Protecting Pets - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Protecting Pets

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Winter weather and icy conditions prompts Freeze Guard, salt (sodium chloride) and other chemicals to be used on Texoma roadways and sidewalks this time of year.  But these chemicals used to keep us safe, can actually have harmful effects on pets.

Pet owners need to be careful because the ice-melting mixtures can hurt the feet of animals when walking outside.

"When the chemicals mix with the ice, it causes a heat reaction to occur.  Then you can get the burning of the pads and the feet," said Dr. Bryan Wade, a veterinarian at A Caring Heart Veterinary Hospital.

The ice-melting mixtures are all skin irritants.  If an animal licks the chemical off of its paws or drinks from a puddle of water where ice has melted, it can cause tongue and mouth ulcers in severe cases.

"Usually you will look for saliva, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite where they don't want to eat or they will get lethargic," said Dr. Wade.  

If animals are not treated soon enough, an infection can develop from the paws and lead to swelling of the brain and spine.

So in order to avoid a painful trip to the vet, Wichita Falls Animal Services Administrator Katrena Mitchell offered some tips.

"It's always a good idea to trim the hair between the paws so it doesn't collect the ice and the snow," she said.

Mitchell also recommended washing your pet's feet with warm water after each outside trip.

Dog boots can also be found in local pet stores for ultimate protection.  These boots protect the paw by helping them stay dry and prevents exposure to salt and de-icers.  Be sure to check that the strap is not too tight; the boot should be snug so that it doesn't slip off but not so tight that it constricts the paw.

Pet owners have the option of applying paw balms on your pet's feet to soothe the irritation from being exposed to the chemicals.  A thin layer of the balm can also be applied before going out for a wintry walk.  These balms can be found in local drug stores and pet stores at a low cost.

Ice-melting mixtures that are specifically labeled as "pet-safe" or "eco-friendly" are also available.  These products do not contain any form of sodium chloride and will not hurt your pets.


Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel 6.