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Common Pesticide Questions

Could snail bait hurt my dog?

While pulling weeds in the garden one morning, Maria discovered several plants with irregularshaped holes in the leaves. Upon closer inspection, Maria also found trails of slime and realized slugs paid a visit to her garden the night before. She figured the slugs were hiding out nearby and would continue to make nightly visits to the garden. Maria went to a nearby garden center where the salesperson recommended she use a slug and snail bait containing the active ingredient metaldehyde. Later that afternoon, Maria sprinkled the bait around her garden and then moved on to other yard work. While pruning a rosebush, Maria noticed Cody, her 6-month old golden retriever, licking the ground where she applied the slug bait. Within a few hours, the dog was having trouble walking and began shaking. Maria called her vet immediately when Cody started to vomit on the rug.

Maria called NPIC to report that her dog was poisoned by a slug and snail bait. Click here to find out what Maria learned to become an informed consumer, what she learned about the product's potential hazard to pets, and how she could protect her dog in the future.


Take Home Message

Maria's situation could have been avoided if she had read and followed label instructions. The NPIC Specialist discussed with Maria the importance of ALWAYS reading the entire product label, including the directions and precautionary statements, BEFORE any pesticide application. Precautionary statements 1) inform you of a product's potential to cause harm, 2) identify what precautions will reduce your risk, and 3) may provide extra information about protecting pets. The Specialist reminded Maria NOT to rely on others (e.g., salespeople) to address possible risks associated with pesticide products.

Maria learned metaldehyde slug and snail baits may be attractive to dogs or other animals. These baits may poison pets if eaten in large enough amounts. Therefore, precautionary statements such as "This product can be harmful to children and fatal to dogs and other domestic animals if ingested" are required on metaldehyde slug and snail baits.

Always check the label for additional precautions and for how long pets need to be kept away from pesticide application sites (e.g., product labels for liquid baits may instruct users to keep pets off treated areas until the product is dry). Don't forget to store metaldehyde slug and snail baits, and other pesticide products, in areas NOT accessible to pets. Pets are at risk of being poisoned if allowed access to treated areas and if packages are left within their reach.

If you suspect your pet has eaten metaldehyde slug bait, consider seeking veterinary care as soon as possible. Signs of poisoning may occur within a "few minutes or up to three hours after ingestion." Timely treatment could save your pet's life.

If you suspect your pet has eaten metaldehyde slug bait or another pesticide, you may call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) National Animal Poison Control Center for medical treatment assistance at 1-888-426-4435 (a consultation fee may apply per case, which can be charged to a credit card). You may also contact your local veterinarian.

Related Topics:

What are pests?

Learn about a pest

Identify a pest

Control a pest

Integrated Pest Management

What are pesticides?

Herbicides

Disinfectants

Fungicides

Insecticides

Natural and Biological Pesticides

Repellents

Rodenticides

Other types of pesticides

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