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The dig on pet-friendly ice melters

Posted on: November 30th, 2010 by

Two Pets Best Insurance dogs, Piper and Dodger, sit in the snow.
Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

Pets sometimes fool their owners into a false sense of versatility. Many pet owners believe that dogs can brave heat and cold just fine. If they get hot they pant, and they don’t get cold easily because of their coats.

But pets need our help. In the winter, they need our supervision to help keep them from being exposed to potentially harmful ice melters. You may wonder what’s so dangerous about salt for dog health.

Pet owners may not know that walking on small rocks of salt can cause paw irritation, especially if the paws are dry and cracked due to cold winter air. But the bigger pet health danger is ingestion of that salt, either while outside or after a walk when dogs clean their paws.

The main chemical found in most salts and ice melters is chloride. According to animal expert and speaker Diana Guerrero, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and magnesium chloride are often found in ice melters and should not be ingested by dogs. On her website, arkanimals.com, Diana lists dog health care issues that can arise from ingesting those ingredients. Symptoms include:

• Increased urination
• Nausea and gastrointestinal upset
• Drastic drop in blood pressure
• Body and muscle weakness
• Neurological issues

Guerrero also lists calcium carbonate, calcium magnesium acetate, and urea as other dangerous chemicals found in de-icers, which can cause vomiting, eye irritation, hyper salivation and abdominal pain.

Ice melt packages don’t always list ingredients, and there’s no telling what products neighbors use. So to avoid dog and cat health care issues from ingestion of chemicals that trail inside the home, paws and shoes should always be wiped off when entering a house.

Some ice melters that are safe for pets include Morton Safe-T-Pet, Howard Johnson’s Pet-Guard Ice Melt, and Ossian’s MAC.

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