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Are Slugs Bad for Dogs? Everything you need to know about lungworm

See that slimy slug crawling in your garden or swimming in a puddle outside of your home? Please keep your dog away from it because it could easily cause a series of health problems for your dog. Slugs and snails may be harmless to the eye, but they harbour harmful parasites. The parasites could cause lungworm in your dog, or worse still, lead to your dog’s death. And we don’t want that, do we?

Dogs are curious creatures and will easily ingest a slug out of curiosity or because they think it is food. Sometimes, it could be an accidental meal as your dog chews on a favourite toy or slurps a drink from the pool outside the house. And even though most slugs and snails have a foul smell, that has never stopped a curious dog from ingesting one.

You must be thinking, what if my dog only licked the slime? Is that harmful too? The answer is yes. Some larvae of the lungworm in slugs are deposited in the slime. Once your dog eats the slime, they are at risk of becoming sick.

So, How Do I Know if My Dog Has Lungworm?

Sign warning dog walkers about reports of lungworm

If you suspect that your dog has eaten a slug or licked on their slime, here are some of the symptoms you should look out for:

  • Persistent coughs
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Respiratory problems
  • Lethargy or depressive habits
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite

Your dog could show one or a combination of two or more symptoms. And sadly, most dog owners confuse these symptoms for other illnesses. If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, consult a veterinarian to rule out lungworm and treat your canine.

Are There Breeds That are Safe From Lungworm?

No. Regardless of the breed, all dogs can become infected with lungworm if they eat a slug or lick on their slime. However, younger dogs are more exposed because of their curiosity and low immunity. Older dogs with low immunity are also at risk of contracting the disease.

Read next: Why you shouldn’t feed your dog chicken skin

How Do I Keep My Dog Safe From Slugs?

First things first, if you suspect that your dog has consumed a slug or has licked its slime, consult your veterinarian on the best dewormer to use. Please do not self-medicate your dog because not all dewormers treat lungworms.

You also need to be a vigilant pet owner. Ensure that you don’t leave your dog’s toys outside in the night to reduce the chances of slugs climbing on them. If you forget the toys outside, ensure that you wash them thoroughly before allowing your dog to play with them. Keep their drinking trough clean and change their water daily. Try and keep your dog from sniffing around in the garden. This might be a tough one, but at least try.

If you see slugs and snails in your garden, use appropriate measures to control their population. For instance, you can use sand and coffee grounds to reduce slug and snail breeding in your garden. Most of these measures are tough on slugs but hey, anything to keep your doggy safe, right?

Read next: Can you use baby wipes on dogs?


Have you ever dealt with a sickly dog and shared the trauma they go through? If you have, then you know the importance of keeping your dog’s environment safe. Slugs are your dog’s number one enemy, not because they are toxic but because they carry harmful lungworm parasites.

Keep away slugs from your dog’s environment to keep your pooch safe. And you never know, you could be saving your dog’s life!

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