Slug pellet warning to dog owners

The Kennel Club has issued a reminder to dog owners about the danger posed to dogs by the use of slug pellets.

With the Met Office's weather forecast for the next month indicating outbreaks of rain, the conditions are likely to be perfect for slugs and snails, leading to a probable increase in the number of them in British gardens and public spaces.

Nick Sutton, Kennel Club Health Information Officer and former veterinary toxicologist said: "As conditions become more suitable for slugs and snails, we regularly see a spike in cases of dogs and cats with slug pellet poisoning.  With wet weather unfortunately common during the British summer, there are likely to be more slugs and snails around, meaning that people are more likely to use slug and snail pellets, which in turn increase the chances of dogs coming into contact with them. The substances used in these pesticides can be toxic to animals and can cause severe illness and in the worst cases, even fatalities."

Pesticides are purposely formulated to be toxic and a consequence of this is that they may affect animals other than their target species. Metaldehyde-based slug pellets are very dangerous to pets - even small amounts of pellets can cause significant poisoning, and severe signs can develop within an hour of consumption.

If a dog, or any other pet, is suspected of ingesting slug pellets, owners should seek veterinary attention immediately.  Nick adds: "Even tiny amounts of metaldehyde can cause a sudden onset of effects, such as twitching and fitting, so quick action on the owner's part can save an animal's life."

It is recommended that if a pet has eaten slug pellets, owners try to remember to take the packet they came in to the veterinary practice with them so the vet can identify which pesticide they are dealing with.

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