Ants are intelligent and purposeful foragers.
They have an incredibly advanced sense of smell, which they use during food-hunting activities.
With that, it seems they’re always finding my dog’s urine.
What’s in the dog’s pee that attracts these seemingly intelligent creatures?
Ants frequently visit dog urine for water, micro, and macronutrients. Like humans, ants need a balanced diet for optimal functioning, which can be found inside your dog’s urine.
While this may seem like a simple concept, there are some things you’ll want to watch out for regarding your dog’s urine.
Let’s get right to it.
Both humans and dogs urinate.
However, the composition of human urine compared to that of dogs is quite different.
Humans take a lot of water or fluids.
Thus human urine is highly diluted.
Nearly all content of human urine is water. The other large part is urea, but it also has traces of minerals like chloride, sodium, potassium, and other dissolved ions.
Dog and cat urine contains more trace elements than human urine.
Like human urine, dog urine has water but is also nutrient-rich. In addition to water, it has urea, sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, and ammonia minerals, the common trace elements in human urine.
Unlike human urine, dog wee also has traces of nutrients like carbohydrates, fatty acids, and enzymes.
Understanding Ant Nutrition
In general, ants are omnivores. They eat both meat and plants.
They scavenge anything edible, ranging from dead animals to insects.
Just like humans, ants get proteins from eating meat or other insects.
However, the nutritional needs vary from one ant species to another.
Some species, like most of the sugar ants genre, predominantly survive on sugars.
Other species, like the Yellow crazy ant, will eat more proteins than sugars.
But, the balance between the need for sugar and proteins changes depending on the colony’s needs.
But, daily, workers forage for sugars more than other macronutrients.
During reproduction, the queen lays eggs. Proteins are necessary for the queens egg laying needs. The larva also needs protein for growth. During this reproduction period, the ants require more proteins than sugars.
Ants also need minerals.
Micronutrients such as sodium and potassium are necessary for nerve communication and body movement.
Why Are Ants Attracted To Dog Urine?
From what we learned above, dog pee contains some vital elements of interest to the ant.
Put differently; urine is an alternative source of food for ants.
The traces of carbohydrates and fatty acids in a dog’s pee are valuable to the ants because carbohydrates and fatty acids are essential nutrients for ants’ energy needs.
Ants are also attracted to urine because of the nitrogen in it.
Nitrogen is essential in meeting the protein needs of developing larvae.
Urea is nitrogen-rich and essential for queens’ egg-laying needs.
Also, dog wee has traces of micronutrients such as sodium, chlorine, and potassium, among others.
These minerals are beneficial to the ants.
Are Some Ants More Attracted To Dog Urine Than Others?
As mentioned, most ants species crave sugars. Sugar is available in many more readily available forms, like honeydew. Glucose is also one of those forms.
If the urine has high glucose content, it will most likely attract ants that crave sugars.
Because foraging ants prefer an immediate and ready source of food, even if it may look illogical.
Also, most ants will forage for proteins from conventional sources like meat, dead insects and by preying on other ants.
For example, the Australian sugar ant is one species naturally attracted to urine.
This ant species prefer urine as a protein source over other options.
The Australian sugar ant lives in very hot conditions with minimal protein availability. In hot, harsh desert conditions, sources of protein are few. Chances of readily finding insects, dead or alive, or other ants to prey on are minimal.
Thus, Etymologists believe the Australian sugar ant is attracted to urine, like that of Kangaroos, to extract urea, a by-product of protein breakdown.
Again, urea has high amounts of nitrogen, easily synthesized into protein, which the Australian sugar ant craves.
While kangaroo urine may not be your dog’s urine, the logic is the same; ants aren’t passing up on this nutrient-rich dish.
Does regular dog food make the urine more attractive to ants?
Creating dog food is much different than creating human food. While this may seem obvious, this process does create some nuisances.
Like humans, dogs are omnivores. While similar in diet, we’re not very similar in digestive tracks.
A dog’s digestive system is remarkably different from those of humans.
Scientific evidence shows ingredients in certain foods affect the chemical composition of body fluids.
In humans, for instance, an intake of liquids such as caffeine and alcohol will eventually show up in the urine after metabolism.
In dog food preparation, substituting food sources with sodium chloride with those containing potassium chloride causes the dog to take more water. With more water intake, the dog will urinate more. More peeing means the urine is diluted.
Essentially, fresher pet urine will contain fewer nutrient residues because the biggest portion of the urine will be water. Therefore, it will be less attractive to ants.
What does this canine nutritional fact mean?
If you find ants in dog wee, valuable traces of macro and micronutrients are most likely showing up in the wee, and their food source is probably low in sodium chloride.
What else could make ants get attracted to dog pee?
In addition to the dog’s diet, and similar to humans, medical conditions and a variety of other factors can alter the normal body functions of your dog.
For instance, in humans, the urine of individuals with diabetes mellitus may have high levels of glucose that attract ants.
Dogs can also suffer from canine diabetes.
Several factors can lead to this condition, including age and obesity.
The inability of a dog’s kidney to break down the excess sugars in the body fluids causes the sugar to be excreted in the urine.
When this occurs, the amount of glucose excreted during urination is higher than that in fresh urine.
These high glucose levels in dog wee attract ants because ants get energy from glucose the same way they get it from sugary foodstuff.
Do Ants In My Dogs Pee Mean My Dog Has Diabetes?
Pet owners well acquainted with their dogs’ behavior and health will notice infrequent things with them as soon as they happen.
If you have never cited ants on dog wee or poop before, then suddenly notice such an occurrence, you should ask yourself what could be causing the ants to invade the urine.
As detailed earlier, it could be the food.
However, the fact that your dog’s urine attracts ants could mean your dog has canine diabetes.
The urine of humans and animals suffering from Type 1 diabetes tends to have higher concentrations of glucose or sugar than normal urine.
But, in and by itself, the presence of ants in urine is only suggestive, not conclusive.
You should consult your veterinarian to diagnose your dog’s health condition properly.
This expert will advise correctly (better than we can) after performing a urine test and other necessary checks.
Final Thoughts On Ants and Dog Urine
The product we refer to as urine is a liquid composed of water, macro, and micronutrients.
To the ants, that fluid is a source of food and water, just like honeydew, sugary foodstuffs, or clean water.
For most ant species, sugar is the top nutrient they require, followed by proteins. Sugars or carbohydrates are for energy. Proteins are for growth.
Essentially, ants get attracted to sugar or food with lots of carbohydrates like glucose.
Urea is highly nitrogenous. When these nutrients are available in urine, ants will be interested.
Conclusively, ants use their advanced smelling capabilities to locate foods accurately.
If ants can smell the nutrients they require from urine, it’s good enough to be food. That’s why they get attracted to it.