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Advisory: Metaldehyde Slug & Snail Baits

Metaldehyde Slug & Snail Bait Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals (Dogs)

Many common slug and snail baits contain the active ingredient metaldehyde. There are several metaldehyde product labels that allow for above-ground or broadcast use on various crops and home gardens in Oregon. These pesticide labels require applicators to take necessary precautions to prevent the poisoning of dogs and other pets. Dogs in particular are attracted to bait, and will eat bait applied to the soil surface (especially if piles are allowed to form), or even rip open stored bags of bait.

Metaldehyde may be fatal to dogs or other animals if eaten. For incidents involving animals, seek veterinary care as soon as possible after exposure. Have the product container or label with you when you seek veterinary care.

Slug and snail baits are pesticides, and are thus subject to state and federal pesticide laws. Use of a pesticide product inconsistent with the product label, or in a faulty, careless or negligent manner, is a violation of Oregon pesticide laws and regulations. The basic points to remember when using slug and snail baits:

  • Confine pets during treatment.
  • Do not allow piles to form when applying bait. These are attractive to pets, foraging birds and other wildlife.
  • Keep pets out of treatment areas until the product is degraded or consumed by slugs and snails.
  • Sweep up or collect and remove any product that lands on the driveway, sidewalk, or other hard surface on which it is spilled.
  • Pick up any spills immediately and dispose of the material in an appropriate manner.
  • Store product in its original packaging, in a cool, secure location, and out of reach of children and pets.

A quick check of any slug and snail bait product label will tell whether the product contains the active ingredient metaldehyde. Other slug & snail bait products, such as iron phosphate, may require more frequent applications but may be less toxic to pets.

For questions about pesticide sales, distribution, or registration please call the Pesticides Program, Oregon Department of Agriculture, at 503-986-4635.

For questions about pesticide toxicity, disposal, etc., you can call the National Pesticides Information Center (NPIC), at 800-858-7378.