Monday, May 07, 2007

The Ant-Free Dog Dish

My dog lives outside. During the winter, bugs ignore his food and pay attention to hibernation, or being an egg, or what have you. But come spring, the ants, flies, and various bugs find the dog food.

I bought a dog dish once that claimed to keep the ants out, but you had to place it just so, and it didn't keep the ants away.

But the principle on which it claimed to work is good: ants won't go very far in the wrong direction. We just have to make them think they're lost.

1 dog dish
1 tin can, washed thoroughly
1 dowel (round piece of wood) about half the diameter of the can, about two inches (5 cm) longer than the can.
1 board or block of wood at least 1.5 inches (4cm) thick, and wider than the dog dish
2 nails
Epoxy or silicon glue

Power drill
Leather Gloves

A flat horizontal surface on which to place the project while the glue cures.

  1. Drill a hole about 1 inch deep into the center of one face of the block of wood just big enough to receive the dowel.
  2. Put some glue into the bottom of the hole in the wood. Insert the dowel into the hole. Turn it over and pound one nail into the dowel rod through the block of wood. Turn it back over, so that the dowel is pointing up. Apply glue, if needed, to make a watertight seal between the dowel and the block.
  3. Round in the rim of the can, leaving the open end of the can bigger than the diameter of your dowel by several times the length of your local ants.
  4. Cover the top of the dowel with glue. Put some glue in the can, in center of the bottom (use the dowel as an applicator). Put the can on top of the dowel (insert the dowel into the can).
  5. With the hammer and a nail, punch a hole in the center of the bottom of the can and into the center of the dowel. At this point, make sure the dowel is centered in the can, with an ant-proof air gap around the dowel.
  6. Pound the nail in the rest of the way. You now have an Ant-Free Dog Dish Stand.
  7. Place the dog dish upside down on the drying surface.
  8. Apply glue liberally to the top of the can and the center of the bottom of the dog dish.
  9. Invert the Ant-Free Dog Dish Stand on top of the upside down dish, and level the stand.
  10. Allow glue to dry and cure.
The Ant-Free Dog Dish has the advantage of raising the food up to a more comfortable eating height for larger dogs, which are typically the ones living outside.

  • To allow rainwater to drain out of the dog dish, drill one or more small holes into the bottom near the edge, where water tends to puddle
  • Use a beer or soft drink can, (requires cutting the top off of the can)
  • Use screws instead of nails
  • Use a carriage bolt running from the center of the dish through the dowel to the bottom of the base, countersinking a nut into the base; in this case, you can use rubber gaskets instead of glue
  • Paint the can and wooden parts
  • Install feet on the wooden block, so ants don't make a colony under it
  • Sprinkle borax on top of the base if you notice ants on it
  • Coat the inside walls of the can with used motor oil and dust with borax, or stuff a dryer sheet inside
  • Seek help -- you're starting to obsess
The ants haven't found my dog's food yet, but let me know how it goes.

1 comment:

Loren Heal said...

Please note that US Patent 6460288 is similar to the feeder described, so if you're looking to make and sell these things, talk to that patent holder about it.