Photo © Gianfranco Bella - Fotolia

Paws on ice. It's not a new Disney show at the coliseum. It's something you really need to watch out for now that we have seen the snow fall from the sky and blanket the streets and sidewalks in many parts of the country.

That first snow is beautiful, but here is the reality -- and you know it all too well -- it turns into ice and when there is a great deal of ice, out comes the salt.

The main ingredient in most icemelt products is either sodium chloride or calcium chloride. Both sodium and calcium chloride can irritate a dog's paws or be harmful to the animal if ingested.

Once you take your dog outside be sure to clean their paws right away. Even if you don't see the salt or the topical product they put on the ice it is most likely there and if your dog licks its paws it could get very sick and start vomiting or get diarrhea.

Everything melts and puddles may contain the salt also -- it's just not yellow snow you want to stay away from. Any snow could have the salt in it. So don't let them drink from the puddles or eat the snow.

It's just not something you want to mess with. A dog that ingests 4 grams (less than 1 oz.) of sodium chloride per 1kg (2.3 lbs.) of body weight could die. That would mean a dog that weighs only 4 lbs. would only need to eat about 2 ounces of icemelt containing sodium chloride before getting fatally ill. 

You can try the dog boots if you want. Your dog may walk a little funny at first but they do get used to them and the boots can protect their feet from getting ice burn as well.

If you are salting your driveway or sidewalk use a safe non-toxic product such as Safe Paws or Morton Safe-T-Pet. These products do not contain salt or chloride

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