Snow is very beautiful, and many dogs love to play in it! So do their owners! While it’s a good idea to frolic in the snow with your favorite paw, it’s not a good idea to let him or her get into ice melt. Unfortunately dogs have a habit of sniffing and eating just about anything new and exciting they can find. This includes ice melt.
Ice melt, like antifreeze, is often appealing to dogs. Ice melt, like antifreeze, is very toxic to animals. It contains certain chemicals, including several chlorides that are known to cause toxicity in dogs. These chemicals include one or several of the following:
Magnesium chloride Potassium chloride Sodium Chloride Calcium Chloride.
In some places warnings have been issued regarding ice melts containing sodium chloride, but uniform consensus regarding its use has not been reached. It works really well to melt ice.
How to Know If Your Dog Has Ingested Ice Melt
There are many signs and symptoms of ice melt poisoning. The most common sign is vomiting and diarrhea. Other less common signs and symptoms may include:
Tremors Seizures Depression Excessive Salivation Excessive Thirst Anorexia.
Consuming more than 4mg of sodium per kilogram of their body weight may prove deadly.
If you suspect your dog has eaten a considerable amount of ice melt, it is best to take him or her to the emergency veterinarian for advice as soon as possible. A vet will work to replace electrolytes and water lost through vomiting and/or diarrhea. A vet may also have to work to remove any extra sodium or potassium that has been ingested by consumption of the ice melt.
Other medicines may be needed to remove other chemicals or for biological processes that take place like acidosis as a result of the toxic chemicals. Some animals may need anticonvulsants to help with seizures. Still others may have pulmonary edema.
The good news is most dogs would need to eat a considerable amount of ice melt before they got this sick. Ordinarily you might need to have them lick an entire driveway, or have a bag sitting out. But, even small quantities may cause the tremors or depression. You don’t want man’s best friend walking about depressed, or seizing up.
A good way to keep your pet healthy this winter is to consider washing his or her feet after going for a walk. Remember that ice melt may be easily collected on your dog’s feet after a simple walk in the park. Stop your dog from eating snow as well, particularly if you walk along busy streets. And last, make sure you give your dog plenty of fresh water at home. This will discourage random drinking!
Hautekeete, L.A. DVM. “Toxicology Brief,” ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 1717 S. Philo Road, Suite 36, Urbana IL http://www.vetmedpub.com