Slugs. They cause carnage across your garden, eating up all your favourite flowers and ruining your perfectly laid out beds. The easy solution is often slug pellets. But if you’ve got a pet dog then there’s one question you must ask first: Are slug pellets harmful to dogs or not?
Unfortunately, yes, while slug pellets can be effective for killing slugs, they can be harmful to dogs.
Unfortunately, if ingested, slug pellets can cause damage to dogs because they contain the ingredient metaldehyde. This ingredient is toxic to dogs and causes damage to their nervous system, and possibly leads to death.
Slugs pellets cannot target just one pest and. Instead, they can cause harm to dogs, cats, bees, bugs and the planet.
Can You Get Dog-Friendly Slug Pellets?
Fortunately, while most commercially available slug pellets contain metaldehyde, some do not have this ingredient and are safe to use if you have dogs or other pets.
If you have an organic garden, using these pellets would especially be helpful since they can contribute positively to your garden. In addition to repelling slugs and killing them, the organic slug pellets will dissolve and act as a natural fertilizer for the soil in your garden.
Organic slugs pellets can be made of a range of materials but are most commonly made of sheep’s wool.
Unfortunately, success rates aren’t particularly high. Chemicals will always win out when it comes to success. If you douse any area with chemicals then you’re always going to kill the pests (and everything else around it).
How Poisonous are Slug Pellets to Dogs?
Very. That’s the simple answer.
Slug pellets are incredibly poisonous to dogs. It will, of course, depends on the size of the dog. But, in all cases, if you suspect your dog has ingested any amount of slug pellets then it is worth getting them seen by a vet.
Unfortunately, symptoms will rapidly get worse and worse the longer you leave it and there is a huge risk that the ingestion of slug pellets can lead to their death. Those symptoms can include dizziness, poor coordination, shivering, convulsions and vomiting.
Many of these symptoms can occur within the space of one hour.
Don’t Use Slug Pellets
If you have a pet dog (or cat for that matter) then the solution is simple. To avoid them becoming poisoned simply don’t use slug pellets.
Are Slug Pellets Toxic to Wildlife?
The majority of people who use slug pellets are unaware of the detrimental damage they can cause to wildlife. Slug pellets aren’t solely harmful to dogs, they are also toxic to wildlife.
Any animal, from a rabbit to a squirrel, which encounters slug pellets wherever you use them is likely to suffer from health conditions.
The two most common animals most likely to be impacted by the use of slug pellets are birds and hedgehogs. These animals are curious, and unfortunately, if they ingest even a small amount of the pellets, it can be fatal for them because of their small size.
Slug pellets have caused different species of animals like frogs (who can eat slugs up for you) also to disappear. This is because these slugs come into contact with animals and are the reason for their depopulation.
What Are Some Safe Alternatives to Slug Pellets?
The best thing you can do to keep your dog and other wildlife safe is to use organic methods to kill slugs. Below are a few options you have for deterring slugs without the use of slug pellets:
Create an Anti-Slug Spray
A quick spray with a vinegar-water solution can often be enough to kill the slugs. It’s a little gross and does involve killing them but it all comes down to how much damage they’re causing in the garden.
Apply Grit, Sand or Eggshells
Slugs are known to avoid uncomfortable textures. Grit, sands and/or eggshells have been shown to deter some slugs. Unfortunately, success is far from guaranteed when using them.
One of the most natural ways to get rid of slugs is to encourage their predators into your garden. Frogs are one predator who will happily munch their way through countless slugs each and every day.
It may come as a surprise but there are some plants that actually deter slugs from your garden. Strong smelling plants and herbs tend to put slugs off including lavender, rosemary and fennel. Have a look around your garden and take a look at the plants that the slugs are avoiding and plant more of those.
Copper has been shown to deter slugs. If you have slugs crawling up pots or into raised beds then adding a strip of copper tape around the outside of the pot to prevent slugs from crawling up and into the pots.
Traps are one of the most effective ways to get rid of slugs. A cheap pack of traps filled with beer will attract slugs overnight. The great thing with traps is you can see them working in real-time. You do need to continue to empty the traps regularly whilst ensuring they are topped up with beer to keep them effective.
Slug pellets are one of the most popular ways to get rid of slugs. Ultimately, they work and many gardeners become so frustrated with slugs that they succumb and spread pellets around their garden.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize the harm that these pellets can cause. Slug pellets are toxic to dogs and other animals and can lead to their death.
In addition to dogs, slug pellets also harm wildlife. Many animals like birds, hedgehogs, and frogs who, out of their curious nature, feed on pellets die. As a result, the population of these animals has seen a constant decline in the past years.
It is important to resort to natural ways to get rid of slugs, for example, organic sprays and gels. You can also opt for growing plants that slugs hate, like lavender, fennel, and rosemary. Traps, instead of pellets, are also a good option.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden