Are Slugs and Snails Dangerous to a Dog?

by Axl J. Amistaadt
    Most commercial snail baits are highly toxic to dogs.

    Most commercial snail baits are highly toxic to dogs.

    Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    Dogs are known to Hoover up garden slugs and snails like fine cuisine. Notwithstanding the yuck factor and the stress on you, the slimy little critters themselves aren’t dangerous to dogs. The story turns ugly, though, if your pet slurps down slugs or snails who have consumed poison baits.

    Common commercial snail baits usually contain Metaldehyde, which carries a severe toxicity level. It’s an ingredient in some fly baits, too. Consuming this material produces a life-and-death crisis for a dog. It’s critical that you contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice symptoms, which typically appear within one to four hours of ingestion. The pet may pant, drool, vomit and become nervous, agitated and uncoordinated. His body temperature may skyrocket as high as 108 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to cause permanent organ damage. Some dogs experience seizures or muscle tremors.

    Deep-six the dog poison and undertake safe, effective alternatives to eliminate slugs and snails. Take a flashlight out after dark and hand-pick the beasties off plants and the surrounding soil. Drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Bury disposable plastic containers almost to their rims in problem areas. Space them several feet apart. Pour about a half-inch of beer into each container. Slugs and snails are incurable booze hounds; they will drown in the traps as they attempt to imbibe.

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    About the Author

    A full-time writer since 2007, Axl J. Amistaadt is a DMS 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award recipient. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. Amistaadt has written book reviews for Work At Home Truth.

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