What household products kill mice

Slug pellets can be a hazard to pets and young children

Many garden owners rely on slug pellets, hardware stores sell the animal control agent in their range. But although some manufacturers advertise on packaging with phrases such as "protect hedgehogs and other beneficial insects", the contents can be dangerous for animals and small children. A case was even reported to the Schleswig-Holstein consumer center in which a dog ate slug pellets in the garden and died after a few hours.

Animals and small children are sensitive to metaldehyde

It is not an isolated case that the substances are ingested by humans and animals. Calls to slug pellets are also received at the Bonn Poison Center, which operates an emergency telephone for North Rhine-Westphalia, a spokeswoman described to us. Both animals and people are affected.

The bitter substances added to the slug pellets apparently do not provide adequate protection against consumption by animals and small children.

As with all substances, it depends on the amount, the period of ingestion and the specific ingredients, whether there is a risk. Metaldehyde, which, according to the consumer report, was also contained in slug pellets in Schleswig-Holstein, is more questionable for the poison control center than possible alternatives. "Dogs are very sensitive to this, children are sensitive."

If there are any problems, poison emergency services or the doctor can help

The consumer advice centers warn against the careless use of slug pellets with metaldehyde. The typical blue grains pose a danger to pets and small children. This should be made much clearer by warning notices. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case, with trivializing statements being advertised. That mustn't be, something urgently needs to change here.

Garden owners should be careful with slug pellets and ensure that pets and young children are kept away from and do not eat. If this does happen, call a poison control center (for example in Bonn or at the Berlin Charité) or see a doctor.

There are alternatives to chemistry

There are alternatives to slug pellets with metaldehyde on the market, which the Federal Environment Agency advises against. According to the Bonn poison control center, iron (III) phosphate is less dangerous for animals and people if ingested. We also recommend iron (III) phosphate from an ecological point of view: It has almost no negative environmental impact.

Your own garden can also be protected by snail fences or buried mugs with beer. Piles of dead wood and pools of water also attract nudibranch predators - such as hedgehogs, frogs and lizards.

This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with the consumer centers Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia for the network of consumer centers in Germany.