Monday, February 28, 2011
Ice melts, also known as rock salt, are substances used to melt ice. Even if you do not use them on your property, your dog will likely be exposed to them on your daily walks outside of your yard.
The Dangers of Ice Melts
Most products on the market are safe as long as they are used as per their instructions. Many ice melts will burn your lawn but can also irritate the pads of pets' feet. If your dog eats a small amount of the product, it can irritate the stomach. Ingestion of large amounts of ice melts can alter the electrolyte balance in a pet's system, causing lethargy, weakness, and even seizures. In severe cases, it can be fatal.
Some dogs will lick their feet after a walk causing small amounts of ingestion. This can cause oral irritation, drooling, nausea and vomiting in some pets. Larger ingestion can occur after dogs drink from melted snow puddles.
Ice melts can also irritate your dog's paws. The pads will get quite dry in the winter and even crack. The ice melt can be very irritating – basically, it is the equivalent of rubbing salt in a wound.
Tips to Prevent Ice Melt Problems
1. Keep all bags of rock salt out of the reach of your pet. Keep ice melts in sealed pet proof containers.
2. Do not walk your pet in areas where rock salt or ice melts have been used. (This may not be possible.)
3. Clean your pet's paws after coming in from outside when exposure to ice melts.
4. Do not let your dog drink from puddles of melted snow. These may contain ice melts.
5. Fit your dog with dog boots to protect your dog's feet and keep them clean.
6. If you use ice melts, hose down and wash off all traces of the ice melts when the weather improves to minimize further exposure to your pet.
7. Beware "Pet Safe" ice melts. Some products are labeled as pet safe but there are no regulations to prove that they are. Based on product research, you should consider all ice melts as potentially dangerous.
If you ever suspect that your pet has ingested ice melts, please contact your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately.