Are Slugs Poisonous to Dogs?


When wandering in the garden or during their daily walks, dogs are bound to come across various critters, and slugs are no exception. Their curious nature often leads them to poke and prod, making dog owners wonder about the safety of such encounters.

What are slugs?

Slugs are gastropod molluscs, similar to snails but without shells. They are commonplace in moist environments and come out predominantly during the night time or after rain.

Why dogs are attracted to slugs?

Dogs, with their playful and inquisitive nature, often find slugs intriguing due to their movement and texture. This curiosity can sometimes lead to a nibble or two.

The Danger Aspect

It's essential to address the risk involved when your dog gets too close for comfort with slugs.

Poisonous slugs to dogs

While a variety of slugs lurk around the garden, not all of them pose a threat to your canine companion. However, certain types can harbour parasites like the lungworm which can transfer to dogs upon contact or ingestion.

The Lungworm Threat

Lungworms, scientifically known as Angiostrongylus vasorum, are dangerous parasites carried by some slugs. If your furry companion gets curious and decides to snack on a slug, there's a chance they might ingest the lungworm larvae residing inside the slug. Once inside the dog's system, these parasites travel through the body, making their way to the heart and lungs, causing serious health complications.

The manifestation of a lungworm infection can be anything from coughing and breathing difficulties to behavioural changes and, in severe cases, heart failure. The danger escalates when the infection is left unnoticed or untreated, morphing into a life-threatening situation over time. Regular faecal examinations by your veterinarian can help detect and treat lungworm infections early, safeguarding your pet's health in the long run. The treatment generally involves a course of specialised anti-parasitic medication which can swiftly eradicate the lungworms, reinstating your dog's health and vitality.

The sinister silence of a lungworm infection, especially in its early stages, emphasises the importance of routine vet check-ups and a keen eye on any abnormal behaviour or symptoms in your dog. The mantra is simple: a cautious owner equals a safe and happy dog!

Prevention Measures

Nipping the issue in the bud by taking preventive steps is a crucial part of ensuring your furry friend's safety.

Creating a safe outdoor environment

In the quest to shield your furry friend from the hazards posed by slugs, orchestrating a safe outdoor environment is paramount. Kickstart this protective measure by ensuring your garden is in tip-top shape, as an unkempt garden is a haven for slugs and other harmful critters. Trim the overgrown foliage, remove stagnant water, and clear away food leftovers promptly to deter slug infestation.

Furthermore, consider integrating natural deterrents to keep slugs at arm's length. Sprinkling crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, or diatomaceous earth around your garden creates a barrier that slugs find unpleasant to crawl over. You might also want to encourage natural predators like birds and hedgehogs into your garden in order to maintain a slug-free outdoor haven.

Training Your Dog

While creating a slug-hostile environment is a proactive step, coupling it with a well-trained dog amplifies the safety net. Training your dog to steer clear of slugs and snails can be a lifesaver, literally. It’s advisable to embark on a training regime that reinforces commands like “leave it” or “drop it”, which come handy in dissuading your dog from munching on these slimy critters.

Training sessions should be consistent, positive, and rewarding. Utilising treats and praises when your dog obeys the command to avoid slugs will encourage this behaviour further. It might also be beneficial to engage the services of a professional dog trainer to instil these vital commands effectively.

Together, a well-tamed garden and a well-trained dog create a robust defence against the potential peril slugs pose, ensuring the outdoors remain an exhilarating, yet safe haven for your beloved pet.

Symptoms of Slug Poisoning

Knowledge of the symptoms can aid in quick detection and action.

Immediate signs

At the onset of a potential lungworm infection, triggered by slug ingestion, your dog may exhibit a collection of concerning symptoms. One of the initial indicators is a sudden bout of coughing which could be a response to the lungworm larvae migrating through their body. Fatigue or lethargy is another early sign, stemming from the discomfort and internal struggle against the invading parasites. You might also observe a noticeable change in your dog's behaviour such as decreased appetite, reluctance to play, or a generally subdued demeanour. These initial signs are your dog's way of signalling that something is amiss and demands immediate attention.

Long-term Symptoms

Should a lungworm infection remain undetected or untreated, the parasitic invasion progresses leading to a host of long-term symptoms. Weight loss is a common manifestation as the internal distress might suppress your dog's appetite or hinder nutrient absorption. Breathing difficulties escalate as the lungworms establish themselves in the respiratory system, potentially causing severe respiratory distress. Persistent coughing, a continuous effort to alleviate the discomfort in the lungs, also becomes a prolonged ordeal.

These long-term symptoms are not only distressing for your pet but can cause a significant decline in their overall health and quality of life. Timely recognition of the immediate signs and subsequent veterinary intervention can avert the progression into long-term suffering, showcasing the importance of vigilance and prompt action in preserving the well-being of your cherished canine companion.

Treatment Options

Prompt treatment is essential for a good prognosis.

Vet check-ups

Regular vet visits will help in early detection and treatment.

Medications and recovery

Based on the diagnosis, medications and a recovery plan will be advised by the vet.


It's always better to be safe than sorry. Ensuring a safe environment and being vigilant about your dog's interactions with slugs can go a long way in keeping them healthy and happy.


  1. Are all slugs dangerous for dogs?
    • No, not all slugs are dangerous, but some carry parasites that can be harmful.
  2. How can I prevent my dog from eating slugs?
    • Training and ensuring a slug-free environment can help.
  3. What are the symptoms of lungworm in dogs?
    • Symptoms include coughing, fatigue, weight loss, and breathing difficulties.
  4. Is there a treatment for lungworm?
    • Yes, vets can provide medication and a recovery plan for treating lungworm.
  5. How often should I take my dog to the vet for check-ups?
    • Regular check-ups, at least once a year, or more frequently if there are health concerns, are advised.

Discover a Safe Haven for Your Canine Companions with Cooper and Gracie

When it comes to the well-being of your beloved four-legged family members, taking preventive measures is imperative. At Cooper and Gracie, we champion the cause of providing natural, cruelty-free care products for your dogs, ensuring they remain happy and healthy through every life stage. Moreover, our holistic grooming and wellness solutions ensure not just a disease-free but a delightful life for your furry companion. With Cooper and Gracie, step into a world where nature meets nurture, giving your pet the uncompromised care they rightly deserve. Act now, make a wise choice for your dog's long-term health and happiness. Explore our diverse, eco-friendly product range and embark on a journey towards a safe, serene, and slug-free environment for your cherished canine companion. Your proactive action today is a pledge for their safe and playful tomorrow. Visit Cooper and Gracie and redefine pet care the natural, compassionate way.

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