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D2003-26

Dear Daisy Dog

I’m having a major problem with garden slugs. I’m thinking of buying some slug poison, but I want to be sure it will be safe for my neighbors’ dogs, who often visit my house.

Daisy Responds

What a kind person you are to think about the neighborhood pets!

Unfortunately, slug baits are very toxic to us dogs – and also to cats and wildlife.

Most slug baits contain the poison metaldehyde (met-al-de-hyde) mixed into bran or molasses to attract slugs and snails. Not surprisingly, pets and wildlife are also attracted.

Even small doses of metaldehyde can cause panting, dilated pupils, lack of coordination, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart beat, seizures and death. Muscle tremors can increase body temperature to fatal levels.

Signs of toxicity occur within three hours of bait ingestion, and may begin as quickly as a few minutes after ingestion. If the pet doesn’t die then, liver failure can develop two or three days later.

Do an internet search or call your cooperative extension office to learn about integrated pest management (IPM) techniques. You’ll find many IPM approaches that are pet-friendly, gentle to the environment and effective at ridding your yard of slugs.

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