Grit used on roads during snowy weather can be dangerous for pets, RSPCA warns

In severe cases it can even cause kidney damage

Sarah Young
Friday 02 March 2018 10:46 GMT
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Gritters are out in full force this week as the UK is faced with sub-zero temperatures at the hands of the Beast from the East and Storm Emma.

But while the rock salt used on the streets might help make travel safer for pedestrians and motorists, it could actually prove perilous for our pets, the RSPCA warns.

Earlier this week, a concerned Facebook user shared a photo with a warning about grit and, while the image used is actually of a dog’s paws that have been burnt on hot ground, the effects of rock salt can cause a similar outcome.

“Everyone while walking their dogs in the snow should just be aware that the grit used to melt the snow is also very toxic to dogs, if they walk on it then it can burn the skin on their paws and cause serious amounts of pain,” the post read.

“I didn’t know this until this morning when I brought my pooch out for the toilet and after walking for five minutes on a path that had been gritted he started to squeal and lift up his left front paw.

“I lifted him up instantly and had a look as I thought he may have stood in glass but his paw was all red and inflamed.”

Since posting the photo has gone viral online garnering more than 220,000 shares and 47,000 comments.

As a result, the RSPCA has since issued a warning to all pet owners detailing the exact dangers associated with rock salt used on the roads.

“We urge pet-owners to be cautious when grit is being spread on roads, as rock salt can be toxic to dogs and cats if they lick it from their paws or fur,” a spokesperson told The Independent.

“This is because ingestion can cause a high blood sodium concentration which can cause thirst, vomiting and lethargy, and in severe cases kidney damage.”

“The best thing to do is to thoroughly wipe your pet's feet, fur and tummy after they have been outside.

If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested rock salt the RSPCA suggest that you contact your vet immediately and follow their advice.

However, to minimise contact in the first place they recommend avoiding walking your dog in areas where the snow has been gritted.

The advice comes as parts of the UK are set to be deluged by up to 50cm of snow with red weather warnings in place for south-west England and south Wales.

The warning states that heavy snow and blizzard conditions are expected as Britain braces itself for another day of travel chaos, while power supplies and other utilities are also likely to face disruption from the weather.

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