WTHI (Terre Haute, IN) - Taking your dog for a walk might sound simple but add winter to the mix, and you could be causing your pet problems.
When you head to the store for ice melting products, you may want to double-check if it's safe for your furry friends.
As the snow builds up on the roads and sidewalks, plows and chemical deicers are used to clear them. Although deicers get the job done, some products can cause harm to your pet.
Michael Staub, the veterinarian and owner of Honey Creek Animal Hospital in Terre Haute says it is important to check your pet's paws after being outside.
"Generally speaking, with the ice melters, if it is not pet safe, you'll get abrasions on the feet and the pads. Sometimes it'll get stuck in the hair and causes kind of a chemical burn on the pads," Staub explained.
What makes a deicing chemical 'pet safe' is magnesium chloride. Joe Staggs, the sales manager at Graham Feed Company in Terre Haute, says some products have blends of magnesium chloride, but those that are pure are best.
"We have a blend called 'Turbo' that's a magnesium chloride blend, then we have industrial strength which is a three-way blend, and then we also have straight magnesium chloride which is going to be the best for the environment and best for your pet," said Staggs.
Magnesium chloride products tend to be more expensive. However, if you can spare some money for safer products, you may save money by avoiding a trip to the vet. Staub explained that if irritation is minor, you can use an ointment like vaseline or cortisone to heal your pet's paws. If the infected area is showing severe irritation, you should see a professional.
After spending time outdoors, if you're not sure if your pet has walked on pet-friendly deicers, Staub says the safe thing to do is wipe their feet pads with a wet, warm cloth.