Some dogs will happily ignore a snail or slug, but many will want to investigate, perhaps even choosing to purposefully eat them. The size of some small slugs and snails means they can be accidentally swallowed when your dog plays with toys, drinks from puddles, eats grass, rummages through the undergrowth, plays with toys left in the garden or drinks from outdoor water bowls
Dogs have plenty of opportunity to come into contact with slugs and snails on walks. Slugs and snails thrive in warm and damp conditions, so spring and autumn are peak times for slug and snail activity.
If your dog swallows slugs or snails there is a risk he/she could become infected with lungworm, which can be fatal.
Snails will hide themselves in areas of dense vegetation or under objects left in the garden, so you can never be sure where they are hiding.
Snails will also seek out areas of moisture in their immediate surroundings, and a recent study suggested an ability to detect areas of humidity from as far away as10 metres. It is therefore very important that dog owners to are aware of outdoor water bowls, puddles and ponds from which dogs will drink as potentially high risk areas for lungworm.
In recent years, slugs and snails have enjoyed a population explosion due to increasing wet weather and favourable breeding conditions.