The snow flurries are flying and piling up on the ground. It sits for a few days and the kids in the neighborhood are enjoying building snowmen and having snowball fights. You enjoy the crisp air and take your pup on a wintery walk, their paws sinking into the pillow-y softness. But what happens when the snow melts?
Is snow safe for dogs?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not safe for your dog to eat snow. Why? Beneath the snow could be a bounty of waste, chemicals and salt that are not appropriate for ingestion.
Eating snow can also lower your dog’s core temperature, ultimately, making them colder and risking conditions such as hypothermia. Stick to cool water indoors and maybe a small ice cube or two.
Salt, which is used to melt ice on the roads after a heavy snow, can build up on your dog’s paw pads and prolonged contact can actually cause irritation and lead to chemical burns.
If ingested, the salt can also upset your dog’s stomach. A large amount can pose more serious health risks for your pup including lethargy, weakness, and even seizures. Try sticking to a walk on the grass or sidewalk whenever you can to avoid this.
If your dog will be walking through snow, make sure to keep the hair around their toe pads trimmed. This will help to avoid clumps of ice from getting stuck. Ice clumps could not only make it hard for them to walk and cause some discomfort, but also encourage your pet to lick their paws, potentially ingesting salt or chemicals.
Of course, sometimes these clumps of ice and snow are unavoidable and will stick to your pup’s coat/paws. If that’s the case, make sure to wipe off their paws with warm water after a walk in the cold. Consider using booties for your pup to protect their paws during extreme weather.
You can also use a pet-friendly ice melter for your walkway, driveway or any other outdoor area that may have been exposed. There are numerous non-toxic options available to safely melt the snow or ice off. Specifically, ones that are salt and chloride free. Ice melts that include salt and chlorine can be harmful if ingested and lead to both mouth and stomach irritation.
Avoid melted snow and cold weather this season and consider exercise alternatives like doggie daycare. At Dogtopia, we’ll treat your dog like the VIP (very important pup) they are. Find a location near you.