My Dog Ate an Ant Trap and Seems Fine – What Should I Do?

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Key Takeaways:

  • The amount of insecticides in ant traps usually aren’t enough to poison your dog, but the devices can make him sick.
  • If your dog eats one or more ant traps, you should contact the pet poison helpline and follow their instructions.
  • The plastic casing that surrounds ant bait can cause injury, perforations, or obstructions in the gut.

The weather is warm, and the next thing you know there are tiny ants on your kitchen counter. So, you set out ant traps to get rid of the unsanitary pests. The problem is, the sweet bait attracts your dog, and he snarfs one up. Should you be concerned?

Fortunately, most ant traps today don’t contain enough poison to harm your dog, but depending on the type of insecticide, your pup’s weight, and how many traps he consumes, they could still make your furbaby sick for a spell. The larger danger comes from the plastic casing because it could cut or puncture the digestive system or cause an obstruction.

If your dog eats one or more ant traps, you should notify your veterinarian and monitor your pooch for signs of trouble.

How Many Ant Traps Are Toxic to Dogs?

The amount of ant poison that’s toxic to your dog varies depending on:

  • The type of ant poison
  • How much your dog weighs
  • Your dog’s state of health

Fortunately, in most cases, eating a few ant traps won’t poison your dog. Even though different brands contain different types of ant poisons, the amount of toxin in one trap is strong enough to kill ants but relatively safe for your pooch. So, as long as your pooch doesn’t ingest several traps, the insecticide isn’t likely to harm him. But, there may be enough toxins to cause an upset stomach.

If your dog eats an ant trap, call the pet poison helpline to learn more about the poisons in the brand you are using.

The number of ant traps it takes to poison your dog varies based on the type of toxin, your dog’s weight, and your dog’s health. Usually, ant traps don’t contain enough poison to seriously harm dogs, but they can cause digestive upset.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate an Ant Trap?

If your dog ate an ant trap, start by making sure your pooch is acting normally. Call your vet immediately if he’s showing any signs of depression, weakness, or vomiting. As long as your furbaby seems bright-eyed and normal

  • Check the area for pieces of ant trap to determine how much your dog ate
  • Look inside your dog’s mouth for cuts, broken teeth, or other signs of damage
  • If you see pieces lodged in the throat or see signs of choking, take your pooch to the vet 
  • Read the product packaging for any instructions and to determine the type of poison
  • Call the pet poison helpline and report your dog’s weight, the type of ant trap, and how many he ate
  • Follow the helpline recommendations – they may advise you to contact your veterinarian or monitor your dog for signs of illness
  • Remove all the ant traps from your dog’s access
  • If your dog develops signs of illness, contact your veterinarian

If your dog ate an ant trap, assess his condition. If he appears normal, inspect the mouth for signs of damage or plastic pieces. Call the pet poison hotline for advice. Depending on their recommendations, call your veterinarian or monitor your pooch for signs of trouble.

What Should I Do Immediately If I Suspect My Dog Has Been Poisoned by Ant Traps?

If your dog ingests or licks an ant trap, watch for signs of toxicity that may include:

  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain

When you notice these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. The doctor will want to examine your pooch and provide appropriate care.

Other symptoms that should prompt immediate action are symptoms of choking such as gagging, heavy drooling, and pawing at the face. If pieces of the plastic lodge in the throat and block your pup’s airway, it’s an emergency situation. Take your pup to the veterinarian immediately.

When you notice signs of toxicity that include digestive upset and changes in behavior, you should contact your veterinarian for an exam and treatment. Likewise, if your dog demonstrates symptoms of choking, get him to the clinic for emergency care.

What If My Dog Ate a Bunch of Ant Traps But Seems Fine?

When your dog eats several ant traps, you may not notice any signs of illness at first for two reasons. First, the poisons used in ant traps are generally slow-release toxins. That allows one ant to carry poison back to the nest and kill the colony. So, if your dog ingests enough of the poison to make him sick, you may not notice any symptoms for a few hours.

On the other hand, if there’s not enough toxin to poison your pooch, the plastic casing from the ant trap can still cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract. While a few small pieces may pass through safely, several casings can collect and cause an obstruction. Additionally, the sharp edges can cut or puncture the gut lining. It may take several hours or longer before signs emerge.

If your dog ate a lot of ant traps but isn’t showing any symptoms, you should still call your veterinarian. He can examine your pooch and take x-rays to locate the plastic and take appropriate action. It’s better to seek treatment before it’s an emergency.

If your dog ate lots of ant traps, you may not notice symptoms immediately. Depending on the effects of the traps, it could take a few to several hours before your pup acts ill. Regardless, it’s best to take your pooch to the vet for evaluation and treatment. Seek treatment before there’s an emergency.

Signs of Illness After My Dog Eats Ant Traps

The signs of illness you could after your dog eats ant traps will depend on the way the product affects your pooch. 


Signs of toxic effects in your dog are likely to be mild if they occur. Symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and drooling
  • Painful abdomen
  • Fatigue or weakness


The plastic casing can get stuck in the throat on the way down causing your dog to choke. Symptoms include:

  • Pawing at the face
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Pacing and nervousness
  • Difficulty breathing

Gut perforations

The sharp plastic edges of the ant trap can cut or perforate your dogs gut. When this happens, you may notice:

  • Bloody stool
  • Refusal to eat
  • Vomiting /diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Bloated painful abdomen


Obviously, plastic isn’t digestible. So, if your pooch eats some of the ant trap casing, it can get stuck in the intestines and cause blockage. Signs include:

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea at first followed by constipation
  • Depression and lethargy
  • Hunched appearance
  • Loss of appetite

The signs of illness after a dog eats ant traps depends on the way the product affects the dog. You may see symptoms of digestive upset, choking, gut perforations, or obstruction. Most of the conditions may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and a loss of appetite.

What Happens To Dogs That Eat Ant Traps?

There are several ways ant traps can harm dogs if they eat them. First, if dogs ingest a large quantity of the toxins, it can cause an irritate the stomach lining and cause digestive upset. In this case, your dog will probably have vomiting and diarrhea and may stop eating. 

But poison isn’t the biggest risk. The plastic casing can cause serious damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Pieces of plastic have sharp edges that are capable of cutting into the gut lining. The injuries can cause pain and digestive upset. If the edges cut through all the layers of the stomach, your dog will suffer a perforated gut. When this happens, stomach contents can leak into the abdomen and cause infection.

Plastic pieces also have the potential to lodge in the throat or the intestines. In the throat, the pieces can block the airway and cause your pooch to choke. When the blockages is in the intestine, food may not be able to pass through the digestive tract. Both of these conditions are emergencies.

Dogs that ingest enough poison may experience digestive upset. The plastic from the ant traps poses a higher risk. It can cut into or perforate the digestive tract. Pieces of plastic may also lodge in the throat causing your dog to choke or in the intestines causing an obstruction. 

Why Are Ant Traps Toxic to Dogs?

Ant traps contain insecticides in concentrations that can kill ants. However, there’s usually not enough poison to kill harm your dog unless he eats a lot of the devices. The type of poison that’s in a trap varies by brand, but the most common toxins are:

  • Avermectin (in Raid ant traps)
  • Fipronil (in Combat ant traps)
  • Borax (in Terro ant traps)
  • Abamectin (in Enforcer ant traps)

Many of these insecticides are also used in flea and tick products for dogs. The margin of safety for these drugs is very wide, so they’re not likely to make most dogs sick if they eat one or a few ant traps with them. Each of the insecticides can affect the digestive system causing vomiting and diarrhea. In high doses, they may also cause nervous effects.

The type of ant poison in a trap varies depending on the manufacturer, but all are insecticides. Usually, the toxins won’t affect your dog. However, if they ingest large quantities of poison, the products may affect the digestive or nervous system.

How Will My Vet Treat My Dog if He Eats Ant Traps?

If your dog ate one or more ant traps, your veterinarian will ask you details including when and how many ant traps he ingested. Then, the doctor will conduct an examination and run diagnositc tests like x-rays and bloodwork to determine how the device is affecting your pooch. Treatment will vary depending on his findings.

  • Activated charcoal if your dog ate a lot of ant traps or shows signs of toxicity 
  • Endoscopy to retrieve plastic pieces from the stomach
  • Surgery to repair perforations or correct obstructions
  • Antibiotics to treat any abdominal or gastrointestinal infections
  • Anti-inflammatories to control inflammation from gut injuries
  • Pain killers

When you take your dog to the vet, he will ask you questions, conduct a physical exam, and take diagnostic tests. Treatment will vary depending on the findings but may include steps to neutralize toxins, endoscopy, or surgery. Medications may include painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics.

How long is the recovery?

Recovery time varies depending on how the ant traps affect your pooch. 

  • Toxic effects generally resolve in a few days or more after treatment
  • Dogs usually recover from choking after a few days unless there’s severe damage
  • The recovery time from gut perforations depends on the level of damage and infection. It will usually take several weeks or longer for pooches to return to normal. 
  • When dogs require surgery to correct obstructions, the recovery is usually a few weeks but may be longer if there are complications

The recovery time depends on how the ant traps affect your pooch. Dogs usually bounce back from choking or toxic effects in a few days. Conditions involving more severe damage or requiring surgery will involve a more extensive recovery period.

Final Woof

Ant traps contain insecticides that can be poisonous to dogs. Fortunately, the concentration in these products is usually not enough to make your pooch sick. The real concern when dogs eat ant traps is the effect of the plastic casing. Because the materials are sharp and can’t be digested, they can cause significant damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal system. The devices and their contents may cause toxicity, choking, perforations, or obstructions. 

If your dog ate one or more ant traps, you should make sure he’s acting normally, check his mouth, and call the poison pet helpline. If you notice any unsual symptoms, contact your veterinarain. Signs of trouble may take a few hours or more to surface, but you shouldn’t wait for an emergency to take action. When you take your pooch to the veterinarian, he’ll get a history, conduct physical exam, and run diagnostic tests then treat your pup accordingly. Treatment and recovery vary depending on the way the ant traps affect your furbaby.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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