Ask Burton: Q: The snails are eating up my flowers and I want to kill them, but I have two dogs that like to get into everything. Can I kill the snails and not hurt my dogs?

A: The most common slug pellet contains metaldehyde, a dangerously poisonous material if eaten by cats or dogs. The pesticide is very effective, inexpensive, and for a lot of folks, does the job very well.

Pet owners, however, should use something different. Iron phosphate granules, such as our  Sluggo Plus with Spinosad, are a pet friendly answer to the problem. Apply to affected beds every one to two weeks until the snails are done; also, try to let areas of heavy snail infestation dry out more in between watering when possible.

Burton specializes in diagnosing and solving plant problems. If you have a question for Burton, please email him at and include photos showing the problem.