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Slug pellet poisoning

Dogs 33 - Slug pellet poisoning

During wet weather the number of slugs and snails increases dramatically as this type of weather provides an ideal environment for these animals. Slug pellets are commonly used to control their numbers in order to protect our gardens, orchards and vegetable farms.

Although they are meant for slugs and snails, unfortunately these bright blue or green-coloured pellets are the cause of several cases of poisoning in dogs and cats. The problem is that slug bait often contains metaldehyde, a substance that is toxic for our pets and for our wildlife.

This type of poisoning can affect dogs and cats but it is more commonly seen in dogs. The pellets are toxic even if ingested in small amounts. Severe clinical signs can occur about an hour after ingesting the pellets and it is very important for owners to be aware of this type of toxicity, since poisoned pets will need urgent veterinary treatment.

Affected animals will show incoordination, muscle spasms, muscle rigidity, twitching, tremors and seizures (fits) and possibly respiratory failure. As with all types of poisoning the sooner your pet receives treatment the better are its chances of making a full recovery.

The safest way to protect your pets from this type of poisoning is to avoid using these dangerous chemicals in your garden. If you need to use slug and snail bait you can choose a pet friendly product (pellets that do not contain metaldehyde) or you can make sure you keep your pets away from the areas where these pellets are used.

It is also very important to always use the slug and snail bait following the instructions on the package to the letter. Avoid spreading excessive and unnecessary piles of pellets to minimise the risks.  Many cases of poisoning resulted from inquisitive dogs that swallowed entire boxes of pellets found in their homes so please make sure you keep the package stored safely!

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Published: 19 Aug 2015

Read the previous article: Socialisation is not just for dogs! The socialisation period is very important for kittens too!