During the winter months, dog walkers and dog owners have to be especially cautious when walking their dogs. When it snows or sleets, dogs are often exposed to ice melting chemicals spread out on sidewalks and streets to help people with traction by melting the ice. The most common ice melting chemicals are calcium chloride and sodium chloride. These salts, sometimes called rock salts are used by the department of transportation and homeowners who need to clear the roads, driveways, and sidewalks.
Although the spreading of the deicing chemicals are beneficial to humans, they are unfortunately very dangerous to dogs. The salt, which usually comes in pellet form, can adhere to a dog’s paws. As the ice begins melting, and the chemical reaction takes place, heat from the reaction causes irritation to their paws. A dog can also be internally effected when they lick their feet to sooth the burn. Upon ingestion, a dog’s mouth and digestive system can become ulcerous.
A dog can also ingest the chemicals when they eat snow rather than drinking water, or possibly drinking from puddles that may contain the chemicals. In order to prevent a family pet from suffering from burns or sickness, they should only be walked or taken to an area that does not have any chemicals. If you must pass an area that has deicing chemicals, it’s best to carry your dog or put covers on your dog’s paws.
For those that must melt snow and ice, there are several pet safe deicing chemicals available for pet owners.