4 min read


What Can Dogs Catch From Slugs?



4 min read


What Can Dogs Catch From Slugs?


You know your doggo can get into some weird stuff, and you know he probably likes to eat all of the weird things he gets into, too. But what do you do if your dog eats a slug? 

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

While it's important to train your dog to not eat foreign objects - slugs included - it's impossible to guarantee that your dog won't get into things he shouldn't That being said, it's important that you know the signs your dog may be giving you when it comes to being infected with 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.

Body Language

Here are a few very basic body language cues your dog may be giving you that indicate he's been infected with lungworm from eating a slug:

  • Barking
  • Head Tilting
  • Shaking
  • Cowering
  • Weakness

Other Signs

While it might be possible that your dog won't show any signs of unhealthiness when he contracts lungworm, it's more common that he'll be able to give you some pretty obvious signs that something isn't right. If you're concerned about your dog's health and think he may have lungworm, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • General Sickness
  • Poor Blood Clotting
  • Coughing, Sometimes Bloody
  • Stomach And Back Pain
  • Circling
  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Reluctance
  • Depression Or Fatigue
  • Fits
  • Weight Loss
  • Paralysis/ Inability To Walk

The History of Dogs Eating Slugs


Typically, if you suspects your dog has ingested a slug or has been showing signs of lungworm, you take them to the vet immediately. But how does your vet traditionally diagnose lungworm in your pup? Typically, an absolute diagnosis of lungworm is difficult to obtain. In fact, it involves a variety of diagnostic methods. You can expect your dog will have to deal with blood samples for DNA, chest x-rays, a bronchoscopy, and even an analysis of your pups stool samples for eggs and larvae that are a result of the lungworm. 

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


Lungworm is a complicated condition that deals directly with the parasite Angiostrongylus Vasorum. Once dogs are infected with this harmful parasite, the adult lungworm parasite can live inside their hearts and major blood vessels that supply the lungs - this is where they cause the most problems in pups. 

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


When it comes to training your dog on how to avoid lungworm, it's important you have some basic commands down to ensure he won't be ingesting any harmful 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.

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Written by a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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