Ice melts are products used on driveways and sidewalks to melt ice and snow. Most products contain large amounts of sodium or chloride that comes in multiple forms including sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride.
Ice melt products can get caught between the paw pads and cause irritation including redness, inflammation, cracking, and pain.
The most dangerous aspect of ice salts can come from ingestion of the product. Most pets don’t purposely eat ice melts (although I have seen a rare few that seem to like it) but ingest it when the product is stuck to their haircoats (some pets frolic and roll in the snow) and paws or from eating snow. Possible signs are serious and even life threatening that include vomiting, lethargy and neurologic problems leading to tremors, seizures and death.
Here are some ways to protect your pet:
- Discourage your pet from eating the snow.
- Keep ice melt products at your home out of the reach of pets. A good option is to store products in a sealed trash can.
- Wash off your pet’s paws when they come in the house.
- If your pet has a high possibility for exposure (such as you live in the village where lots of business may put out ice melts) consider dog booties.
- Use a paw moisturizer or paw wax.
- Use a “pet friendly” product around your house. These products are less dangerous but can still cause vomiting and diarrhea. It is best to avoid all products but sometimes they are necessary.
We hope these tips help to keep your pet safe. If your pet ingests and ice melt product, please call us, MedVet or Ohio State if we are not open.