How to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails and Keep Dogs Safe

If slugs and snails aren’t kept under control, they can munch their way through your garden, destroying your beautiful plants. But they can be an even bigger problem for your pets. Common garden slugs and snails can carry a parasite called lungworm which can be fatal.

Although not all slugs and snails carry the lungworm parasite, prevention is the best form of protection. We’ve explored the signs of lungworm and how to get rid of slugs and snails for a safe and pet-friendly garden.

Are slugs and snails poisonous to dogs?

So, what are the chances of your dog being infected with lungworm? While not every slug or snail carries the disease, this once rare condition is unfortunately widespread across the UK. And due to the seriousness of the side effects of lungworm, it’s essential to be cautious anytime your dog encounters the pest.

retriever dog sniffing flowers

Signs your dog has eaten a slug or snail

It isn’t always possible to watch your dog in the garden. Particularly at night-time when slugs and snails are more prevalent. Your dog can eat slugs and snails accidentally from toys and plants - and puppies are especially inquisitive when exploring new scents and textures.

Be aware that there aren’t always symptoms, so lungworm can go unnoticed for a long time. Look out for the following signs your dog has eaten a slug or snail infected with lungworm:

  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach pain or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding
  • Reddening in the eyes
  • Behaviour changes
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures

For more detailed information about the effects of lungworm in dogs, visit The Kennel Club.

How to control slugs and snails organically

snails on green and pink plant

The best way to protect your dog from slugs and snails is to get rid of them. There are lots of products on the market to deter and kill slugs and snails but be careful using any chemical-based pest control in your garden. Sticking to natural, organic pest control will ensure pets, children and wildlife are kept safe.

Get rid of slugs and snails without harming dogs with these simple tips:

1. Use a natural anti slug and snail spray.

A dog-friendly slug and snail spray like ours will deter slugs and snails safely. The spray acts as a natural barrier against the pesky creatures to prevent them from causing havoc.

Spray around your garden regularly to protect your plants, pets, and wildlife.

2. Apply organic slug and snail defence gel.

A pet-friendly snail and slug gel works similarly to a spray. Our slug and snail gel is made with 100% plant-based ingredients to defend against slimy pests without the need for potentially toxic chemicals.

It’s entirely safe to use around all pets, children, and wildlife.

3. Transform your garden with horticultural grit.

Slugs and snails don’t like sharp materials, so adding grit to your flower beds can keep them off your plants. Grit is not only smart, but it also helps to retain moisture in your soil and keeps weeds from shooting. However, be careful using grit around puppies as they will often chew stones – especially during teething.

4. Encourage natural predators and turn them into a tasty meal.

hedgehog on log with pink flowers

If you have a large garden, it can be challenging to keep slugs and snails away. Entice natural predators, including some birds, hedgehogs, beetles, newts and toads, to reduce numbers. Attract hedgehogs with shallow bowls of clean water and shelter to protect them from other wildlife.

5. Grow a garden slugs and snails will hate.

One way to stop your dog from eating slugs or snails is to create an unappealing environment. Certain plants are less attractive to slugs and snails. For example, herbs have a strong smell, and some plants with thick or furry leaves are less tasty. But before going down this route, it’s essential to ensure you’re selecting non-toxic plants as not all plants are safe for dogs.

What dog-friendly plants do slugs and snails hate?

dog in garden with grass and flowers

Here are our top 10 plants that are slug or snail resistant and safe for dogs:

  • Lavender
  • Heuchera (Coral Bells)
  • Fuchsias
  • Nasturtiums
  • Ajuga reptans
  • Astilbe
  • Rosemary
  • Fennel
  • Impatiens (Busy Lizzies)
  • Scabiosa

For more information about which plants are poisonous for dogs, visit The Dog's Trust's extensive list of toxic plants.

It may not always be possible to stop your dog from eating slugs and snails. But by controlling the slimy creatures, your garden will be a safer space for pets to explore and play.

View our complete organic garden pest control collection to create a natural barrier against nasty pests, protecting your garden and your pets every day. For more gardening tips, read our recent post about how to create a dog-friendly garden.