Is There a Way of Getting Rid of Ants That’s Safe for Pets?

Getting rid of ants is a priority even if you only see a few of them in the house. Having pets complicates things like pesticides and many other chemicals that can be harmful to their health.

Cats, dogs, parrots, guinea pigs, and other pets are all at risk when using potent insecticides against pets.

You can safely get rid of ants with diatomaceous earth or essential oils without harming pets. You can also use boiling water to kill ants on the spot in case of serious invasions without harmful fumes to pets.

Carpenter ants and Argentine ants are controlled with insecticides that contain the following chemicals.

  • Imidacloprid
  • Clothianidin
  • Acetamiprid
  • Thiamethoxam

Fire ants are often treated with avermectin. However, all of these chemicals aren’t safe for pets and even for the home’s residents.

8 methods to get rid of ants without harming pets

The following methods of getting rid of ants have their limitations since most are based on natural or homemade solutions. These are best used against a low number of ants or as preventive measures as serious ant invasions need a pest controller’s input.

1. Spray essential oils

Essential oils are some of the natural ingredients successfully used to repel ants. Mixing essential oils with water and spraying ants is one of the few proven safe methods of both killing and repelling ants without harming pets. The following essential oils are often seen as worthy against ants.

  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Citrus essential oil
  • Teat tree oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cloves essential oil

From there, it’s the peppermint, citrus, and cloves essential oils that can even kill ants on the spot when you spray them directly.

Essential oils

At least 5 drops of essential oils are recommended per sprayer bottle with water. This sprayer bottle should have no more than 4 ounces as the drops of essential oils can be too diluted in a larger bottle.

You can spray essential oils around the house as a preventive measure in the spring and summer. You can also spray ants directly to kill them on the spot.

Application: prevention and killing ants

2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural organic compound known to repel ants of all species. Fire ants, Carpenter ants, Green-headed ants, and Argentine ants are a few of the common species this natural ingredient repels. Known as a natural insecticide, this ingredient is safe for pets.

Diatomaceous Earth

For outdoor use, it’s best to sprinkle diatomaceous earth directly on the ant themselves and on the area they live in. You can also sprinkle it indoors under cabinets, in corners, and around walls where ants have been seen or where they could enter the house through cracks and openings.

Application: prevention and killing ants

3. Pour boiling water

Boiling water kills ants on the spot. Pouring boiling water on ants kills them regardless of their size or type. This is one of the safest indoor methods of killing ants as long as your pets aren’t around until the water cools.

Boiling water leaves no residue and it comes without any chemical fumes to worry about. It’s also a free method of killing ants without investing in essential oils or sprayer bottles.

Boiling water can be poured on certain surfaces that aren’t affected by its high heat. This is why you should only pour a small amount of water to avoid damage to your home. You can pour a large amount of boiling water into ant nests around the house, especially if you have pets as they can bite and become dangerous to pets.

Application: killing ants

4. Use ant baits

Ant baits and traps that are pet safe are among the top methods of killing these small insects. They are normally based on a chemical solution that kills ants. However, these chemical solutions are hidden in a small case most pets can’t reach.

You can install ant bait stations around the house, even if you have cats and dogs as long as they cannot open the given stations to access the bait and the ant-killing chemical. This is one of the preventive measures you can take against ants as these baits might not kill ants fast enough in the case of a serious invasion.

The more ant baits or traps you set up around the house the faster it can kill ants. These traps need to be updated as recommended by the manufacturer. You also need to swap them with new baits and traps once there are too many dead ants on them as this can attract roaches and other pests.

Application: preventing ants

5. Draw chalk lines

Ants hate chalk. Many people draw chalk lines in various areas of the house as well as outdoors to completely get rid of ants as this becomes a barrier that turns the insects away.

You can draw chalk lines around raised beds in the garden if ants are trying to invade. You can draw chalk lines around doors and windows so that ants never enter the house.

This solution has its limitations with flying ants that can simply overpass the chalk line. However, most crawling ants will turn away as soon as they hit the chalk line.

Chalk doesn’t kill ants. It only repels them so they move elsewhere. You also need to re-apply the chalk lines if you mop the floor or if you’ve drawn the lines outdoors soon after heavy rain erases these lines.

Application: preventing ants

6. Use dish soap and water sprays

Soap and water kill ants. While soap isn’t beneficial to pets, it can be used in certain areas of the home without impacting the animals.

Soap diluted in water is sprayed directly on ants so that there’s no escape. This kills the ants on the spot. You can vacuum the ants and mop the area so that there’s no soap to slip on or for the pets to lick.

Detergent spray bottle

Soap and water can also be used to kill ants outdoors. Refraining from spraying too much soap on plants and the lawn is recommended as it can kill vegetation.

Application: killing ants

7. Use water and vinegar

Vinegar is another solution to consider against ants inside the house or outside the house. Similar to essential oils, vinegar is mixed with water and sprayed directly on ants on in areas ants can invade to keep them out.

A high concentration of acetic acid in vinegar kills ants on the spot. It affects their exoskeleton killing them in just a few seconds.

Vinegar and water are used against other pests and the solution has its benefits against cockroaches and some flies. This is why vinegar is one of the top preventive solutions against ants in homes with pets.

As with essential oils, you need to spray water and vinegar at least once every 2 weeks for it to maintain its efficiency indoors. Vinegar will eventually evaporate otherwise.

Vinegar-soaked sponges are another common homemade solution against ants in areas where pets can’t access such as behind furniture or under the bathtub. The idea is that spongers can soak up more vinegar and protect a wider area compared to spot-sprayed vinegar which also evaporates quicker.

Application: killing and deterring ants

8. Consider coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are also used to keep ants away. Both fresh ground coffee and coffee grounds from your coffee machine can be used to repel ants.

You can add ground coffee on a piece of paper and place it in key areas of the house, especially in the kitchen since this is where most ants find food to feed on.

Ground coffee is safe for pets when ingested in small quantities. However, ground coffee still needs to be placed in areas pets can’t access such as behind the refrigerator for them to be truly safe.

Ground coffee doesn’t need to be replaced or reapplied as often as water and vinegar as you can leave it on a piece of paper for months in a row.

The main limitation of ground coffee is seen in cases where you already have ants in your home as the solution mostly works to prevent ants from moving indoors as it doesn’t kill them.

Application: preventing ants


You can get rid of ants without harmful chemicals if you have pets. You need to leverage natural repellents such as essential oils and diatomaceous earth to keep them away without inflicting any dangers on your pets.

Keeping ants away with natural and pet-safe ingredients is the best approach, however. You can do this with essential oils, ground coffee, diatomaceous earth, and vinegar. The inner and outer perimeter of the house can serve as a barrier against ants when using these ingredients.

You want to refrain from using pesticides in case of serious ant invasions in your home as they can harm pets. In this case, you need to spray essential oils directly on ants or pour boiling water on them to kill the insects on the spot without putting pets such as cats and dogs in danger.

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