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Snails and slugs love vegetation as a result of they feed on them. Canines are curious animals that like to stay their noses in grass, leaves, and puddles, which suggests they’re uncovered to the risks lurking in these locations.

Slugs, snails, and frogs may be vectors (intermediate hosts) for harmful parasites, together with lungworms, which might result in extreme well being issues in canine. These parasites can enter the physique when canine eat these intermediate hosts. Canines can even get contaminated in the event that they lick slug or snail mucus.

So, if you happen to see your canine with a slug, snail, or frog, ensure they don’t swallow them or lick their mucus. Slugs may additionally comprise metaldehyde, a poisonous substance present in slug and snail baits, so in case your canine does eat a slug, it’s best to take them to the vet, as there’s a threat that they are going to get poisoned.

What Are Slugs?

Slugs, or snails with out shells, are yellowish-white to reddish-brown gastropod mollusks with a 40–60-mm-long physique. They’re discovered primarily in forests, plains, orchards, or gardens (particularly vegetable gardens), preferring moist locations. Their our bodies are lined with a milky mucus that protects them from predators.

Most slugs feed on vegetation, however there are species that may eat each vegetation and animals (30%) or solely meat (10%).1 Nevertheless, most desire to eat rotting supplies, together with pet feces.

Picture Credit score: Gabriela Fink, Pixabay

Why Do Canines Eat Slugs?

Canines often devour slugs by mistake and infrequently out of enjoyment as a result of the mucus that slugs secrete is disagreeable for his or her style buds. If in case you have not seen your canine with a slug of their mouth, it’s tough to know whether or not your pet has eaten one. Nevertheless, there are just a few indicators that may point out that this occurred:

  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Unusual habits (your canine shifting their tongue or mouth oddly)
  • Mucus round their mouth
  • Slug items or mucus subsequent to your canine

What Can Occur If My Canine Eats a Slug?

Though they might appear innocent, slugs may cause extreme well being issues in your canine if they’re ingested or in case your pet licks the mucus of a slug. Right here’s what can occur.

1. Gastrointestinal Problems

As soon as ingested, slugs may cause abdomen ache, vomiting, and/or diarrhea in canine.

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2. Lungworm An infection

Lungworm an infection is delicate if the affected canine is handled instantly. In any other case, they will die.

Lungworms are nematodes that settle within the coronary heart and the key blood vessels to the lungs. A canine turns into infested with lungworms after they eat slugs that comprise the larvae. Canines can even develop into infested after they lick a toy or their fur on which lungworm larvae reside. Even people can develop into infested with lungworms in the event that they by chance ingest an infested slug or eat unwashed leafy greens which were contaminated with slug mucus.

As soon as within the physique, the larvae flip into adults and migrate to the guts and lungs via the blood vessels. This will trigger coronary heart and respiration issues, together with pneumonia. If it’s delicate sufficient, the an infection will not be noticeable.

After almost 1 month, the grownup lungworms start to provide eggs that journey via the blood to the lung tissue and hatch into larvae (stage one, or L1). At this stage, the affected canine could have extreme well being issues.

The L1 larvae migrate to the pulmonary alveoli, which causes the canine to cough and swallow them. As soon as they attain the digestive tract, they’re eradicated via feces, and the intermediate hosts (slugs, snails, frogs, and birds) will eat them, and the life cycle will proceed.

Medical indicators of lungworm an infection in canine embody:

  • Coughing
  • Respiratory issues
  • Reluctance to train
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent bruising
  • Extended bleeding
  • Irregular blood coagulation
  • Weight reduction

Lungworms may cause bleeding within the lungs, eyes, gut, spinal twine, and liver, in addition to in different components of the physique. Demise can even happen in extreme circumstances.

3. Meals Poisoning and Salmonella An infection

Slugs wish to eat rotten supplies, together with carcasses and rotten vegetation. So, together with a slug, your canine may even eat its abdomen contents and may develop into poisoned or contaminated with Salmonella, which might result in extreme gastrointestinal issues.

Picture Credit score: Edgar Feliz, Shutterstock

4. Poisoning With Slug and Snail Baits

Poisoning with slug and snail baits is a extreme consequence of ingesting these gastropods. Sadly, it’s nearly inconceivable to inform if the slug that your canine ate had beforehand ingested toxic substances (equivalent to metaldehyde). Medical indicators of poisoning with slug and snail bait could embody:

  • Extreme salivation
  • Problem in respiration
  • Uncommon respiration
  • Uncommon coronary heart rhythm
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Gastrointestinal misery
  • Fever
  • Cyanosis (bluish mucous membranes)

In case your canine reveals these scientific indicators otherwise you noticed them consuming a slug or snail, name the vet as quickly as attainable.

What to Do If Your Canine Eats or Licks a Slug

There may be not a lot that you are able to do in your pet in the event that they eat a slug. First, brush their tooth and wash their mouth. Second and most significantly, name the vet. In case your canine ate a slug that had ingested poisonous substances, will probably be seen in your pet’s blood checks. Due to this fact, count on your veterinarian to advocate these. As well as, the vet could advocate deworming. You need to additionally monitor your canine for any indicators of sickness or adjustments of their habits.

Picture Credit score: Sergej Razvodovskij, Shutterstock

Continuously Requested Questions (FAQs)

Are Slugs Toxic to Canines?

Slugs should not toxic to canine on the whole. They’ll develop into toxic if they’ve beforehand ingested slug and snail bait. These baits comprise poisonous substances (equivalent to metaldehyde), which might poison your canine and result in extreme scientific indicators and even loss of life. So, in case your canine has eaten a slug, monitor them for indicators of sickness and speak to the vet instantly.

Are Backyard Snails Toxic to Canines?

As within the case of slugs, backyard snails should not inherently poisonous to canine, however they will develop into so if they’ve beforehand ingested slug and snail bait. Additionally, snails, slugs, and even frogs are intermediate hosts for lungworms, which might result in extreme scientific indicators and even loss of life in case your infested canine just isn’t handled in time. For these causes, it’s important to take your pet to the vet if they’ve eaten snails or slugs.


In case your canine has eaten a slug, it may be a trigger for concern. Slugs should not naturally poisonous to canine, however they are often infested with lungworm larvae, or your canine can get poisoned with metaldehyde, a poisonous chemical present in snail and slug baits. Your canine can even develop into contaminated with lungworms in the event that they lick slug mucus or drink and eat contaminated water and vegetation. Nevertheless, even when the slug just isn’t contaminated with parasites or comprises metaldehyde, it may well nonetheless trigger gastrointestinal issues. So, if you happen to see that your canine ate a slug or licked its mucus, contact the veterinarian instantly.

Featured Picture Credit score: Schwoaze, Pixabay

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