Winter Pet Hazards: Salt and Ice
So we’ve had a break from the snow and ice for a bit, but it will probably be back sooner than we would like! When the temperatures drop again, you need to be aware of more hazards that can threaten your pet – salt and ice. Ice and toxic chemicals found in many ice melters can put the paw pads of your pet at risk for drying, cracking, frostbite, and chemical burns. Ingesting these chemicals can also threaten your pet’s health. Here are some tips to prevent your dog from being harmed by these elements:
- Try a winter bootie on your dog. Our friends at Paw Joggers recommend booties made by Ruff Wear or a “minimalist” rubber bootie made by Pawz if your pooch isn’t too thrilled with the idea of wearing a bootie.
- Consider using a topical product or balm to protect your pet’s paws from the elements and help moisturize as well. Seek out a balm that is especially for pets, or you can even use Vaseline if a specialty product isn’t on hand.
- Trim the excess hair around your dog’s paws. This will help prevent ice balls from forming between the paw pads, which can be painful.
- Keep your dog’s nails trimmed. Longer nails will force the paw pad to spread out, creating more space for snow and ice to accumulate.
- Salt and chemical de-icers can be toxic to your pet. Avoid roads and areas that have been heavily treated.
- Don’t allow your pet to drink from puddles in the street since these may contain the toxins from the chemical ice melters.
- Never allow your pet to try to clean or lick clumps of snow or ice from his paws or hanging from his fur since it may also contain toxins.
- Consider using a pet-safe ice melting product instead of your usual salt or ice melter.
- Rinse your pet’s paws immediately upon returning indoors. Our friends at Paw Joggers suggest filling a shallow bucket or pan with a few inches of tepid water. Dip each paw into the water and rinse the pads thoroughly. Then dry with a towel.
- Inspect your pet’s paw pads for any irritation or cracks. Again, Vaseline can be a great soothing treatment for your pet’s paws as well as your own!
We all know how uncomfortable and painful dry, cracked, or irritated skin can be. These are some easy steps you can take to keep your pet free from discomfort or illness caused by salt and ice this winter!
written by Maria, “Mama Dingo”