Eltham Veterinary Practice
644 Main Road
Eltham Victoria 3095 AU
03 9439 8650


Snail bait poisoning

Authored by Dr. Rob Webster, Veterinary emergency & critical care specialist, Animal Emergency Service


Metaldehyde (often green coloured "Defender") and Methiocarb (mostly blue coloured Baysol) are used to kill snails and they are just as effective killing dogs and cats. Animals like the taste of these pellets and will seek them out even after being poisoned previously by snail bait.


Excitement, panting, trembling (which can develop into major convulsions leading to death), excess salivation, diarrhoea or heat stress (caused by the muscular contractions causing major damage in its own right).

The seriousness of the signs will depend on the amount of poison eaten.


Depending on the condition of the pet, we may try to make it vomit up the poison or proceed directly on to washing out the stomach under sedation/anaesthesia.


To avoid snail bait poisoning:

  • Do not use these poisons to kill snails. There are alternative methods of preventing snails and slugs from damaging your plants which you will find mentioned in many organic gardening books.
  • If you do use these poisons, place them where pets cannot reach them such as in agricultural piping or in special ‘snail houses’ which can be purchased in hardware stores.
  • Store packets of these poisons in secure places where animals cannot reach them.

© 2015 Animal Emergency Service