Why do dogs eat snails? We ask dogs why they do this

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Dogs can be pretty disgusting with their dietary habits, from eating cat poo through to other horrible stuff.

Snails are just another treat to many dogs and there are some pooches that will happily scoff them down, crunching their shells as they do. As an instinctive scavenger your dog doesn’t really know the difference between a slimy, gooey snail and a nice dog treat. To your dog a snail is just another easy meal.

why do dogs eat snails

Is it bad if my dog eats a snail?

It is highly unlikely that your dog will experience any problems if he eats a snail, however that does not mean that snails are always safe for him to eat.

Snail consumption by dogs can cause a serious illness known as lungworm.

If your dog becomes infected with Lungworm then he can experience coughing or more severe breathing issues such as Bronchitis or serious difficulties in breathing.

If left untreated Lungworm can be fatal.

What do I do if my dog eats a snail?

The chances are that you won’t have to do anything. Dogs have resilient digestive and other bodily systems and it’s likely that your dog will be fine.

If you notice that your dog begins to experience a shortage of breath, is coughing, has an upset tummy, or, indeed if you notice anything out of the normal, then you should get the professional advice of your vet and take him for an examination.

If you live in an area where Lungworm in dogs has been reported then you should speak to your vet to get their advice.

How do I get rid of snails without hurting my dog?

My Dog Ate a Snail or a Snail Shell...

If snails are a problem where you live then there are a few ways in which you can get rid of them safely.  There is no need to use poison or other treatments.

  • Snails do not like rough surfaces – you can put crushed eggshells down or sharp gravel in the areas where snails gather. The sharp edges of these things will deter snails from grouping.
  • Salt – Salt will kill snails and slugs although you will need to sprinkle it onto the creatures whenever you see them – often at night.
  • Beer traps – snails are attracted to beer – simply dig a small hole and place a pot inside, with the edges next to ground level, half fill the pot with beer and leave. The snails will be attracted and will fall in but will be unable to get out.
  • Hunt them down – go out after dark and simply deal with them ruthlessly.

How to stop a dog from eating snails

The easiest way to do this is to supervise your dog carefully whenever he is in an area where you know there are snails.

Dogs are scavengers and will eat snails so being proactive and taking the stance of observer and controller is the best solution.

Your dog does not know that snails can be bad for him, so prevention and supervision are the best ways to stop your dog from eating snails.

Can dogs eat cooked snails?

There is one big difference between snails that you may find in your garden and those that you are served in a restaurant.

The snails that are served for eating are edible and are bred and managed for that purpose under controlled conditions.

Cooked snails, are a good source of protein and are low in fat. There are far better foods for your dog but a single edible snail, cooked, will not do him any harm.

How to protect your dog from the risk of snails

Prevention is always better than cure. You should make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are always kept up to date and that you follow a good pattern of worming.

You should always speak to your vet about worming schedules and about the right wormers to use for your dog.  Most worming treatments nowadays are multipurpose and will keep your dog safe from a number of different worms that they can be subjected to.

Final words

Dogs are natural scavengers and the odd snail or two presents an easy and free snack that should not pose any real problems for a vaccinated and healthy animal.

That said, you should try to prevent your dog from eating snails as they can cause illnesses in some cases.

As with all things, if you are concerned about your dog’s health then you should talk to your vet to get their expert advice and opinion.

Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API