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Expert issues warning to pet owners about grit as UK hit with snow

Expert issues warning to pet owners about grit as UK hit with snow

The de-icing salt can prove fatal to your cats and dogs

If, like me, you opened your curtains this morning to be greeted by a picturesque blanket of several-inch-thick snow, getting to work may have been one of your first concerns.

Or for parents, the decision to getting your kids up and dressed without knowing whether the school is closed is another tricky one.

But for millions of pet owners across the country, the question of how safe it is to walk your dog in this icy weather is also on their minds.

Some dog owners might believe the best thing to do is to stick their winter boots on and brave the cold, but according to one expert, this could pose a severe health risk - not to you, but to your fury friend.

That's because on snowy mornings - like today's (Tues 16 Jan) - you may find that the roads and paths near you have been sprinkled with grit.

This de-icing salt was once deemed the best way to clear your driveways and allow you to carry on with your day.

It's only until very recently, however, that animal experts have discovered the often-gruesome impact that grit can have on the paws of your pups if ingested.

Pet owners have been issued a warning about the risks of walking on grit.
Getty/Tim Robberts

Speaking to press this week as temperatures in the UK continue to plummet, pet expert Rob Steele explained: "We’d like to remind pet-owners of the dangers associated with rock salt used on the roads as the temperature and snow falls, and we’re urging them to be cautious.

"The rock salt, or grit, used to melt snow is very toxic to dogs - and cats."

The pet pro went on: "Those tiny granules can really irritate the skin on their paws – especially if they’re dry and cracked - and the chemicals that grit contains can also burn them."

But it isn't just your animal's paw that could react badly to the frosty floor.

Apparently, cats and dogs licking and chewing the grit off their toes after being outside, and drinking puddles that contain grit could also prove fatal.

Cats could become ill after walking on grit.
Matik Grmek

"Ingestion of rock salt can result in a high blood sodium concentration, which leads to vomiting, lethargy, convulsions and kidney damage," Steele explains.

"So, make sure you thoroughly wipe their feet and clean any exposed fur on their legs or stomach as soon as you get home."

He continues: "It’s best to minimise contact in the first place, so we recommend that owners avoid walking their dogs in areas that have been gritted.

"If you’re concerned that your pet may have ingested rock salt, contact your vet immediately and follow their advice."

Featured Image Credit: romrodinka/A.J. CASSAIGNE/Getty Images

Topics: Weather, UK News, Dog, Cats, Animals