What Are the Side Effects if Dogs Eat Snow Salt?

by Caroline Pizzo
If your dog licks ice-melting agents off his paws or eats it directly, he may experience mild to severe side effects.

If your dog licks ice-melting agents off his paws or eats it directly, he may experience mild to severe side effects.

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Let your dog enjoy the snow, but realize that sodium-based snow-melting products not only irritate your dog’s paws but, if ingested, can lead to more serious side effects. Moreover, due to bacteria and parasites in untreated water, snow is not a recommended source of water for your dog.

Eating Snow Salt Directly

Snow-melting products for sidewalks and roads may contain sodium or calcium chloride. The most apparent side effects of eating such substances include vomiting and stomach upset. Dehydration can occur. If your dog consumes snow salt, from an open bag or pile along the road, the side effects may range from depression and tremors to more critical seizures and blood flow problems. A toxic dosage of sodium chloride is 4 grams of salt per kilogram of the dog's weight. For perspective, ingesting a half-cup of sodium chloride can be critical for a medium-size dog.

Licking Salty Paws

A dog who starts limping after playing in the snow likely has snow lodged between his paw pads. A clear sign of this is obsessive licking or biting of the feet. When your dog ingests the salty snow, he can experience digestive issues and vomiting. Eating small amounts of salty snow this way may not have serious side effects, but can still cause your dog discomfort and excessive drooling. Normal daily salt consumption for a healthy dog is an eighth of a teaspoon for every 25 pounds of body weight. Shield your beloved pet with a pair of doggie boots.

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About the Author

Caroline Pizzo has written education and design articles since 2000. She has worked as an information specialist in education and as a professional floral and display designer. Her articles have appeared in women's magazines and blogs. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism from Southern Connecticut State University.