With their love of exploration and scavenging, dogs are no strangers to putting their noses where they shouldn’t be! This is especially the case in gardens and undergrowth, where dogs will sniff and find all sorts of crawling creatures – including snails and slugs. While they seem harmless, there are possibilities where slugs can cause extreme health issues in dogs. It’s important to discover how harmful these creatures are to our dogs and to figure out if slugs are poisonous to dogs.
So, are slugs poisonous to dogs?
Slugs themselves are not poisonous to dogs. So this sparks the questions of why there are repeated cases and instances of dogs falling incredibly ill, even experiencing fatal outcomes, after ingesting these creatures.
While slugs themselves do not contain any toxins or poisons that can harm your dog, these animals can easily carry diseases or come into contact with poisonous substances which will then be transferred to your dog and can lead to deteriorating health.
Slugs often roam around wet areas and can come into contact with a range of substances, parasites and man-made toxins which can be transmitted to a dog when the slug is eaten. Moreso, these toxins are not only found on the slug itself but can be secreted and left behind on objects and places, making any place with a slug infestation a possibility for disaster.
Slugs are considered ‘poisonous’ if they have come into contact with poison baits containing the substance Metaldehyde. These baits are created to be used against slugs and snails in gardens and yards, yet a dog ingesting a contaminated slug can also fall prey to the toxin’s harm and the results can sometimes be fatal.
The Metaldehyde found in these baits can be lethal even in the smallest amount and within only a few hours from the time of ingesting, which means that whether your dog eats a low amount, they are still at risk and must seek veterinary help as soon as possible. Some symptoms of slug bait poisoning in dogs include:
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Excessive drooling
- Heavy panting
- Seizures and twitching
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
One of the most dangerous parasites that may be potentially carried by slugs is the lungworm parasite. This parasite is often transmitted orally through dogs ingesting creatures such as slugs, snails and frogs rather than being transmitted from one dog to another. If ingested can lead to your dog becoming contaminated with lungworm and cause serious health problems. Lungworm attacks a dog’s heart and the major vessels of the lungs and can cause major harm even if the amount ingested is little.
Keep your dog safe
It is essential to be watchful and careful about where your dog wanders off, and the types of creatures it may eat. During the spring months especially, monitor your garden or yard and make sure there are no possibilities of any slug infestations. If there are, it is your responsibility as a dog owner to choose safe methods of eradicating these creatures which would not involve the use of any poisonous baits which could harm your dog.
If you suspect your dog has eaten a snail or a slug, keep an eye on them to spot any emerging symptoms of poisoning or lungworm, and contact your vet immediately if any signs do arise.