomes weak and his legs start to shake, you should monitor him carefully because it may signify that he is suffering from loss of consciousness or anemia.
Ingesting too many ants can cause severe blood loss since their bites are poisonous, resulting in weakness and dizziness due to low blood pressure.
What to do if your dog is sick from eating Ants?
When you catch your dog eating ants and gets sick, don’t invite punishment since it may worsen his condition.
Instead, be calm and monitor how your dog responds when you take him to the vet right away. Keep in mind that pet owners need to watch out for their dog’s behavior after eating anything new.
So, if ever your dog exhibits unusual behaviors like vomiting or loss of consciousness, bring them immediately to a vet clinic.
Your vet will give your dog some medical treatment to help him recover from the symptoms brought about by eating ants.
Also, your vet may pump your dog’s stomach to remove any remnants of ants or other insects that may still be in your dog’s body.
After your dog has received immediate aid, you should bring him home and monitor how much food he eats for the next couple of days until all signs of sickness are gone.
Avoid these similar foods from this family.
You have to avoid dogs reaching and eating termites since they are insects that can cause similar symptoms to ants.
You should be aware that termites have venomous bites, so it’s best to keep your dog away from any nests of this type of insect.
Bee stings and Bites
You might see bees fly around flowers, trees, and other plants, but they won’t sting unless you or your dog disturb them.
When bees sting, they leave behind venom, which may cause swelling and itchiness in your dog’s body.
So it’s best to take precautionary measures when you see bee nests near plants or flowers around your home since dogs can reach them easily during their daily activities like walking outside the house.
Wasps and Hornets
Wasps and hornets can also harm your dog’s body, so it’s best to keep him away from them. The venom of wasps and hornets can cause swelling, itchiness, and pain in the bitten area, which is why you have to watch out for nests near trees or bushes around your home since dogs may reach them easily.
How to Make Ants Safe To Eat
We believe that you care for your dogs by raising awareness through this article. As your tool kit, you may apply these practical ways on how to make ants safe to eat for your dogs:
Don’t overfeed your dog with ants.
Overfeeding your dog with ants causes digestive trouble, such as bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting.
This is because ants contain toxins harmful to your pet’s health, so you have to avoid giving them more than what they can digest in one sitting.
Don’t give the wrong kind of ant.
Like any other insects available in the market, certain types of ants are not safe to feed your dogs with.
You must know what type of ant you should buy and not assume that all ants are safe for your pet’s consumption.
Otherwise, it can lead to life-threatening conditions such as organ failure or anaphylactic shock, which requires immediate medical attention.
Don’t give fire ants to your dog.
As the name suggests, fire ants are very dangerous for dogs because they can cause severe health problems such as anaphylactic shock and organ failure.
So don’t make the mistake of thinking that all types of fire ants will have these side effects on your dog’s system.
Always double-check the kind of ant you’re going to feed your dog to avoid suffering from these conditions.
Ants may have bitten us and irritated our skin. But beyond its trim physique, when taken into a magnified inquiry, ants come with benefits that animals need, such as vitamins and nutrients.
Aside from that, they purposely harmonize flora and fauna; ants can help improve your dog’s diet!
To answer our question, yes, dogs can eat ants. Most dog owners have been using ant eggs and larvae as dog treats due to their high nutritional value, such as a rich source of protein, improved heart health, and the overall health condition of your dog.
However, you should note not to feed your pet too many ants because they can contain toxins that may harm them.
Ants may bring onset seizure to your dog due to poisoning from pesticides, nausea and vomiting, and the eventual loss of consciousness.
But overall, ants are safe when prepared appropriately by feeding the appropriate type of ant, avoiding fire ants, and giving ants moderately.