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‘Tis The Season Of Rock Salt & AntiFreeze

February 6, 2013

It’s February, which means winter has finally arrived in Chicago.

Photo courtesy sierragoddess

After a rather mild couple of holiday months (not to mention one 60-degree day last week!), winter has hit us hard with a few days hovering around zero, followed by a several inches of snow.

So, like clockwork, I’ve seen the salt trucks drive around the city the past few days, and it not only reminds me that winter is finally here, but also that we all need to be increasingly careful about exposing our pets to rock salt and antifreeze.

Our pets can come into contact with either a number of ways – from a walk outside to us bringing it in on our boots. It’s likely something we don’t even think about as we walk indoors, since we’re trying to escape the cold.

But when consumed, rock salt and antifreeze can make a pet violently ill, and in some cases, may even lead death.

Rock salt can cause a host of problems in pets. Consuming rock salt can lead to burns in the mouth and throat, excessive salivating, dehydration, liver failure, pancreatitis and gastro problems. Antifreeze contains the chemical ethylene glycol, which can be lethal when ingested.

The signs of rock salt poisoning can include vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, your pet may experience muscle tremors and kidney failure, granted that happens in extreme circumstances. Ingesting antifreeze may cause vomiting, antifreeze, and heightened breathing. It may even make your pet appear sleepy.

Photo courtesy heather0714

Fortunately, we’re not powerless.

Before you walk in your door, wipe off your boots as much as possible. Once you take them off, consider putting them away in a closet or a space your pet can’t reach.

If your pet has been walking outside, take a moment to wipe off his paws at the front door, and later inspect them to see if there’s any rock salt trapped between his paw pads. If you have a smaller dog, you may want to wipe down most of his legs, too.

Lastly, make sure your entry way is kept rather clear – if you notice a build up of salt on the floor, simply sweep it up before your pet gets to it.

If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with rock salt or antifreeze, contact your vet immediately. The sooner your pet is treated, the better off you’ll all be.
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