Paw Protection 101. Let’s avoid a common winter health hazard.

When a snow storm hits the obvious main concern is getting your pet outside to relieve himself, get fresh air and exercise. But there are problems with a storm that can affect your pet’s health.

The main concern is the salt that is put down to melt the snow and ice. This salt can be toxic to the animals because it contains sodium, magnesium and potassium chlorides along with other substances that can all be toxic. This can be both an external hazard and an internal one.

Some animals may be susceptible to the salts from allowing their paws to crack and dried. This can lead to painful burning and ulcerated lesions. Then again, if your pet is licking its paws after coming in from a walk this can cause problems from ingestion of high levels of salts. If you see your pet’s paws are soaked from contact with the road and the dissolved salts you should try washing their paws with a warm, wet wash cloth, cleaning thoroughly after a walk in areas that have had a lot of road salt or have been heavily sanded is an easy way to avoid problems before they occur.

Drinking from a puddle that contains a high level of dissolved salt can be more serious. It is hard to tell just what amount your pet may have consumed and it is even harder to know the concentration of the salts in the puddles but, if your pet ends up drinking this contaminated water it can lead to some not so pleasant symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, or more extreme and serious problems like kidney damage and possibly even various degenerative diseases.

If your pet only goes around the house and is able to avoid road surfaces there is still the hazard of the salt or salt substitutes that your are putting over your walks and driveways. Fortunately, there are a couple of solutions that you can do that will help or even totally avoid toxic reactions of your pet to these de-icers. First, you can purchase a non-toxic ice melting salt substitute such as “SafePaw” or “Splash” neither of which contain salts. As a bonus they are also better for your plants and soil.

Secondly, as you might have seen Habibi wearing and modeling are little (or big, in his case) “booties”. These boots help protect your pets paws from both contact and contamination with any salts on the road but also they prevent those little “snowballs” from accumulating in-between your pets toes. The only caveat is you got to get your pet to wear them! Some, like Britney’s “Louie” seem to have an issue with this.

1) Try to avoid areas with high salt use. City roads and sidewalks

2) Wash and clean your pet’s feet after walks

3) Try to prevent ingestion if you see your pet licking its feet or drinking from recently salted road puddles.

4) Booties. Your pet will be protected and can be making a “fashion” statement.

The snow can be fun for your pet but let’s keep them safe during this winter season!