7 Dog-friendly Snail Bait Alternatives

Snails are notorious pests in our gardens, and if not kept under control, can destroy our beautiful plants in a short amount of time.

And while there are pesticides to help us keep them under control, using traditional snail bait can become a problem, especially if you have a dog that likes to hang out in your garden.

As a dog owner trying to keep snails out of your garden, it’s best to find effective yet dog-friendly alternatives.

So, in this article, we’ll provide you with safe options to control snails without harming your four-legged best friends!

Understanding The Dangers Of Snail Bait To Dogs

JanWolanski.com / Shutterstock.com

Snail bait is a type of pesticide used to control snail and slug populations in gardens. This pesticide comes in the form of pellets, granules, or liquid formulations, with the pellets being the most common form.

But what makes this pesticide dangerous to dogs? Traditional snail bait’s active ingredients include metaldehyde and methiocarb – two ingredients that are harmful (fatal, even) to other animals, including dogs.

The pesticide is so harmful that it only takes less than a teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight to cause poisoning in your dog.

Due to their pellet form, and sometimes the scent they emit to attract snails and slugs, dogs also find them tempting and tasty.

Furthermore, snail bait in the form of granules and liquid formulations may pose a threat to your dog when it comes into contact with their paws or skin.

And due to the danger of traditional snail baits to dog, more and more dog owners are looking for safer alternatives to the pesticide.

Symptoms Of Snail Bait Poisoning In Dogs

When a dog ingests this pesticide, symptoms can develop rapidly. And these include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Anxious behavior
  • Excessive panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures

If left untreated, symptoms of snail bait poisoning will worsen and will also include:

  • Collapse
  • Hyperthermia
  • Liver failure
  • Respiratory failure

Snail Bait Poison Treatment For Dogs

Golden Retriever'S Dog Paw With Catheter For A Dropper
Kseniia Titova / Shutterstock.com

Since symptoms of snail bait poisoning occur rather quickly, it is very important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

There is no specific antidote available for metaldehyde poisoning, which can make treatment challenging. However, there are other ways to treat the symptoms that the dog experiences when they get poisoned, including:

  1. Inducing vomit
  2. Monitoring heart rate and blood pressure
  3. Stomach pumping to remove remaining poison
  4. Absorbing toxic substances with activated charcoal
  5. Putting the dog on IV fluids to flush out poison and prevent dehydration
  6. Treating muscle twitching and seizure with medication

Treatment for the poisoning will depend on how early you are able to bring your dog to the vet. Usually, dogs who are treated immediately will recover.

However, for dogs that do not receive immediate medical attention and have developed worse symptoms, recovery or survival is low.

7 Safe And Dog-friendly Alternatives To Snail Bait

There is no doubt that snails are one of the many enemies of gardeners. And it becomes challenging to control or get rid of them when you have a pet dog to consider.

So, below we listed down safe and dog-friendly alternatives to snail bait so you can continue enjoying the beauty of your garden and the company of your dog.

1. Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds Being Added To The Soil As Snail Bait
ThamKC / Shutterstock.com

If you’re a coffee lover, then you’ll be pleased about this safe and dog-friendly alternative. You can use leftover coffee grounds on the plants you want to protect, and snails will naturally steer clear of those plants.

Coffee grounds contain caffeine, something that is toxic to both snails and slugs.

You can choose to sprinkle the coffee grounds on your plants, or you can create a solution by mixing one-part fresh coffee grounds to five parts water and spray it over your plants.

2. Copper Tape

Snails hate copper! So, if you want to deter them from eating your plants, using copper tape around plant pots is another great alternative.

When snails come in contact with copper, it causes a harmless electric shock, so they crawl away or avoid it. Copper with +2 ions are also said to carry charge that interferes with the snails slime, which they do not like.

Here’s a copper tape we recommend that will get the job done:

3. Egg Shells

Crushed Eggshells Around A Young Plant, Intended To Protect The Plant From Voracious Snails
Hans Wismeijer / Shutterstock.com

Another good alternative to deter snails on your garden is by spreading crushed egg shells around your plants as a sort of barrier. This is because snails don’t like how sharp they are, so they have a hard time ‘walking’ over them.

Before putting the crushed egg shells, make sure they had enough time to dry. Furthermore, make sure to replace them after they get soaked in the rain.

However, this method might not be suitable for large gardens. Because when using this method, you will need a lot of egg shells in order to protect your whole garden.

4. Organic Snail Bait

There are also a number of organic, and environmental friendly snail bait that do not contain metaldehyde. While organic snail bait do not contain metaldehyde, you have to use them sparingly and not like how you use fertilizer.

Here’s an organic snail bait we recommend that is Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listed:

5. Beer Trap

Beer Trap As A Snail Bait Alternative
Martina Unbehauen / Shutterstock.com

Another safe alternative that gardeners swear by is by baiting them with a cup or tub of beer — because snails love beer!

Apparently, snails and slugs love the smell of yeast and malt in beer. And the more yeast and malt is in a beer, the more snail love it! They even prefer the smell of beer to the fresh smell of the plants in your garden.

So, a beer that has more yeast and malt is ideal for your beer trap. You can pour beer over a cup or tub and place it in the garden where you often see snails. They will get tempted to drink the beer, get intoxicated, fall over the cup or tub, and then eventually drown.

You can choose to sink the cup or tub into the ground so it’s easier for the snails to fall in, or you can just put the container on the ground as is.

6. Wool Waste Pellets

Wool waste pellets are not only good for deterring snails, but they also have a lot of benefits for your plants.

Wool waste pellets protect your plants from over watering. They also expand with water, so they will increase oxygen levels, adding aeration and porosity to your soils. And they are also a natural fertilizer because when they slowly break down, they release their nutrients back to the soil.

When the pellets expand, snails find the fibers of the wool annoying to crawl over, so they immediately retreat.

7. Grow Plants That Snails Hate

Girl Pruning Lavender Bush In The Garden
Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich / Shutterstock.com

There are certain plants that snails and slugs just don’t like. If you want to protect your other plants, you can try growing the following plants around them:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Fuchsias
  • Nasturtiums
  • Scabiosa
  • Fennel

Note that while snails hate garlic and chives, they are also toxic for your dog, so they’re a big no no.


Snail On A Branch With Green Leaves
Suwit Chanaaiyarat / Shutterstock.com

While snails ravaging your garden can be a real problem, using traditional snail bait is very dangerous and fatal to your dog.

So, for dog owners who are trying to create a snail-free and safe environment in their garden, we encourage you to opt for snail bait alternatives that are safe for your dogs.

And we hope that the seven safe and dog-friendly snail bait alternatives we provided will help you control slimy pests without having to worry about your dog’s well-being.

Have you tried any of these methods? Or do you have any other effective dog-friendly snail bait alternatives? Share them with us in the comments below!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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