Are Slugs Poisonous?

Having a garden and maintaining it means you encounter all sorts of pests. As you well know, slugs are one of the most frustrating pests. But are they more than frustrating? Could they be dangerous? Are slugs poisonous or not?

Garden slugs are not poisonous and can cause no real harm, in general. 

Slugs do not have an appealing appearance and do not look great. Fortunately, slugs are not poisonous, and the slime they create is also safe. If you have had the displeasure of touching a slug and its slime, you do not have to worry about any damage to your health. 

Are Slugs Poisonous to Humans?

As a gardener, you will have continuous interactions with pests like slugs.

While there are some poisonous slugs out there, in the tropics, for example, your common garden slugs pose no harm to humans. While slugs are not poisonous to humans, they carry certain diseases which can be harmful to humans.

Slugs are carriers of lungworm disease, which can be dangerous. Slugs contract the lungworm disease from feeding on rat droppings. 

However, as disgusting as this will seem, the only way to really catch anything from a slug is to ingest it or the slime it produces. And the chances of this happening are slim, we hope?

Are Slugs Poisonous to Cats?

Cats are curious animals. They tend to play with insects. One of the pests cats can be curious about is slugs. Slugs are not directly poisonous to cats, but they can be harmful if cats ingest them. 

It is important to remember that only a parasite-infected slug will harm cats. Cats that swallow an infected slug will experience sickness symptoms because of the parasite.

Slugs also pose a danger to cats because they can have traces of chemicals in them. Gardeners are constantly using different pesticides in their gardens. The slugs which consume slug pellets, for example, carry the chemicals.

As a result, the slugs pass the chemicals onto the animal which eats them. 

Are Slugs Poisonous to Cats

Are Slugs Poisonous to Dogs?

As with cats, slugs can also be harmful to dogs. Although slugs are not poisonous, they can carry parasites and diseases. Therefore, if dogs encounter an infected slug, it can be a reason to worry.

Dogs like cats are curious animals and spend most of their time outside. Therefore, it is essential to look out for your dog. 

The lungworm parasite is commonly found in slugs and is the number one reason slugs are dangerous. If your dog swallows a slug that the lungworm parasite has infected, it can become infected.

Lungworm Slugs

It is important to monitor your dog or any pets you have for lungworm symptoms. If your pet has been infected with the parasite, it will cough, progressively worsening. Lungworm symptoms also include low respiratory rates, sneezing, and laziness. 

If you spot any signs of lungworm infection, you should contact your vet immediately. It is treatable if caught.

If slugs do not have any parasites, they might still have traces of chemicals in them. These chemicals are found in slug pellets, pesticides and insecticides. Slugs feed on plants which are often sprayed with chemicals. When dogs eat slugs, they also ingest these chemicals. 

Is Slug Slime Poisonous ?

Slug slime may look disgusting and appear like a dangerous substance, but it is not.

Animals, like cats and dogs, are curious and may often lick the trail of slime. Unfortunately, if a slug is infected with parasites, its slime can be harmful. If cats and dogs ingest the slug slime, they are at risk of contracting the parasite. 

It is essential to keep an eye out on your pets to ensure there is no slime on them and they do not lick it off. You can get the slime off by ensuring it is dry and wiping it down with a cloth. Then, you can go ahead with some soap and water. 


It is natural to wonder if slugs are poisonous since you counter them so many times in your garden. Slugs are not poisonous, but they can carry dangerous parasites that can harm humans and animals, but only if ingested.

Some slugs have the lungworm parasite, and they can pass it on to humans. 

If you have pets like cats and dogs, you know that they are curious animals. It is important to ensure that your pets do not ingest slugs. Otherwise, they can contract the parasite. Your pets should also not be licking any slug slime.

Even if the slug is not infected, it may have traces of slug pellets and other parasites in its system, which can be harmful to pets if they ingest it.

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