What are the dangers for my dog when using snail bait?

Posted by Dr Claire Jenkins on Sep 29, 2015 8:29:12 AM
Dr Claire Jenkins

Snail bait, due to its toxic component called metaldehyde, is a common cause of dog poisoning. This is most often seen during Spring and Summer when snails are abundant in number and gardeners’ pull out the snail bait to aid in their control.

They are designed to attract and kill snails and slugs but in doing so they are also attractive and tasty to our furry friends who as we know are often not very discerning eaters!

The metaldehyde primarily affects their nervous system, and after eating signs develop within as little as 30 minutes. 

What are the signs of snail bait toxicity?

    • anxiety and restlessness
    • vomiting/diarrhoea
    • salivation
    • panting
    • dilated pupils
    • muscle tremors
    • incoordination and difficulty walking
    • seizures

If you know or even suspect your dog may have eaten snail bait you need to take them to the veterinarian IMMEDIATELY so that your vet can minimize the absorption of the toxin and can initiate treatment. This is so important as there is no ‘antidote’.

How to I prevent my dog eating snail bait?

  1. Prevention is key - don’t use it! Try other more natural alternatives. Now I’m no gardener but here are a few:
    • Copper deterrents- place copper around the rim of plant pots or containers to deter slugs and snails by being a barrier and also by giving a slight electric shock.
    • Commercial or home made snail traps
    • Beer traps! Yep, another use for beer- snails and slugs are attracted to beer and will go to it, if deep enough they can’t get out.
    • Hand picking and stomping- yuck- but effective!

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Topics: Toxins, snail bait