I know I spend a lot of time talking toxins. That’s because it’s something YOU can do something about. Pancreatitis, liver disease and cancer? Maybe not. But snail bait is one thing you can live without—for the sake of your pets.


One of my favorite clients (and an avid Dolittler reader, to boot) is a four-year convert to the charms of our beloved canines. Before that, she’d not known the immense pleasure of their company. So it stands to reason she’d not yet been initiated into the club of poisoned-pet survivors.


A little snail bait on her precious plants and now they’re not looking so worthy of chemical protection…now that Cody’s in hospital with toxic exposure to Metaldehyde.


Cody is a five year-old Rottie(?) mix with a sweet, solicitous disposition and a penchant for anything edible. Maybe he rooted in the garden soil, perhaps he drank some potted-plant water…who knows? But it’s pretty obvious he got into some of that snail bait we Floridians seem to use year-round to keep those slimies away from our horticulture.


How do we know for sure? Nothing smells of snail bait like tremors or seizures and a history of this chemical’s use. Last month I saw two cases—one died. So you can be sure I’d rather take snails over poison any day in my overgrown yard.


Still, most people don’t seem to know about this poison’s deadly effects. Small dogs are disproportionately affected, a result of their bigger relative dose. But big dogs like Cody are also susceptible to an astounding degree. Just a little bit of standing water and a lap or two later, you’ve got a pretty sick dog on your hands.


Fluids, activated charcoal, muscle relaxants for tremor-control—they’re all in our arsenal. Small dog survival? It’s often about 50-50. Big dogs fare better—but death is always an option.


Just get that stuff out of your yard at all costs. After ten big bills in the hospital and a good chance of lights out and you’ll be singing the same tune.



Image: Pawstruck.com / Flickr