Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs? Vet-Approved Health & Safety Facts

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

snail on the ground

Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs? Vet-Approved Health & Safety Facts


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If your pooch is like most dogs, they tend to get into anything and everything, and they’re always trying to eat new things. But if your dog just ate a snail, what should you do? The good news is that a snail typically isn’t poisonous, but the bad news is that you still need to reach out to a vet right away.

Snails can be incredibly dangerous to dogs despite the fact that they’re not typically poisonous. It’s a serious situation, which is why you should call the vet as soon as you realize that they slurped down a snail or slug.

dogster paw divider

Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs?

If your dog eats or licks a snail, the good news is that they’re not usually poisonous. You don’t need to call the animal poison control hotline right away, but you should consult a vet so they can put them on a preventative treatment plan for lungworm. The same applies to slugs. These two animals are similar, but a snail has a shell and a slug does not.

Health Concerns of Dogs Eating Snails

While snails usually aren’t poisonous for dogs, that doesn’t mean you should let them scarf down as many as they want. That’s because they may be harboring a parasite called a lungworm.

Lungworms are common in snails, and when your dog eats them, they can pass into their system and be deadly if left untreated. Even eating another animal, such as a mouse or bird, that has eaten an infected snail can pass lungworms to your pup, so do your best to keep them far away.

apple snail
Image Credit: Sabine Schmidt, Shutterstock

When to Take Your Pup to the Vet

If you see your dog eat a snail or slug, we highly recommend talking to your vet immediately. You want to get them on a lungworm preventative right away, and your vet can recommend what’s best for them in this situation.

If your dog starts to exhibit any signs of lungworm after getting on a preventative treatment, we recommend reaching out again. Common signs of a lungworm infection in dogs include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Rapid or labored breathing
  • Weezing
  • Lethargy, exercise intolerance
  • Collapsing

dogster paw divider

How to Keep Your Dog From Eating Snails

Now that we know why your dog shouldn’t eat snails or slugs, it’s time to learn how to keep them from doing it. There are several useful tips you can follow that can make a big difference, and we’ve highlighted a few of them for you below.

Teach Your Pup “Leave It”

A dog that listens is one that’s less likely to get into things they shouldn’t. While you can’t keep an eye on them all the time, the more you tell them to leave them alone, the more likely they won’t mess with them even when you aren’t looking.

But if your pup doesn’t know this basic command, you might see them about to eat a snail and not be able to do anything about it. If you don’t give them the proper training, then you can bet that they’re not going to listen, even when it really matters.

vizsla dog obedience training
Image Credit: ABO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

Discourage Them From Eating Anything That’s Not in Their Food Bowl

Your dog might not have a hankering for snails, but if they like to eat plants or other things they shouldn’t, they might end up eating a snail without even trying to. And it doesn’t matter if it was on purpose or not, once a dog eats a snail, they can wind up sick. Because of this, it’s best to only feed your dog food from their bowl so they don’t make it a habit of chewing on anything they can find.

Keep Food and Water Bowls Inside

Food and water bowls naturally attract snails and slugs, so keeping them inside is a great first step to keeping them clean. Wash both bowls regularly as well.

Beagle dog drinking clear water from steel bowl
Image Credit: ALEX_UGALEK, Shutterstock

Keep Waste Food Out of the Garden

While plenty of people like to use waste food as a natural fertilizer for the garden, it can also attract slugs and snails. For most people, this isn’t a big deal, but if you’re trying to keep your pup from eating snails, it can turn into a problem.

Put Your Dog on a Lungworm Preventative

No matter what you do, your pet might eat a snail. That’s why getting your dog on a lungworm preventative is so important. If your dog isn’t on one already, reach out to their vet and see what they can offer.

dogster face divider

Final Thoughts

While snails aren’t usually poisonous for dogs, you still want to keep the two as far apart as possible. They can pass on a lungworm parasite to your pup, so if you suspect your dog ate a snail or slug, reach out to a vet as soon as possible. It’s better to play it safe and keep your dog alive and healthy, even if it does cost you a few more dollars upfront.

Featured Image Credit: NérissonPhotographie, Pixabay

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.