Carmel Vets Answer Is Ice Melting Road Salt Harmful to My Pet?


Old man winter is at it again in Carmel, which brings out the shovels followed by application of ice melting salt on the roads, roundabouts, driveways, and sidewalks.  Every winter a few calls come in to our Carmel vets saying:  “Is ice melting road salt is harmful to my pet?”

Most road salt de-icers are relatively safe to be used in areas where your pet has access to.  The majority of these products contain varying amounts of the following different types of salts:  sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and magnesium chloride. These salts can cause some skin, eye. and respiratory irritation with exposure.  The best way to minimize skin exposure as well as ingestion of the salt is to rinse your pets feet with warm water and towel dry.   If your daily walk takes you through a lot of salty roads, you can purchase foot covers for you pet (which is very funny see with some pets!)

If your dog or cat licks the road ice melt salt, a small amount will probably cause no clinical signs.  But if your pet were to ingest a large amount of the ice melting salt, salt toxicity could occur.  Ingestion of salt should always cause excessive thirst, but too much will lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.  If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms after ingesting salt, call our Carmel vets right away.

Always check the label before you purchase any deicing products.  Make sure that it never has any ethylene glycol (or antifreeze) in it.  This chemical is sweet tasting and so many dogs and cats will ingest it.  It is highly toxic causing kidney failure and sometimes death.  It can commonly be found in some windshield wiper fluids that spill or leak from an old car.

Feel free to use ice melt salt.  Just make sure it does NOT contain antifreeze and wash your pets feet off any time they walk through the salt.  Have a Safe and Happy New Year!  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click Carmel Vets.

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