There are a lot of salt or ice melt options on the market, and most people use price as the highest consideration. Because we wear boots in winter, gloves when dispersing the salt, and keep it stored away from children, we don’t think twice about its use. But what about those that will almost certainly come in direct contact with it – what about pets?

It’s something most consumers should start considering, because pets still need their outdoor time, even in the dead of winter. Even if you don’t own pets, you should try to purchase pet-safe salt or ice melt this winter!

What Can Regular Rock Salt Do To Pets?

Rock salt is bad for your pets for a number of reasons. The worst reason is that the salt can get between the pads of your dog’s paws; the salt can heat up chemically and cause burns in this sensitive area. The jagged edges of the rocks can also cut into the skin. But even before it becomes a danger to the paws, your dog might try and lick this irritant off. This can cause oral problems, stomach issues, and even vomiting.

Some dogs might even eat some of the salt rocks lying on the ground. It only takes a small amount of salt to cause stomach issues, but if they ingest a large amount of salt, it messes with their systems and throws off the electrolyte balance. Pets can feel weak, unenergetic, and even experience seizures.

What If I Don’t Own Pets?

You might think that you don’t need to buy a pet-friendly salt if you don’t own a dog or cat. But since your snow-clearing obligations extend onto public property, you really should consider buying one that’s safe for other people’s animals! Even if you don’t have to tend to your sidewalk, dogs do like to wander, and if they get onto your walk or driveway, they can pick up the salt on their paws accidentally. When clearing snow and getting rid of ice on sidewalks and walkways, do the dog-walking public a favour and purchase safe ice melts.

What Makes A Pet-Safe Ice Melter? 

This is a good question because not all salts marked as “pet-friendly” or “safe for pets” is actually safe! Some companies mark their rock salts as pet-friendly even if it’s still a harmful chloride, because the actual rocks themselves are rounded, meaning they won’t cut into the paws. The salt itself, whether it’s sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, or (worst of them all for pets) calcium chloride, will still make your pet sick.

When choosing a pet-friendly salt or ice melt, do some research and never take the manufacturer’s claims as truth. Check out ice melts that are chloride-free, steering clear of glycol products, too. Don’t reflexively skip over expensive options, because chemicals formulated to be safe can also be pricier. A lack of warning labels on the bag is a good sign because that shows that it’s safe for use around children – more likely than not, it’ll also be good for pets, too!

If you are a pet owner, even if you find a good option, chances are other people and even your municipality haven’t considered your dog or cat. After walks or outdoor exercise, wash off their paws so that they don’t feel irritation or ingest the salt. If you’re so bold, buy them a set of booties to keep their pads safe from the rocks and chemicals. Hey, they might look funny, but their paws need protection!

Contact us if you want to learn more about keeping your pet safe from the wrong salt.


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