Pet Owners Warned About Road Salt

22 December 2010, 12:04

Pet owners who walk their dogs near busy roads during the icy weather are being warned that they could be putting their pets life at risk.

Salt in the treatments used to grit icy roads can build up on a dog's feet, which can cause significant problems when they get home and lick themselves clean. This is because the salt used to treat roads contain extra chemicals which help to react better with the ice and snow, however this can irrirate a dog's paws and can even be fatal if consumed. Cats could also be at risk, especially as they often are left to roam outside on their own.

Ruth Hayward Smith is a dog trainer from Bracon Ash in Norfolk and is warning pet owners across Norfolk and Suffolk about the effects of road salt after one of her customers recently had to put down their 5-month-old dog. 

She told Heart: "The pathways are getting the grit and salt from the roads. People walk their dogs, they take their dogs home, they go indoors: The first thing the dog is going to do is groom itself and lick itself. The grit on even a large dog's feet is going to be extremely uncomfortable. They will lick the grit off, with that they will ingest the salt and that will create the problem. If you don't rush them to the vets, you could lose them."

In terms of preventing this happening to pets, Ms. Hayward Smith advises:

"As soon as you get home, please wash their paws and dry them off thoroughly before the dog or cat gets a chance to lick them clean."

All dogs have to be exercised. The parks will be perfectly safe, but it's the pathways and the roadways that are bad at the moment. If you think about a car going past and splashing the melted snow and grit onto the pathways, the dog is walking through that. They take it indoors and lick themselves clean. The dog could go in to kidney failure and the vet will have no option but to put them to sleep. It doesn't matter how old the dog is, their instinctive reaction is to lick and that's where the problem lays."