Now that snow has fallen (again) in New England it is important to protect your dog from the dangers of ice melts and salt.
The main ingredient in most ice melts is either sodium chloride or calcium chloride. Both these chemicals can irritate a dog’s paws and be very harmful if ingested.
After a walk outside on these snowy days be sure to clean your dogs paws thoroughly! Even if you cannot see the ice melt, it may still be on surfaces. Dogs tend to lick their feet after a walk outside and if ice melt is lingering on their paws they could experience vomiting or diarrhea after it has been ingested. The best way to make sure your dog does not ingest a harmful or even deadly amount of ice melt products is to make sure that your dog is not eating snow or drinking from puddles.
A dog that ingests 4g (less than 1 oz.) of sodium chloride per 1kg (2.3 lbs.) of body weight could die. For example, a 4lb dog would die if only 2 ounces of ice melt containing sodium chloride were ingested.
If you rely on ice melt products to keep your sidewalks and steps from becoming dangerous, use a non-toxic ice melt, there are brands available that do not contain salt or chloride. For unknown areas, such as, the streets of Boston, you could use dog socks or boots! These will protect them from the harmful chemicals in ice melts. (Most dog socks and boots can be machine-washed after use).
It is very common for people and businesses to use some sort of ice-melting product this winter. As a pet owner, it is not difficult to protect your animals. Use a non-toxic ice melt product, clean your dogs paws or use dog socks or boots this winter.