ROCK ISLAND, Ill (KWQC) -- It’s a salty time of year on streets and around our own homes as we try to melt all the snow and ice we've had, but not all types of ice melt are safe for use around pets.
It’s always a good time when these furry four-legged friends get together at Crow Creek Dog Park in Bettendorf. New friendships always start to form. For the pet owners, it's also a chance for them to let their pets play around and not worry about them getting salt underneath their paws.
“There have been multiple occasions throughout the winter where I’ve picked out salt out of underneath his pad and in between where the hair is,” said Jason Ramsey, a pet owner.
For Jason Ramsey seeing his little buddy's paws bleed isn't a pleasant site. So he's tried to pay attention.
“It's constant wiping off their feet. I mean you have to continuously get their paws wet and wipe them down from the salt, so they're not irritated all the time,” said Ramsey.
Veterinarians say the winter months are when owners need to be checking their pet's paws especially if they've been outside.
“The salts that are most commonly used are not safe for pets. They contain either Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, all which can be toxic to pets,” said Dr. Elizabeth Narske, with Rock Island Animal Hospital.
The chemicals in those salts are so bad they can dry out and cause the pets paws to crack and even bleed. However, there are ways to protect your animal.
“Look in between the toes, dry and wipe in between the toes. Then you're going to look at the back side of the paw and look at the pads, make sure they're not cracked or bleeding,” said Dr. Narske.
For Ramsey, he plans to keep bringing his dog to the park until summer time because he knows it will protect his best friend.
“We don't pay attention to it but the dogs feel it,” said Ramsey.
Another thing vets say is to make sure the pets don't ingest the salt and if you notice your pet is drinking more water, acting sick, or vomiting, it's important to check to see if they have been exposed to salt.
There are safer, pet-friendly ice melts, but you can't always know what your dogs have gathered on their paws. The vet says you should just limit their exposure outside when possible.