Our winter has been quite mild, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared and learn about the hazards winter poses to cats. Rock salt is extremely hazardous and it’s extremely difficult to avoid, especially if you’re a pet. The streets are covered in rock salt to stop them from freezing over, it’s spread by neighbours hoping to keep their paths clear and steps free from dangerous ice. Walking dogs and letting cats out puts them in danger because rock salt is so difficult to avoid once it’s been spread. Many pets end up with open wounds on their paws and deadly health conditions. Thankfully, there are ways you can prevent your cats and dogs from ingesting rock salt and suffering from serious health problems.
How to Protect Your Pets from Rock Salt Injuries and Illness
- Clean your cats’ feet using a warm wet flannel or towel once they come in from their outdoor adventures. Wash the towel or flannel immediately after use, don’t leave it lying around the house.
- Keep your cats off the streets and away from your neighbour’s property. Cats can be kept inside on cold days or contained in your garden with cat fencing or a catio.
- Put dog boots on your dog’s paws before you go out for walks. Dog boots are easily obtainable from pet stores or online. Buy the right size for your dog and allow your dog some time to get used to wearing them in the home before heading out for the first time.
- Use sand or other pet friendly alternatives to rock salt on your own pathways and steps.
- Check your pet’s feet for signs of irritation and take your pet to the vets if you notice any signs of rock salt poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, excessive thirst, uncoordinated movements and a loss of appetite.
- Clip the fur around the paws to prevent rock salt from being picked up and trapped in the hair.
Each year vets have to deal with hundreds of cases of rock salt poisoning in the UK. Many of the cats and dogs don’t survive. Education is one way we hope to help save the lives of pets. Please read through the tips above and share them with your friends and family.