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The Dangers of Rock Salt for Pets

Rock salt is used to help de-ice wintry roads and pathways during the cold months. It can be spread by individual home owners, business owners and tenants, or spread by gritters. It’s useful for helping us all get from point A to point B, but unfortunately it is dangerous for pets, such as dogs and cats.

When animals ingest rock salt they can end up with a high blood sodium concentration. Even the smallest amounts can lead to extreme thirst, lethargy and vomiting and fits and kidney damage can occur in severe cases. Sadly, pets can be affected by rock salt even if they don’t ingest it. Walking on gritted paths and roads can cause irritations to their paws and skin, so it is something that all pet owners need to be aware of so they can help prevent rock salt poisoning.

What Can You Do?

  • Wash the rock salt off your pets’ paws and skin after each walk or trip outside.
  • Consider investing in special boots that fit over paws if you have a dog that is particularly sensitive to rock salt.
  • Don’t allow your pets to have free access to any areas that are treated with rock salt.
  • Keep any rock salt provisions safely covered in pet proof containers.

Symptoms of Rock Salt Poisoning

The symptoms are similar to antifreeze poisoning, another problem that is commonly seen at this time of year, they include:

  • Lethargy
  • Thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Your pet will need to see a vet if you notice any of these symptoms or if you suspect your pet has ingested even the smallest amount. The vet will need to perform a blood test to determine if there is rock salt poisoning and then rehydrate your pet and work to stabilise the sodium levels in the blood. Never wait to see if your pets improve in suspected poisoning cases; it is important that they receive treatment as soon as possible.

Discover how you can create a safe outdoor environment for your pets. 

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