There’s not a lot you can do to stop your dog eating slugs – or other garden creatures – as you cannot be with the animal all the time. You may have read some scare stories about slugs, and how they are dangerous for dogs. Is this true, or is it a myth that you should overlook? In fact, there’s a bit of both, and it is a subject worth discussing among dog owners.
Slugs in themselves are not poisonous to dogs, and generally, your dog will not come to any harm from eating one. However, there are possible problems that you should be aware of that mean you should – if you can – prevent this habit developing at an early stage.
Dangers of Lungworm
The first potential danger to be aware of is that of lungworm. Lungworm is a parasite that lives inside host animals – dogs included – and the larvae of the lungworm, the young, can live on slugs. This, if your dog eats an infected slug, there is a very real possibility of lungworm developing in the lungs and the heart of the dog.
This can be very dangerous indeed – fatal, even, if it is allowed to progress – and needs urgent medical help from an expert. If you suspect your dog has a lungworm infection – look for bleeding or coughing that is uncharacteristic – then you need to seek attention right away, so always have the number of your vet handy in case of emergencies.
The second problem is nor directly to do with the slug, but with the baits that we put down to combat slugs and snails. Many of the popular brands contain certain poisons that, if consumed by a dog or a cat – or many other animals – can very quickly cause illness, and then death. The poison is very fast-acting and will close down some of the animal’s vital organs. The only chance you have if you think your dog has eaten slug pellets is to get it to a vet very, very quickly. It is a life and death situation, and one that sometimes cannot be rectified.
Therefore, if you are a gardener and need to keep slugs at bay and you also have pets, you need to find alternative methods of killing slugs and snails. There are many you can choose from – run a web search for pet-friendly slug removal – and they won’t harm your dog.
So, if you can, keep your dog away from slugs, for although they are not poisonous, the above possible problems are very real indeed.