Taking your dog for a walk is great and has many health benefits for both of you. Yet, as the temperature drops and ice become more of a threat, homeowners will begin applying sidewalk salt to melt the ice. But is all sidewalk salt bad for your pets? While there are many pet-safe salt options, not all homeowners will use them. So what are the risks of sidewalk salt and how can you keep your pet safe.
Sidewalk ice salt is made of a variety of ingredients such as sodium chloride (table salt), magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride. While sodium chloride is safe for pets many of these other ingredients are not.
Possible risks of sidewalk salt
- Sidewalk salt is irritating to dog paws (and human skin).
- Sidewalk salt is poisonous when ingested and can cause kidney problems.
- Sidewalk salt can irritate the respiratory tract when inhaled.
What can you do to reduce the risk to your dog?
1. Try to avoid walking your dog in areas where unsafe salt may have been used.
Many public places, such as parks, don’t use pet-safe ice melt. Avoiding these areas can help reduce the risk of your pet getting non pet-safe ice melt on their paws.
2. Wipe your dog’s paws right away after each walk; this will prevent your dog from licking the salt off of his paws.
You can either use a damp cloth or a pet-safe wipe of your choice. These Earth Rated wipes also come in unscented.
3. Do not allow your dog to lick water off the ground.
Ground water can contain a variety of things, not to mention remnants of ice melt which is toxic if ingested.
4. Walk your dog is winter booties.
There’s many different brands out there but if you’re looking for a sturdy pair to invest in, RUFFWEAR makes durable boots that are not only designed for the winter but also hiking and outdoors. You can find pet booties online and at most local pet retailers.
5. Use pet-safe ice melt.
The best thing you can do to help yourself and other pet parents is to use pet-safe ice melt. Pet-safe ice melt is commonly made out of urea. Here are two brands of pet-safe ice melt you can pick up either online or in store.
While sidewalk salt can be a winter risk, it shouldn’t prevent you and your dog from having an awesome walk. Do you have a favorite pet-safe ice melt or other cold weather precautions we should know? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting