Is Indoor Ant Killer Safe for Pets?

With any product, it is always best to thoroughly research any health and safety concerns before bringing it into a home. Some indoor ant killers are listed as safe for use around pets, while others are not. Unfortunately, even some of those that are listed as safe for use around pets can still pose a danger.

Indoor Ant Killer

Not all indoor ant killers are truly safe for use around pets.

Some indoor ant killers that claim to be safe for use around pets contain the ingredient borax. However, borax is toxic to pets, and ingesting the product could result in serious illness and in some cases death. The Merck Veterinary Manual does note, however, that when these products are used properly, poisoning has not been reported.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Symptoms of poisoning in a pet that has consumed an ant pesticide containing borax vary based on the size of the pet and the amount of the product that was consumed. Symptoms of acute poisoning include diarrhea and rapid prostration. Some pets may also suffer from convulsions.

Treatment for Poisoning

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, there is no effective antidote for borax poisoning. Pets that are poisoned require emergency veterinarian care, which may include supportive care and balanced electrolyte fluid therapy, in which the pet receives plenty of liquids to counteract the effects of diarrhea and to help flush the poison from the system.


Borax is just one ingredient often found in indoor ant-killing products that could pose a danger to animals. Therefore, it is important to research an ingredient and follow any manufacturer precautions prior to using a product around pets. Other potentially hazardous ingredients commonly used in indoor ant killers include piperonyl butoxide, chlorpyrifos and diazinon.

Safe Alternatives

Though many commercial ant killers are not truly safe for use around pets, other methods can help safely remove or prevent ants from entering the home. For example, ants will consume grits spread lightly throughout the lawn or even indoors in infested areas and bring them back to their colony. When consumed, the grits react with the ants’ stomach acids, causing the grits to expand and kill the ants.