Putting out ant traps to try to get your home's ant problem under control may seem like an everyday chore, but if you have a dog, you'll want to think twice about that decision. Dogs are sometimes attracted to these traps, and an ambitious dog may even eat them. If your dog eats an ant trap, there are a few potential issues that you should be aware of in order to keep your dog safe and healthy.
What to Do If a Dog Eats Ant Bait Traps?
Ant bait traps and toxicity
If your dog ate an ant trap, your first reaction might be to panic, worrying about toxicity or food poisoning. Don't panic yet. According to Dogs' Health Problems, the good news is that most ant bait traps are minimally toxic to dogs. Ant bait traps tend to contain ingredients such as boric acid, abamectin, and indoxacarb but at very low concentrations.
In addition to these ingredients, many traps contain added ingredients that are tempting to ants. These ingredients serve to bait the ants to the traps and can be tasty foods like sugar, bread crumbs, and even peanut butter. It's likely these bait materials that attracted your dog to the traps in the first place.
This isn't to say that your dog won't experience some discomfort from ingesting the traps. The active ingredients and the bait ingredients can cause vomiting and diarrhea, though these symptoms should be mild and only last for a few hours.
When to call poison control
If you're unsure of the ingredients contained in an ant bait trap, then it's a good idea to call poison control. They can advise you about the potential toxicity to your dog and can also tell you what steps to take in case your dog does need emergency treatment. Most ant bait traps have low concentrations of toxic materials, but the exact risk with which you'll be dealing will depend on the specific traps, how many your dog ingested, and your dog's size.
If you do decide to call poison control, be prepared with as much information as possible. Try to have the brand and model of the ant trap ready. If you have other ant traps that came in the same package, this can help the representative to access the information you need more quickly.
It's a relief to hear that toxicity probably isn't going to be an issue if your dog ate an ant trap, but there's another potential risk about which to be concerned. According to Wag!, the plastic housing of the ant trap may be more dangerous to your dog than the toxins the trap contains.
The danger lies in whether your dog ingests the plastic whole or if she shreds it into pieces. The plastic can be sharp and can create serious issues in your dog's digestive tract. A trap swallowed whole could create an intestinal obstruction, or sharp edges or pieces could lacerate your dog's intestinal tract.
Your first reaction may be to try to get your dog to vomit up the trap, but this could be damaging too. If your dog has shredded the plastic, the plastic pieces could damage your dog's esophagus as your dog vomits.
Seeking veterinary help
In some cases, you may need to call your vet and schedule an appointment for help. If your dog has ingested an entire trap and you're worried about sharp pieces harming your dog, then consult your vet about the best action to take.
If you notice concerning symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, straining, or lack of appetite, the trap may be causing trouble. Call your vet immediately and take your dog in to be evaluated.