12/07/2013 12:56 BST | Updated 11/09/2013 06:12 BST

Dangers of Slug Pellets to Our Pets


With the Met Office's weather forecast for the next month or so indicating outbreaks of rain, conditions are likely to be perfect for slugs and snails, leading to a probable increase in numbers of these molluscs visiting back gardens and of course our many of our beautiful British public spaces.

But it's so important dog owners appreciate and remember the dangers posed to their four legged friends by the use of slug pellets as they are extremely poisonous to our pets causing severe illness and in the worst cases, death.

Humid damp conditions mean we commonly observe a spike in cases of dogs and cats with slug pellet poisoning, as increased use makes it far more likely for your pet to come into contact with them.

Pesticides are of course purposely formulated to be deadly but sadly the consequences of this mean they may affect animals other than their target species too. Metaldehyde-based slug pellets are very dangerous to pets - even small amounts of pellets can cause significant poisoning - with severe signs can easily develop within an hour of consumption.

If your dog, or any other pet, is suspected of ingesting slug pellets, you should call your vet immediately. Tiny amounts of metaldehyde ingestion will often cause a range of sudden onset symptoms ranging from anxiety, twitching, and fitting, to vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive panting, drooling, uncoordinated walking, muscle tremors, hyperthermia, even increased sensitivity to light, touch, and/or sounds; so quick action on your part can help save your pet's life.

The active ingredient metaldehyde is sometimes solid fuel for camp stoves and works by primarily affecting the nervous system of both dogs and cats, although it's more commonly observed in dogs.

Diagnoses of slug pellet poisoning involves a thorough history of your dog or cat's health, full clinical examination, blood tests, and often obvious presence of pellets in vomit or diarrhoea; and please remember to take any relevant packaging to your vet helping us identify which pesticide we're dealing with.

For more information, or if you're worried your pet's been poisoned, call your vet ASAP.

Pic: Slug pellets can be lethal to dogs like Teddy Boy so please keep them safe and well away from all pets