Dogs love to frolic in the snow, but owners beware! If you’re not paying attention, these 10 winter dangers can harm your dog.
Whether from a leaking container in the basement or a leaking radiator in your garage, if your dog laps up even a few licks of sweet-tasting antifreeze, it can cause lethal kidney failure. Always keep antifreeze safely stored where pets can’t reach it. If you think your dog has ingested antifreeze, contact your vet immediately. The longer you delay seeking help, the worse the outcome.
Snow obscures frozen ponds. That poses a drowning danger if your dog runs across and falls in, explains veterinarian Sarah Wooten, a member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists and a contributor to Great Pet Care. “Keep your dog on a leash in areas where there is standing or running water,” she says.
If your dog falls through ice, call 911 and let the first responders do what they’re trained to do. DO NOT go in after your dog.
Painful ice balls can build up on their paws. “You can train your dog to wear booties or ask your groomer to trim the hair on the underside of the paws short to minimize ice buildup,” Wooten says. If your dog does come into the house with ice balls on their paws, Wooten suggests a warm water paw rinse. After the ice balls are gone, apply Shea butter to paw pads if they look dried out.
Rock salt is dangerous because it can cause chemical burns on paw pads. And if a dog consumes enough of it, it can lead to dehydration and possible sodium poisoning.
“Sodium chloride, which makes up snow salt, can prove toxic to dogs, depending on the amount consumed and the weight of the dog,” says Jamie Richardson, medical chief of staff at Small Door Veterinary in New York City. Use sand, dirt or wood ash as an alternative. If your dog has consumed a lot of rock salt, contact your vet immediately.
Snow-melting products for sidewalks and roads may contain sodium or calcium chloride. The most apparent side effects of eating such substances include vomiting and stomach upset. Dehydration can occur. If your dog consumes snow salt, from an open bag or pile along the road, the side effects may range from depression and tremors to more critical seizures and blood flow problems. A toxic dosage of sodium chloride is 4 grams of salt per kilogram of the dogs weight. For perspective, ingesting a half-cup of sodium chloride can be critical for a medium-size dog.
Caroline Pizzo has written education and design articles since 2000. She has worked as an information specialist in education and as a professional floral and display designer. Her articles have appeared in womens magazines and blogs. She holds a bachelors degree in communications and journalism from Southern Connecticut State University.
A dog who starts limping after playing in the snow likely has snow lodged between his paw pads. A clear sign of this is obsessive licking or biting of the feet. When your dog ingests the salty snow, he can experience digestive issues and vomiting. Eating small amounts of salty snow this way may not have serious side effects, but can still cause your dog discomfort and excessive drooling. Normal daily salt consumption for a healthy dog is an eighth of a teaspoon for every 25 pounds of body weight. Shield your beloved pet with a pair of doggie boots.
Let your dog enjoy the snow, but realize that sodium-based snow-melting products not only irritate your dog’s paws but, if ingested, can lead to more serious side effects. Moreover, due to bacteria and parasites in untreated water, snow is not a recommended source of water for your dog.
Be a Good Neighbor It’s not only your own dog you should be concerned about. Say you live in a neighborhood where you’re responsible for clearing the sidewalk along your property. Naturally you want to make sure it’s free of ice and snow, and an ice-melting product is a good safety measure. But again, since many ice melts are harmful to our four-legged friends, even your neighbors’ pets are at risk with a chloride or salt product. So what can you use that’s both effective and safe?
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Use it on your steps, front walk, patio, deck, and sidewalk to provide a safe area for your dog to walk, without exposing him to harmful ingredients. And forget about slipping and sliding in those dog booties. “Boot the boot” with this ice melter. Your dog will thank you (and his paws will be happy too)!
Disclaimer that this product contains Urea, which is non-toxic, but can cause drooling and/or vomiting in dogs. If your dog ingests any foreign material that causes them to be sick, please consult your veterinarian.
So what do you do? A quick, easy, and safe solution is a deicing product that is gentle on your dog’s paws, without toxic chemicals, like Morton® Safe-T-Pet®.
6 WAYS to PROTECT your DOG’S PAWS (Snow, Ice and Salt)
Usually, the two go well with each other. But then there are the times the relationship turns salty – literally.
People use a lot of salt on sidewalks to help melt ice and, if not careful, it can hurt dogs – specifically their paws.
Dr. Tanner Johnson, a veterinarian at VetweRx in Denver, said the salt is an irritant to dogs skin and said its something that can be insidious because “its not necessarily obvious.” Not all dogs are going to start acting very sore on their feet, Johnson said.
“Most of these salts are used for deicing pavements and for concrete are either sodium, potassium or magnesium chloride,” Johnson said. “All of these are salts which, in and of themselves, arent necessarily dangerous when you think about it, but in the quantities and the way theyre made for roads is very caustic.”
There is such a thing as pet-friendly deicers which can be found in stores and online. Pet owners around the city are urging their neighbors, even those without dogs, to use them when treating sidewalks around their homes.
“Dont put anything down on the sidewalk that is going to hurt those pets,” Johnny Dugan said. “If I see a large amount of ice or rock salt, Ill avoid it just because I dont want anything else to happen to [my dogs] paws.”
“If you dont wash it out immediately, itll continue to irritate and cause more of a burn,” Johnson said.
Johnson recommended people wash their pets paws with a warm, wet towel after each walk. He said its “usually pretty effective” at removing the salt before it becomes too much of a problem.