Did you know that the salt used to melt ice and snow is one of the biggest dangers to the health of your dog’s paws? It’s true! In many areas of the world, the combination of icy temperatures and precipitation can spell disaster in more ways than one. Unfortunately, in our attempts to prevent slips and falls associated with the ice of winter, we often reach for salt as a means of de-icing. Salt is not the best choice when you’re looking out for the health of your dog’s paws. Read on to find out why, and for tips for protecting your dog’s paws from de-icers.

Why Are De-Icers Dangerous for Pup Paws?

Contact with salt and other deicing agents can lead to cracked, dry pads as well as horrible chemical burns on the pads of your dog’s paws. The longer your dog’s paws are exposed to salt, the more likely injury will occur.

That’s not the end of it either! When your dog comes inside, he will naturally lick his paws to clean off his pads or even just out of habit. Ingesting the salt or other de-icing agents can be toxic to your dog’s health.

So what do you do? It may go without saying, but you must prevent your dog from being exposed to the dangers of salt and other de-icing agents. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done. As you walk your dog, do your best to avoid the roads and sidewalks, and encourage your dog to walk on the snow or grass. If your dog doesn’t like his feet cold or wet, avoiding the salt-laden roads and sidewalks will take just a little more effort.

But, what else can you do?

Tips for Protecting Your Dog’s Paws from De-Icers

Invest in a Pet-Friendly De-icing Agent

Safe Paw is a commonly reached-for deicing agent for pet parents. Additionally, many pet owners use sand, non-clumping kitty litter, and even small stones instead.

Wax – On, wax – Off

Paw wax, when applied to your dog’s paws before potential exposure to salt, helps to form a barrier to protect your pup’s paws from the dangers associated with salt and other deicing agents. If you’re the DIY type, check out this video I found for you on Facebook on how to create your own paw wax with all-natural ingredients.

Grab a Pair of Doggie Boots

Dog boots are more than just cute. Boots are the only sure-fire way to protect your pet’s pads. Period. Boots can protect your dog’s pads against salt exposure but can also protect your dog’s paws from ice and even hidden sharp objects that may be buried beneath the snow. Your dog may initially object to boots on their feet, but give it some time, and wearing boots will become second nature. 

A Little Paw Cleaning Goes a Long Way

After any suspected exposure to ice or other toxic de-icing agents, immediately rinse your dog’s paws off with warm water. It’s best to make this a habit whenever your pet returns from the outdoors during the winter. Doing so will reduce the likelihood that your dog will become sick.

Paw Injury Signs to Look Out For 

By following our tips for protecting your dog’s paws from de-icers, you go along way in avoiding injury. But, it’s always best to know what injury signs to look out for, so you can take care of any problems right away. The signs below might mean your dog’s paws have been compromised by de-icing agents.

  1. Limping
  2. Peeling of the skin
  3. Change in color
  4. Swelling
  5. Broken nails
  6. Pain
  7. Changes in behavior

At the first sign of injury or suspected ingestion of salt, seek immediate advice from your team of veterinary professionals. As the old saying goes, “it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

Armed with this new knowledge, we hope you’ll pay close attention to the condition of your dog’s paws this winter. Doing so could reduce the risk of illness or even death associated with salt and chemical toxicity.

Warm wishes and hugs from Next Level Pet Care!

Next Level Pet Care 508.556.0656

“Enriching Pets Lives, One Household at a Time”