Can Dogs Eat Snails? Wild Wonders

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Author: Jacob Kay

You might be fed up with those clingy little snails 🐌 wandering in your garden. Well, you can’t get rid of that. But, you saw your dog accidentally, out of curiosity eat one. What to do? Is it safe? Can dogs eat snails?

Can dogs eat snails?

Apart from garden terror, snail dishes are eaten in many parts of Europe and it might be one of your favourite dishes. You might think that cooked snails will have no harm on your Fido. Really? Let us know if dogs 🐶 can eat snails either raw or cooked!

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Can Dogs Eat Snail?

Snails are edible for humans and are considered as delicacies in many European countries like France, Spain and Italy. Snail dishes are usually high in protein, low in fat and contain various vitamins and minerals.

While a well-cooked snail serves so many benefits to us, can it be the same for dogs? Can dogs eat snails? Well, the answer to this is not that simple. If your dog 🐶 just tastes a cooked snail then it won’t harm him. However, you need to consider various factors before jumping to the conclusion. Here is what you need to know!

Health Risks of Dogs Eating Snails

Directly coming to the health risk as there aren’t any possible benefits of eating snails. Though snails 🐌 are a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals, they won’t influence the dog positively, even if consumed cooked.

Parasites That Snails Can Transmit

Snails may carry parasites such as roundworms, hookworms or lungworms that can infect dogs. The larval stage of these parasites sometimes dwells on snails. If your dog 🐶 eats it raw then there are chances that the dog ingest the infected snails 🐌 and become infected. One of the most common risks is developing lungworm, which can cause respiratory issues in dogs.

Lungworm in Dogs

Lungworm is caused by a parasitic worm that can travel around your dog’s body through its blood vessels. It affects his heart, lungs and other parts of the body. Generally, dogs get lungworm by eating larvae found in infected snails, slugs or frogs.[1]

lungworms in dogs

The lungworm stays in the body for several days and over time it grows and starts producing its own larvae. This can lead to serious problems like heart problems, breathing problems and pneumonia. Thus, it becomes important to look for symptoms and consult a vet 👩‍⚕️ if your dog accidentally eats a snail.

Symptoms of lungworm are:

  • coughing
  • breathing problems
  • not wanting to exercise
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • weight loss
  • minor injury or cut might bleed for longer

There are no blood tests that will definitely diagnose lungworm in dogs. A definitive diagnosis of a lungworm infection is usually made by the identification of parasite stages in the faeces of an infected animal“, confirms Krista Williams and Cheryl Yuill at VCA Hospitals.

Toxins and Poisons That Snails Can Contain

Snails eat a large variety of plants, fungi and organic matter. Many of them might be poisonous, accumulating toxins in its body. When a dog 🐶 eats this he can likely be at a risk of these toxins. However, the toxicity depends on the type of snail as well as what has he been eating.

Damage from Sharp Snail Shells

The sharp, jagged shells of snails 🐌 can harm dogs if ingested, causing damage to the mouth, throat, or stomach lining, resulting in tears or internal injuries. Hence, dogs should avoid eating raw snails. Most dogs don’t actively seek them out but will eat them by accident because they don’t taste good.

Exceptions and Special Considerations

Although snails are generally considered risky, certain species may be less hazardous. Take, for instance, decollate snails, which are occasionally employed by gardeners to manage other snail pests. These snails are known to harbour fewer parasites and toxins.

However, it is important to be cautious as they can still cause injury to the mouth or digestive tract due to their sharp shells. Moreover, these snails are less hazardous than others but still can pose health risks to a dog 🐶.

A small amount of snail slime or meat is usually harmless for dogs. They can lick it or taste a little bit of it. However, it’s best to avoid feeding them intentionally due to difficulty in controlling the amount consumed. Thus, it is better not to feed raw snails to dogs.

What About Cooked Snail?

Now that you have known that raw snails 🐌 are dangerous to a dog’s health you might be tempted to feed your dog cooked snail. Now, is it healthy for your dog? Can dogs eat cooked snails? Well, wait! Your dog can’t eat cooked snails either! Why? Here are some reasons.

Reasons you can’t feed cooked snails to dogs:

  • Cooking snails can kill some parasites but does not eliminate all parasite risks. Lungworms and others can still be present after cooking.
  • The toxin content in the snails is not negated even after cooking them and can pose the same danger for dogs 🐶 as the raw ones do.
  • Some seasoning used while cooking snails like onion, garlic and other spices can be poisonous to dogs and lead to serious problems.[2]
  • The risks of gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhoea still exist when dogs eat cooked snails, especially if a lot of them are ingested.

Cooking may reduce some risks compared to raw snails but does not make snails entirely safe. Therefore, it clearly makes sense not to feed snails to your dog; neither raw nor cooked!

What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Snail?

But, what to do if my dog eats a snail? Well, many paw parents linger around this question. There’s nothing to worry about if your dog has eaten one snail out of curiosity from the backyard. However, you need to keep a close eye 👀 on him.

dog with a vet

Check for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing or loss of appetite. If any of these symptoms persist for more than 24 hours then you should check with the vet 👩‍⚕️. Your vet may induce vomiting, treat for potential toxicity or prescribe any medication depending on the case.


  1. Is it okay for dogs to eat snails?

    Accidentally eating a snail from the garden or the backyard is okay, but never intentionally feed snails to your dog; neither raw nor cooked. Not only this can pose a danger to your dog but in the long run, it can cause serious health problems.

  2. Why dogs can’t eat snails?

    Snails carry parasites like roundworms, hookworms or lungworms which can affect the dog badly if consumed. Even a small amount of these parasites are enough to cause poisoning in dogs. It can not only hurt dogs but can be fatal.

  3. Do snails make dogs vomit?

    Dogs can get infected with lungworm when they come into contact with the slimy substance produced by snails. As a sign of lungworm, the dog might show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea or breathing problems.

Wrapping Up

So, can dogs eat snails? Well, the answer to this question is definitely a no! Dogs can’t eat or even lick snails. The reason behind this is the parasites that dwell on the snail. These can cause fatal diseases can may even lead to death if not cured on time.

Many nutritious food is available out there for your Fido; both natural as well as packed. It is better to feed him food that is beneficial for him and promotes his overall health. Said so, if your dog accidentally eats up a snail then don’t worry just look for signs of illness, but never intentionally feed him snails. Let you Fido have a happy and healthy life! 🐾🐶


  1. Potentially lethal rat lungworm parasite found throughout Florida »  College of Veterinary Medicine » University of Florida.
  2. Onion, garlic, chive, and leek toxicity in dogs | VCA Animal Hospital | VCA Animal Hospitals. (n.d.). Vca.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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