Can Dogs Eat Snails? Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs?

Can dogs eat snails? Are snails poisonous to dogs? In this article, we’ll answer both of these questions along with teaching you the commands you’ll need to prevent any future problems. We’ll also help you keep these slimy creatures away by teaching you what attracts snails to your yard and how to get rid of snails without harming dogs. Keep reading!

Can Dogs Eat Snails?

Can Dogs Eat Snails?

Dogs should not eat snails. While snails themselves aren’t typically toxic, they can be carriers of lungworm, a parasite that can severely harm your dog. If your dog eats a snail, either accidentally or intentionally, it’s important to monitor them for signs of illness and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

Are Snails Bad for Dogs?

Snails can potentially be harmful to dogs, but it’s less about the snail itself and more about what the snail might carry. Snails (and slugs) can harbor lungworm larvae, a type of parasite that can cause serious health issues in dogs, including respiratory problems, abnormal bleeding, and general lethargy.

It’s important to note that not all snails carry this parasite, but it’s nearly impossible to tell which snails are carriers just by looking at them.

My Dog Ate a Snail

If your dog ate a snail, don’t panic. While it’s possible that the snail carried lungworm larvae, not all dogs who eat snails will become infected. However, you should monitor your dog closely over the next few weeks for any signs of lungworm, which can include coughing, breathlessness, excessive bleeding, and tiredness. If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet immediately.

Training a ‘Leave It’ Command

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from eating snails is to teach them the ‘leave it’ command. This command tells your dog to immediately stop what they’re doing and give their attention back to you. Here’s a simple guide on how to train this command:

  1. Start with a treat in both hands. Close your fists and present one to your dog. As your dog tries to get the treat, say “leave it.”
  2. Once your dog stops trying to get the treat, give them the treat from your other hand and offer praise.
  3. Repeat this process until your dog starts to understand the command. Gradually increase the difficulty by placing the treat on the floor or using more enticing items.

Remember, consistency is key when training your dog. Practice this command regularly and always reward your dog for successfully following it. With time and patience, your dog will learn to leave potentially harmful items, such as snails, alone.

But while these steps will get your dog to stop eating snails, the underlying behavioral issues (prey drive, curiosity, overexcitement, etc.) that were causing all of this to begin with will still be present. And until you address those, any positive changes you see are only going to be temporary.

“Well, how do I make these changes last?”

By getting your dog to truly choose to follow your direction, that’s how. I tried many times to write out how you can do that before deciding it made more sense to just link you to the free video series that explains it better than I’d ever be able to.

The series is by a man named Dan who is one of the world’s leading dog obedience trainers. In it, he teaches you how to put an end to things like when your dog eats snails and all other misbehavior using his fast and easy-to-follow methods.

In the first video, Dan will reveal to you why the two most common methods of dog training only doom you to failure. You can watch the video now by clicking here. Follow the proven system he’ll show you in his series and you’ll never have to spend another second worrying about your dog eating snails ever again!

Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs?

Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs?

Snails are not poisonous to dogs inherently. However, they can be harmful if they are carriers of parasites, like lungworm. It’s not the snail itself but the possible parasites they carry that pose a risk. You should prevent your dog from eating snails and monitor them closely if they have ingested a snail.

Are Snails Toxic to Dogs?

The flesh of the snail itself is not toxic to dogs. In fact, dogs may find snails enticing due to their unique smell and chewy texture. However, the major risk lies in what the snails may carry within them. A key concern is lungworms, a type of parasite that can lead to severe health problems in dogs if ingested.

Lungworm infection occurs when dogs eat snails or slugs that have been infected with the parasite. This can lead to a range of symptoms in dogs such as persistent cough, difficulty breathing, weight loss, and lethargy. In severe cases, if left untreated, lungworm infection can lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart failure.

Learn the command you’ll need to keep your dog safe around snails (and other critters) by going back to the first section.

Are Snail Shells Poisonous to Dogs?

Snail shells in and of themselves are not poisonous to dogs. However, they can still pose a risk due to their potential sharp edges, especially if they’re broken. If a dog chews or attempts to eat a snail shell, it could risk damage to its mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract due to sharp fragments.

In addition to the physical risks, snail shells can also be a carrier of lungworm larvae. If an infected snail has left larvae on its shell, a dog that chews or swallows the shell could potentially contract lungworm, even if the snail itself is not present. Therefore, you should discourage dogs from interacting with snails and their shells to minimize the risk of infection.

It’s important to get this taken care of now so that you’ll know your dog will also behave in other potential meetings. You then won’t need to worry about things like your dog eating a salamander, your dog eating a moth, your dog eating a cricket, your dog eating Japanese beetles, your dog eating moles, your dog eating ladybugs, or your dog eating a centipede.

What Attracts Snails to Your Yard?

My Dog Ate a Snail

Snails are primarily attracted to yards that offer food, moisture, and shelter. They thrive in moist, shady conditions and are drawn to gardens or areas rich in organic material where they can feed and reproduce.

  1. Food Sources: Snails are mostly herbivorous and are particularly drawn to leafy greens, fruits, and decaying plant matter. They are excellent climbers and can even find their way to the tops of trees to feed on softer, tender growth. Gardens full of their favorite foods, like lettuce or strawberries, are a big draw for these mollusks.
  2. Moisture: Snails need moisture to survive. They are more active during wet seasons and are drawn to damp environments where they can hydrate and move more easily. Gardens that are watered frequently or yards with areas of poor drainage are likely to attract snails.
  3. Shade and Shelter: Snails avoid the heat of the sun and will look for cool, dark places to take shelter during the day. They prefer locations with plenty of hiding spots like under leaf litter, rocks, or garden debris. The undersides of wooden decks or densely planted areas provide excellent cover.
  4. Organic Matter: Snails are decomposers, meaning they feed on decaying organic material. This includes fallen leaves, rotting fruits, and other decomposing plant matter. A garden with compost heaps or areas of leaf litter is a snail’s dining paradise.

The main factors that attract snails to your yard are food, moisture, shade, and organic matter. Therefore, if you’re noticing an influx of snails and wish to reduce their presence, consider modifying these elements in your yard while ensuring it remains a safe space for your pets.

How to Get Rid of Snails Without Harming Dogs

Eliminating snails from your garden without posing any harm to your dogs involves natural and pet-friendly methods. These strategies include physical removal, habitat modification, and the use of natural repellents. Always ensure any method you choose is safe for your furry friends.

  1. Physical Removal: One of the simplest ways to get rid of snails is to physically remove them. Do this either early in the morning or late at night when they are most active. You can then relocate them to a far-off area or dispose of them in a humane manner.
  2. Habitat Modification: Snails thrive in damp, shady environments and are attracted to areas with abundant food. By removing decaying plant matter, improving soil drainage, and minimizing shaded areas, you can make your garden less inviting to these mollusks.
  3. Natural Repellents: Some natural substances deter snails and are safe for dogs. Crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, or diatomaceous earth can create a barrier that snails dislike crossing. Similarly, certain plants like lavender, rosemary, and sage are natural snail deterrents and are also non-toxic to dogs.
  4. Copper Barriers: Snails and slugs are deterred by copper as it reacts with their slime, causing discomfort. Copper tape or wire can be used around planters, pots, or garden beds to form a snail-repelling boundary that is safe for your dogs.

In conclusion, with a combination of physical removal, modifying habitats, and utilizing natural repellents and barriers, you can effectively get rid of snails without causing any harm to your dogs. Always remember, the safety of your pets is paramount when choosing pest control methods. Learn how to keep your dog safe in the first section.

I’m sure you’re ready to quit spending time worrying about snails and dogs keeping their distance from each other, so I’ll let you get started now. Good luck with all of this, and thanks for reading our article “Can Dogs Eat Snails? Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs?”

The Author

KB Williams

KB Williams

Hey there! I'm a dog behavior expert and lover of travel. Since 2016, I've been sharing my knowledge of dog training and behavior while exploring the Pacific Northwest with my two rescues.