Pet-Safe Ice Melts: Are They Really Safe
The mercury has started to dip, and it’s become frightfully cold outdoors. The scene looks like a winter wonderland coated in a white blanket of snow and ice but there are perils that a dog owner should know about such as - ice melt.
Types of Ice Melt
When the roadways and walkways become slippery, many businesses and homeowners use ice melt to break up the ice. Unfortunately, many forms of ice melt are dangerous to dogs.
Ice melts are formulated from various kinds of salts such as:
- Sodium chloride
- Potassium chloride
- Magnesium chloride
- Calcium chloride
Dogs and Ice Melt Ingestion
The chemicals have an unpleasant taste, and most dogs won’t ingest them on purpose, but they might accidentally by licking their paws after walking through the ice melt. On occasion, the animal might also eat snow that has been treated with ice melt. However, some dogs actually do like the salty flavor of the ice melt and will readily lick it up.
Symptoms of Canine Ice Melt Poisoning
If your dog ingests ice melt it might suffer from severe stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Often the diarrhea is so severe that the dog will start to become dehydrated. Severe symptoms can also occur such as tremors, seizures, and kidney failure.
Ice melts that contain calcium chloride can cause chemical burns to the pads of a dog’s feet and if the animal should lick the chemical off their paws, then they can sustain blistering of the tongue, mouth, and throat.
If you have to use ice melt on your icy walkway or roadway, to find a band that contain urea or magnesium chloric which are usually considered ‘safer.’
Keeping Your Dog Safe from Ice Melt
Even if the weather is cold and icy, many dog owners must walk their pet so the animal can relieve itself outdoors. However, there are a few precautions you can take to protect your dog from ice melt.
- Do not let your dog devour snow (especially slushy snow which might indicate the use of ice melt).
- Wipe your pet’s paws after they come inside using a warm, damp cloth or baby wipe.
- Use booties on your dog to protect the animals’ feet and reduce the likelihood that the dog might lick off the ice melt.
- Keep all ice melt out of reach of pets.
Seek Medical Care
If your dog should inadvertently ingest ice melt, seek the help of a qualified veterinarian immediately.
If you walk your dog in areas that are regularly treated with ice melt, you should become familiar with the possible symptoms that your dog has ingested the chemical:
- Increased urination
- Burns on the mouth, tongue, or lips
- Muscle weakness
- Body weakness
- Neurological issues
- Drop in blood pressure
Safe Alternatives to Ice Melt
You do have options to avoid the use of harmful ice melt. Try the following:
- Kitty Litter: Kitty litter is affordable and works well. It does not melt the snow but instead creates traction on the icy surface so you can more easily walk across the perilous ice.
- Sand: Sand works in a similar fashion to kitty litter. It creates a gritty surface to walk on and reduce the danger of falling.
- Pet Safe De-Icer: There are commercial pet-safe deicer options available that work well.
Keeping your dog safe this winter should be your number one priority whenever you take Fido for a walk. Avoiding ice melt or opting to use safe alternatives are two options that you can take to keep your pet safe from ice melt.