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425 East Broadway
Red Lion, PA 17356

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Posted on 12-30-2017

Winter Ice Melt Products Can be Harmful to Pets

Winter is here not only in Westeros but also in York County.  Snow and frigid temperatures have arrived.  And since most of us don’t own a dragon to thaw our roads and driveways, we rely on road salt and ice melt products to keep surfaces safe. 

However, some of these products can be harmful to our pets.  Most ice-melt products contain salts such as sodium, potassium, magnesium or calcium chloride.  Chloride salts become hot when mixed with ice or water.  This chemical reaction is what melts the ice, but it can also cause skin irritation and burns if in prolonged contact with your pet’s paws.  Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea and, even seizures if ingested.  As little as 3 ounces of salt can be extremely toxic to a 50 pound dog. 

Winterized windshield washer fluids often contain antifreeze or ethylene glycol which can be deadly to dogs and cats.  Look for products with the safer compound known as propylene glycol.

Ice-melt alternatives containing crystalline carbonyl diamide do not get hot and are safer for pets than salts.  Use child/pet safe products whenever possible and keep ice melt products and de-icer windshield fluids out of reach of pets.  It is also important to wipe pet’s legs and paws after walking on roads or sidewalks since not everyone uses pet-safe products and do not allow your pet to eat snow or to drink from puddles.

If your pet has ingested ice-melt or windshield fluid containing antifreeze or has sore, painful paws after walking on surfaces containing ice melt, contact your veterinarian immediately.    

This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital, serving York, Red Lion and the surrounding communities.