We know - a slug? The weirdest, slimiest, grossest thing you can think of, but for some reason, pups love to eat them. Unfortunately, eating a slug isn't just gross, it's also super dangerous for your pooch to ingest. Your pup can catch all kinds of gross bacteria from eating slugs, but most dangerous of all, your dog can be infected with a condition called Lungworm.
Lungworm is caused by a parasite called Angiostrongylus vasorum and can not only cause your pup a ton of pain, but also kill him if left unnoticed and untreated!
If you want to stay in the loop about how to check for lungworm, what signs to keep an eye out for, or just want a better idea of what lungworm is and what you should do if your dog contracts it, read on! Our guide will explain what body language cues you should keep an eye out for, what behaviors your dog may be giving you, and how he may be reacting that should clue you into whether or not he's ingested a slug,
Signs Your Dog May Have Lungworm
It's important to note, some dogs won't show many signs of being infected and sometimes can appear entirely healthy. Often though, your dog will show strange behavior or act differently than usual.
Some signs you should look out for in your dog are excessive coughing and fits of vomiting or diarrhea. Additionally, your dog might be suffering from lungworm if he's lost an excessive amount of weight, has fits, seems depressed, is reluctant to move or exercise, and has persistent bleeding from even tiny cuts. All of these could be signs that your dog has ingested a snail and has contracted the dangerous parasite that causes lungworm.
- Head tilting
- General Sickness
- Poor Blood Clotting
- Coughing, Sometimes Bloody
- Stomach and Back Pain
- Excessive Bleeding
- Depression or fatigue
- Weight Loss
- Paralysis/ Inability to Walk
The History of Dogs Eating Slugs
Just because your vet doesn't find worms doesn't ensure your pet isn't infected, though. The presence of worms isn't the only way to diagnose, that's why dog-tors take so many precautions and do so many tests to diagnose lungworm.
The Science Behind Lungworm
This parasite will work incrementally and ensure that your dog gets progressively worsening signs of cardiac and respiratory disease. Additionally, the parasite can get into your dog's lungs, liver, intestines, eyes, and spinal cord.
What's scariest? If left untreated, this parasite won't just cause pain and sickness, it can be fatal. The parasite Angiostrongylus Vasorum is nicknamed the French heartworm and is a species of parasitic nematode. It cannot be transmitted to humans, as it is a condition known as not zoonotic.
Training Your Dog Not to Eat Slugs
In fact, the two best commands you can teach him are "no" and "leave it," so your dog will know when to avoid something you don't want him to nibble on. Additionally, train your dog to gather his toys and bring them inside so that his toys can't be contaminated by slugs and so he doesn't accidentally eat a slug while he's playing.
You can also train your pup to drink only out of his water bowl and keep that water bowl inside at all times.
If your dog does contract lungworm, it's likely he'll have to deal with lots of vet visits and tests that aren't pleasant. Ensure that you train your dog to be on his best behavior by enforcing positive manners with treats and rewards, making sure he associates the vet with a positive experience.
How to React to Your Dog Trying to Eat Slugs
Be extra careful about snails in the spring and autumn.
Know your dog and know when he's acting funny.
Talk to your vet ASAP if you think your dog has eaten a slug.
Talk to your vet about how to control parasites and put together a program.
Don't leave toys or chewy bones outside.
Avoid outdoor water and food bowls which can attract slugs.
Vigilance is key!
Keep an eye on what your dog is eating.