What to do If Your Dog Has Ate Slugs?

What do human babies and dogs have in common? They put everything in their mouths if they found it fascinating! Whether you have taken your baby or fur baby out for a walk, you’ll have to keep all your senses on high alert. You never know when your dog will eat a whole slug while grazing the grass. But wait, can dogs eat slugs and be fine afterward?

Can dogs eat slugs?

No, dogs cannot eat slugs. Slugs and snails can cause severe diseases like lungworm. These gastropods are not the healthiest (or tastiest) things for dogs. Most dogs eat slugs by accident during a refreshing walk in the park.

Slugs are slimy creatures that leave a trail of mucus behind them. The mucus is awful in taste, and many dogs simply throw it out if taken in the mouth. This mucus is a means of self-defense for slugs and helps them move around. For dogs, this mucus is the one thing that could get them in serious trouble.

How can eating slugs harm a dog?

So, you are back at home from the park after spending quality time with your pet dog. All seems well, but suddenly you remember that your dog has been playing with some slugs in the grass. How will you know if your dog has eaten a slug or not? Here’s how.

  • You’ll see mucus around its mouth
  • Unusual lethargy or fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Slug pieces in the mouth
  • Uncommon tongue movements
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If you see any of the above signs right after your dog has come home from outside, immediately wash your dog’s mouth and brush its teeth. Then, call up your vet as soon as possible because ingesting slugs can cause serious consequences. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of your dog eating a slug:

Lungworm

Lungworm is a parasite found in or near rat droppings. Slugs and snails are often seen around such filth. The parasite enters a slug’s body and resides there. Slugs, in turn, transmit the parasite through their slimy mucus.

This horrible parasite attacks blood vessels in the heart and lungs. If left untreated, it can permanently damage the vessels causing internal bleeding and even death. Thankfully, lungworm can be cured easily if caught on time. All it needs is an anti-parasitic drug, and your dog will be good as new.

Make sure to check up on your vet as soon as you suspect that the dog has eaten a slug. They will run some tests to check the presence of any parasite and then treat accordingly.

Slug diet

Slugs feed on all kinds of nasty stuff. They would linger around animal droppings, rotten food, and even carcasses of dead animals. This stuff may be good for slugs, but they are nothing but trouble for your dog.

There is no way of knowing what the slug has eaten before being eaten by a dog. But whatever it may be, it will adversely affect your dog’s health. At the very least, your dog can get food poisoning and diarrhea. It can also get salmonella from all the slug’s rotten meat. The first sign of food poisoning and salmonella would be vomiting and tummy aches.

Poisoning by slug bait

Slugs and snails are pests for many gardens and plants. Commercially, chemicals like metaldehyde are used to get rid of these pests. Unfortunately, metaldehyde attracts more than slugs and snails. More often than not, dogs often chew up these capsules and end up sick.

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Metaldehyde is toxic for dogs. It attacks the nervous system of dogs, making them behave abnormally. Symptoms of metaldehyde poisoning include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Excessive excitement
  • Collapse
  • Disorientation

As mentioned earlier, dogs eat slugs by mistake. They may not eat metaldehyde, but they may ingest a slug that has consumed a metaldehyde capsule. Either way, your dog can be seriously sick if not checked up on time.

How to stop your dog from eating slugs?

Dogs don’t have the mental capacity to judge what’s healthy for them. They’d eat anything they find amusing. As a responsible pet owner, it is your job to train your dog to stay away from slugs and snails. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Train your dog to leave the slugs alone if you see any.
  2. Don’t let your dog eat any plants or grass when outside.
  3. If you see your dog getting fascinated by a slug, distract its attention to something else.
  4. If you have a garden infested with slugs, use natural slug-repelling sprays.
  5. Grow the plants and flowers in your garden that the slugs hate
  6. Keep an eye on your dog in unfamiliar open spaces like parks and forests.

Related FAQs to slugs and dogs!

What should I do if my dog has slugs in his mouth?

If you notice that your dog is munching on a slug, wash its mouth immediately and brush its teeth. Then call a vet or take your dog to your nearest hospital. There is a chance that your dog could be infected with lungworm.

Why does my dog keep eating slugs?

Slugs do not taste nice, and dogs often spit them out. Dogs often eat slugs with something else they’ve been lingering around. There is no correct answer to why a dog eats slugs. The only plausible explanation is that they eat slugs by mistake.

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Recapping our thoughts on can dogs eat slugs!

Dogs are curious creatures. They would poke their little noses in everything that move. A crawling slug might get your dog’s attention while playing at the park. It is also possible that your dog eats the slug. But it is your job to take care of your dog because slugs can be really harmful to it.

Photo of author

Immad Amir

Immad has a black Labrador who is his first child. With no prior experience of how to take care of his pooch, Immad started researching about what dogs love to eat. This blog is a journal of all the research Immad has done regarding a pet's diet.
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