How to protect your dog’s paws from ice melt

If your sidewalk or driveway is covered in ice, chances are you put down some ice melt. But did you know it can burn your pets’ paw pads?

Many rock salts contain calcium chloride, a chemical that can be an irritant if it comes into contact with your skin or an animal’s foot. That’s why veterinarians suggest a few options to protect their sensitive feet.

First, try to put on booties. It’ll create a barrier between the ice melt and their feet. If that doesn’t work, try children’s socks. Either way, it’s a good idea to wash their feet after a walk outside.

“The easiest way is just to make sure that you rinse their pads off really well and prevent them from ingesting it and prevent prolonged exposure,” said Dr. Sheila Erickson with Horse Heaven Hills Pet Urgent Care. “If you do notice that your pets have really raw, irritated or ulcerated skin, you know, have them seen.”

If an animal eats rock salt, they could have diarrhea and vomiting, cause severe stomach problems.

“What we worry about is if they get these pellets stuck up in there or adhere to the skin because even if they’re outside for a few minutes and they get the pellets on them or their skin, it can last until you wash it off,” Erickson said. “So even if you are just outside for a few minutes and you notice that you been through an area where there are pellets, just rinse their feet off.”

Erickson says some people have bought a pet-friendly wax to put on their pet’s paw pads. It’s another protective barrier, but it won’t completely stop rock salt from sticking.

Additionally, other pet stores have pet-friendly ice melt, but Erickson says it’s still a skin irritant, just less severe.

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