Common Pests in Dog Food

by Cat Carson
Dog food sometimes attracts pesky little creatures.

Dog food sometimes attracts pesky little creatures.

Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Not only is it annoying to find bugs crawling around in your doggy's food bowl, but it can also be unhealthy for your pet. Canned dog food typically doesn't attract pests since the packaging is hermetically sealed, but dry dog food can quickly become home to several common little pests.

Warehouse Beetles

Warehouse beetles commonly infest dog food facilities, which means you might purchase fresh bags of food already contaminated with these pests. These tiny, black bugs prefer to eat animal products, but will also eat cereals and grains. Although warehouse beetles only live for up to 43 days, these bugs can hibernate for up to 24 months in dry dog food. The beetles shed setae in the infested dog food, which can irritate your dog’s mouth, throat and digestive tract if consumed.

Bran Bugs

Saw-toothed grain beetles and flour beetles both belong to the bran bug family and both commonly infest dry dog food, according to North Dakota State University. Saw-toothed beetles are flat, thin, dark-brown bugs only one-tenth of an inch long. Adult beetles live up to three years, and the females lay up to 285 eggs. These flat bugs easily penetrate tiny crevices and cracks to get into dog food containers. Flour beetles are tiny, red-brown bugs that often live and breed in dry pet food. Adults live for about a year, with the females laying as many as 500 eggs. A flour beetle infestation can quickly spread, migrating to other foodstuff in your pantry. Bran bugs won’t harm your doggy if consumed, but these pests can certainly make his food unusable.

Indian Meal Moth

Indian meal moths commonly infest dry dog food products that contain grains. Fortunately, these pests have half-inch long bodies and a bright coppery sheen on pale gray wings, making them easy enough for you to spot. The yellow larvae leaves trails of dirty-looking webbing behind them as they feed. Adult females lay up to 200 eggs, and the tiny, white larvae emerge in just a few days. The large number of eggs combined with fast hatching rates mean that Indian meal moth infestations can quickly occur.

Managing Dog Food Pest Infestations

Prevent an insect infestation by storing unused dry dog food in pest-poof glass, metal or heavy plastic containers. If you spot any pests in your dog's food bowl, promptly inspect his food for signs of infestation. Check all other potential infestation sites, including unopened containers and boxes of pasta, rice, flour and cereal. Immediately discard contaminated food products in a sealed outdoor trashcan. Empty your pantry or cupboard and thoroughly clean the shelves, taking care to vacuum into crevices and corners. Empty out your vacuum cleaner after each use to prevent the bugs from escaping and re-infesting your food products. Never use pesticides in an area where you store dog food or people food.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for more than 10 years. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on various websites. Carson holds master’s degrees in both writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working toward her doctorate degree.

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