How do you treat rock salt poisoning in dogs? Let’s Explore

First Aid for Dogs provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical or veterinary advice.

Rock salt is a mixture of salt (sodium chloride) and grit, and is used to prevent roads becoming icy during the winter. Rock salt poisoning usually occurs in pets such as dogs and cats when they lick it from their paws or fur that has traces of the poison on it. To prevent this, in winter time, always rinse and wipe their paws when they get home from a walk or when you see they come inside. Eating rock salt commonly results in a high blood sodium concentration. This can cause thirst, vomiting and lethargy, and in severe cases, convulsions and kidney damage. Seek veterinary advice immediately.

As the temperature drops, many people are likely to use anti-freeze on their car. Prevent your dog from drinking from any puddles on the road as they could have been contaminated with antifreeze. Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is sweet and very appealing to dogs. There is an antidote (IV ethanol), but it needs to be given immediately otherwise the effects are likely to be fatal. Unfortunately, anti-freeze poisoning frequently results in fatality.

Two things to look out for at this time of year are antifreeze and rock salt.

Always contact your vet immediately if you suspect that your pet has ingested anything that could do them harm. Never watch and wait, many symptoms can take hours or days to manifest and by that time it could be too late.

Salt poisoning in dogs and cats

Table salt, for one, can cause poisoning in pets due to the amount of electrolyte sodium. Other sources of salt toxicity (aka hypernatremia) in animals include paintballs, rock salt, enemas and seawater.Â

“Salt poisoning is most often caused by not being able to drink enough water after losing excessive fluids through vomiting, diarrhea, burn injuries or in the urine,” Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, veterinary consultant for Fetch by The Dodo, says. “The other cause is excessive sodium intake through drinking sea water, eating items that are very high in sodium (like table salt), overdosing on hypertonic saline (a very concentrated saline solution) through intravenous (IV) fluid or in an enema.”

In the case you find your dog vomiting or suffering from diarrhea after long walks on the beach, they were likely drinking the salt water. Make sure you bring along an extra bottle of water for your pup and offer them a fresh drink frequently.Â

“If they’re refusing to drink, you can try adding water to their food or using a fountain to encourage them to drink more,” Dr. Singler says. “If they’re vomiting, having diarrhea or showing any signs of not feeling well, see your vet promptly so they can be treated before they become overly dehydrated.”

What happens if a dog eats rock salt?

If your dog eats a lot of salt, especially for their size, they may experience more serious effects like depression, tremors, seizures and even blood flow problems. Other side effects to look out for are increased urination, body and muscle weakness, neurological issues, high fever, and a lack of energy.

Salt Poisoning In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Treatment: There is no specific treatment for salt poisoning. Immediate removal of offending feed or water is imperative. Fresh water must be provided to all animals, initially in small amounts at frequent intervals to avoid exacerbation of clinical signs.