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Could snail bait hurt my dog?

Yes, because baits have ingredients that dogs like. Accidental poisonings can happen even after eating small amounts of bait. For many years, the main active ingredient used to kill snails and slugs has been metaldehyde. Metaldehyde works very quickly to kill slugs, but is also very toxic to dogs and other creatures that might feed on it.

In the last decade, snail baits with iron phosphate came onto the market. Lately, a new active ingredient, ferric sodium EDTA, is available, as well. Iron phosphate is much less toxic to dogs, but also takes longer, as much as seven days, to kill slugs. Ferric sodium EDTA works almost like iron phosphate but quicker, killing slugs and snails in about three days. While these products are slow to kill, slugs stop feeding almost right away after eating the bait.

These newer products are much less toxic to dogs. They are often referred to as "pet safe", even though they can be toxic. Consider taking measures to keep your pet away from these baits.

Read the label

Pesticide labels have information on how to use products correctly and legally. ALWAYS read the entire label, including the directions and precautionary statements, BEFORE using any pesticide.

Precautionary statements...

Lowering your risk

These are some general precautions to take when using any slug and snail bait:

If you suspect your pet has eaten any pesticide, you may call the National Animal Poison Control Center for medical treatment assistance at 1-888-426-4435 (a consultation fee may apply, which can be charged to a credit card). You may also contact your local veterinarian. Timely treatment could save your pet's life.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated November 19, 2015

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