During the winter, it is common for residents and municipalities to use salt to melt ice in their driveways and roadways. However, for those of you that are pet owners, you must use caution when doing so. The salt that is used to melt ice usually contains dangerous chemicals, such as sodium chloride or calcium chloride. Both chemicals are harmful to pets, specifically dogs, and can cause damage to their bodies.
The salt will cause pain to the dog’s paws, and can be even more dangerous to the pet if the salt is ingested. The pain is caused by the reaction of the salt with moisture, which causes chemical burns on the bottom of their paws. Therefore, you should clean their paws immediately after a walk, in case they had any contact with salt. If the pet eats any salt, they could suffer from potential vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. Consuming an amount as low as one ounce (1 oz.) can be fatal to the pet, depending on how big your pet is. This is equal to approximately one handful of salt. It is crucial to ensure the safety of your pet when taking him or her out for walks during the winter season.
Consider the following preventative methods to protect your pet:
- Change the route you walk on with your pet to non-salted roads, if you are aware that the road has been salted (if possible).
- Using non-toxic ice melting products, avoiding materials that are chloride-based.
- Avoiding other chemicals in the products, such as Calcium Magnesium Acetate, Urea, and Modified Crystalline Carbonyl Diamide.
- Buying protective wear for your pets, such as boots that can be washed.
- Other protective wear can be either natural cream, or wax-based paw protection.
- If the item states any warnings that it is not safe for children, then it is most likely not safe for pets.
- Always clean your pets’ paws after taking them for a walk with lukewarm water.
- If you believe your pet consumed any chemicals from the road salt, contact your veterinarian immediately.