Ice Melt Toxicity: Facts and Fictions
While the astronomical start of winter is December 21st, the meteorological winter begins December 1st. By then, we may already have been hit by a snow or ice storm, begging the question – are you ready to learn about ice melt toxicity?
Preparing for winter goes beyond digging out your parka and stocking up on blankets and hot chocolate. It also means protecting your pet from the dangers that come with the colder weather. This includes brushing up on ice melt toxicity.
While most owners understand the inherent dangers of antifreeze, there’s a cloud of confusion about whether or not ice melt is toxic to pets. Let’s find out!
Ice melt (rock salt) is ubiquitous in winter. Because of its chemical makeup, ice melt is scattered on nearly every walkway to reduce the risk of falls and injuries. Unfortunately, most commercial products contain sodium chloride or calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and magnesium chloride – all of which are harmful to pets.
Areas of Concern
When out and about, your pet’s paws can be exposed to ice melt and its harmful ingredients, leading to painful cracks and bleeding. Even worse, if your pet licks their paws and ingests even trace amounts of ice melt, you’re both in for a potentially bad day.
Ice Melt Toxicity and Pets
Have no doubt, ice melt toxicity is a very real threat to your furry companion. Vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, and seizures are all potential outcomes, but the situation could be even worse depending on your pet’s weight and amount ingested. For example, small pets under 10 pounds would only have to consume approximately 4 ounces before life-threatening symptoms emerge.
Protect Against Ice Melt Toxicity
Also consider the following tips:
- Outfit your pet with socks or boots. Any ice melt picked up outside can simply be washed off in the laundry.
- If your frisky feline is used to roaming outdoors, be sure to wash and dry his or her paws after every excursion. This will mitigate any potential damage to the paw pads themselves and reduce the risk of exposure when self-grooming.
- Clip the hair growing between the paw pads to keep ice melt from adhering to packed-on snow.
- Carefully monitor your pet’s water intake following any time outdoors. A pet who is sufficiently hydrated does not suffer the same level of harm if ice melt is ingested.
Don’t Take Any Chances
When considering ice melt toxicity and pets, it’s a good idea to watch where your own feet are walking. You can unwittingly bring home the worst types of ice melt on the bottoms of your shoes. Instead, keep all shoes in an area that’s off-limits to your pet, and wash the soles periodically.
If you own ice melt products that aren’t pet-friendly, please store them in a way that’s safe and secure. Bags can easily be chewed through, so consider keeping things in a closed cupboard or on a high shelf that cannot be reached.