Watch Tip: Hazardous Winter Chemicals

Posted on February 6th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

wwtips_a2Watch for winter’s trio of common hazardous chemicals that can sicken or even kill dogs and cats when they lick their feet: antifreeze from leaks, ice-melt crystals, and road salt. Avoid walking in them when possible and be sure to clean paws after exposure. Consider using dog boots or coating pads with protective balms. Spread the word!

Paw-lick Alert!

In the wake of the huge winter storm affecting our nation’s temperate zone, many pet owners will purchase some of these chemicals for the first time. And their curious pets will encounter these curious new substances and smells.

Antifreeze is lethal. Even a teaspoon of the sweet substance licked from paws or a garage floor will kill. Many states now require manufacturers to add bittering agents to repel ingestion by companion animals and children. Wipe up any spills and drips and scrub residue with strong detergent.

Homeowners spread ice melt chemicals on sidewalks and driveways to keep families and vehicles safe from accidents. Then the pets and little ones rush out to play in the new snow. Walk around these chemicals when you can safely. Back at home, be prepared with bucket and towel. Dip furry paws in a bucket of water when returning indoors and towel dry. Wipe a damp towel around the bottom of human boots and shoes to prevent these chemicals from getting on your carpets and floors (store them on plastic boot trays).

Road salt might be spread on your community’s roadways to help keep drivers safe from accidents. When taking your pet for a walk, avoid the roads or walk on clean snow if it isn’t too deep. If your pet strayed into the road, be sure to dip paws into warm water, swish around, and then towel dry.

Keep your dog’s nails trimmed so that toes aren’t forced apart by splayed nails, which could allow cold snow or slush to reach tender skin. For long haired dogs, trim the hairs between the pads to prevent cold, painful ice balls from forming.

Consider coating your dog’s pads with protective balms such as “Mushers Secret” or “Bag Balm” or even Vaseline is helpful.

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