I know that snail bait kills dogs …because it killed Fred, one of my pit bulls, and almost got the life of my darling Prudence too.
UPDATE: Pru died too about a week later. Sigh.
Snail bait is commonly formulated in pellets (which can resemble dog food) and flavored with molasses or bran to attract snails (and unfortunately is attractive to dogs as well). Snail baits are also available as liquids and powders which can get onto paws and be licked off in normal grooming. Very little snail bait is required to cause poisoning (less than a teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight).
I bought the snail bait when I was angry 2 years ago after having some snails eat most of my leafy greens in the garden. We’re way smarter than snails so I was sure I would find a way to beat them at Home Depot. When I asked what my options were, they showed me the “really toxic” stuff and the “pet-friendly” semi-toxic stuff. They can both kill your dogs. Being a novice gardener, I bought both, but changed my mind by the time I got home since I wanted an organic garden, put the box in the back of the shed and forgot about it.
Fred was a foster dog that I had for a few months. He had been in the shelter for a long time, his ribs stuck out and he would inhale his food like a vacuum cleaner. Prudence is my dog and she is a bit more picky, though never denies a good snack. One of them found the cardboard box, smelled the delicious ingredients meant to lure snails and ripped it open consuming the entire contents. My roommate found them and immediately jumped to action. He works at a hospital and could tell something was wrong. I’m so glad he was there because what happened as they started to metabolize the poison is horrifying.
Metaldehyde toxicity causes severe seizures, so while the vets tried to get the dogs to throw up the bait, there was a significant chance of them inhaling their own vomit and aspirating. That’s what happened to Fred. Pru has stuck it out so far but had terrible seizures for 48 hours before I asked for her to be put on anesthesia to give her body some time to re-group. Basically, the vets control the symptoms until the body can process the toxins. There’s not a lot they can do to get rid of the poison other than having them vomit before they seize and giving them enemas.
As of now,Prudence is stable, has a fever, doesn’t recognize me and can barely walk. The vet said the symptoms will subside but it’s a horrible thing to go through. Not to mention it’s going to be thousands of dollars in vet bills which I am luckily able to pay. You might not be so lucky and be forced to choose to put your dog down.
THERE ARE NATURAL SOLUTIONS TO COMBAT SNAILS <— Check these out!
My favorite natural snail control (and the one that I’ve had friends use successfully), is BEER. The snails are attracted to the sugar in the beer and they drown. All you have to do is keep the traps full of beer and get rid of the bodies.
Lay down grit – Many gritty substances make effective snail repellents. Gritty substances will cut the body of the snail which will lead to it being injured. Crushed eggshells, sand or diatomaceous earth sprinkled around plants that the garden snails seem to prefer will deter and eventually kill these pests.
Traps – Another trap is to find a flat object than can provide a dark, cool, moist location. Snails love dark, cool, moist areas. You can use a board, a piece of carpet, or thick cloth to create this environment. Water an area, then lay the object down over the damp area. Return in a few days and pick up the object. You can harvest and destroy the hiding snails.
Barriers – Among effective snail repellents is barriers. This organic snail control means putting something in the path of the slugs that they do not like. Copper wire, Vaseline, even just mesh curved outwards will help repel garden snails from your plants.