Snow grit 'very dangerous' to dogs and vet's warning to check paws after walk

snow grit dangerous
Maggie Davies

The RSPCA is urging dog owners to clean their pet’s paws after taking them on a walk through their neighbourhood this winter as they could be covered in toxic grit salt.

The Mirror reports that as temperatures drop below freezing in parts of the UK, the RSPCA has issued a stark warning to dog owners who walk their pets through the winter months. Many Brits woke up to several inches of snow this morning, as the icy cold weather closes schools and causes travel disruption up and down the country.

Motorists in some areas are being urged not to drive at all unless absolutely necessary – but they’re not the only ones feeling the impact of the winter weather.

The RSPCA is urging dog owners to check their pet’s paws before bringing them back inside after a walk because they could have stepped in grit salt.

Grit, otherwise known as rock salt, is used to help deice roads in winter – but it is extremely dangerous to dogs if ingested. An RSPCA statement reads: “It is difficult to say how much needs to be eaten for signs of toxicity to be seen.

Even a small amount of pure salt can be very dangerous to pets. Ingestion can result in a high blood sodium concentration which can cause thirst, vomiting and lethargy, and in severe cases there is a
risk of convulsions and kidney damage.”

Most cases involve animals who have walked across a gritted path and licked or chewed on their paws after it started to irritate them.

“It is therefore important to thoroughly wipe your pet’s feet and the fur on his/her legs and tummy after a walk or time outside,” the statement adds. “If he/she is showing any signs of discomfort after possible exposure to rock salt, use a mild, pet-safe shampoo and warm water to wash the affected areas, and dry your pet’s fur completely with a towel after washing.” Their advice has been seconded by the British Veterinary Association, who have urged owners to take extra precautions when walking their pets this winter.

Senior vice president Justine Shotton said: “When it’s cold for us, it’s cold for our pets, which is why it’s important to take extra precautions to keep them safe and warm. “During the coldest months, dogs and cats need easy access to shelter and a cosy den, and while dogs will still need exercise, owners should take precautions to protect them from the cold. “Antifreeze is a huge hazard for cats, so contact your vet immediately if you see signs of poisoning such as vomiting, depression, lack of coordination, seizures and difficulty breathing. “Rabbits and guinea pigs are also vulnerable to hypothermia despite their warm coats, so owners should take steps to ensure any outdoor hutches are well protected from the snow, cold draughts and winter rain.”

If you suspect your pet has ingested grit salt or antifreeze, take them to the vets for immediate attention.

(Story source: The Mirror)

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