Paws for thought is vet’s advice

Pet owners have been warned to be on their guard against the health risk to their animal’s caused by grit and rock salt.

With the cold snap returning this week, many householders will be getting out the grit to keep their paths and driveways clear.

However, one of the unwelcome side effects of this is that pets can pick up the grit on their paws and become ill when they lick it off.

According to Bearsden vets practice Vets4Pets, the problem can also occur in parks and pathways that have been treated, with the potential for pets to become ill, some seriously, after walking through the treated areas

Vet John Sheppard said: “When residential streets are covered in ice and snow we reach for the grit and salt to help clear pathways and make them less hazardous for ourselves.

“What many unsuspecting pet owners don’t realise is that there are real hazards for dogs and cats when they lick their paws after walking through it.

“They can develop irritation of the gastro intestinal tract leading to vomiting and diarrhoea, and in extreme cases, salt could also affect the brain and kidneys.”

The problem arises because of some of the chemicals used along with the salt, which can include antifreeze.

Mr Sheppard added: “This is another potential threat as it contains ethylene glycol, a sweet tasting but highly toxic substance.

“When consumed, even in small amounts, ethylene glycol can be fatal. Our advice would be to try to avoid walking your dog over gritted areas and wash and dry paws immediately after animals have been outside, and make sure you don’t leave any antifreeze that cats or dogs could ingest.”

Other advice when out walking dogs in cold weather is to check a dog’s paws for ice balls that can form after walking in the snow.

Mr Sheppard explained: “This can lead to discomfort and ‘ice burn’ on the pads of the paws.”