Many regions across Canada are now experiencing snow and it’s time to ensure that our driveways and sidewalks are properly cleared to avoid people falling. It’s also time to think about our pets and their paws.
The salt and other ice-melting products used by towns and cities across Canada can cause significant issues for people and your pets.In fact, under the Environment and Climate Change tab on the Government of Canada’s website, it states the following:
A comprehensive five-year scientific assessment by Environment Canada determined that in sufficient concentrations, road salts pose a risk to plants, animals and the aquatic environment. A Risk Management Strategy for Road Salts was subsequently developed to outline the measures that Environment Canada proposes in order to manage the risks associated with road salts.
Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Government of Canada published a Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts on April 3, 2004. The Code is designed to help municipalities and other road authorities better manage their use of road salts in a way that reduces their impacts on the environment while maintaining road safety.
The Code of Practice recommends that road authorities prepare salt management plans that identify actions they will take to improve their practices in salt storage, general use on roads and snow disposal. Environment Canada has completed a 5 year Review of Progress that indicates the Code has been effective in increasing the use of best practices for managing road salts in Canada. The Code and Review were developed in consultation with a Multistakeholder Working Group for Road Salts.
Most road salt is composed of chloride combined with sodium, calcium, magnesium or potassium, they may also contain ferrocyanide salts and, depending on where it’s sourced, may also contain other contaminants such as heavy metals.
In light of the above, we strongly suggest that you take steps to reduce or eliminate using salt on your own driveways and sidewalks. Further, we ask that you be mindful of your pet’s paws when you’re taking your dogs outside in the snow. Your dogs’ paws can burn and crack when they’re walking on salt-treated sidewalks and road. Once back in the house, your dog may lick their paws due to the irritation, which means their also ingesting the salt. This can lead to inflammation of both the mouth and their digestive system, and cause health issues if they’re ingesting salt on a regular basis, due to the toxins in the salt.
We also recommend the following:
- Massage an all-natural/human grade paw protector into paw pads before going outside. This can help protect their paws from salt and chemical agents.
- If your pets will tolerate them, another suggestion is to outfit your dog in boots or socks (waterproof). Both the Paw Protectors and Dog Boots can be found at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.
- Avoid roads, sidewalks and other surfaces that have been salted.
- Wash your pet’s feet and underbelly with warm water (not hot!) as soon as you are back inside and dry them thoroughly.
If your dog is long-haired, ice balls can also create problems for him. Chunks of ice can develop between the toes and pads of long haired dogs as they walk outside in the snow and cold. To prevent this, we suggest you keep your dog well groomed during the winter, which means the the hair on their feet is trimmed.
Another wonderful thing that you can do for your pet’s healthy, the health of your family and you is to use pet-friendly ice melts. Global Pet Foods carries a few different brands, one being Paw Thaw.
Paw Thaw is a safer, biodegradable ice melter that will not harm your pet when used as directed. The features and benefits of Paw Thaw are noted below:
Fast Acting: Paw Thaw combines the most effective de-icing blend components available, creating the desired reaction to initiate deicing and meltdown. Paw Thaw breaks the bond between the ice and the surface area.
Environmentally Formulated: The Non-hygroscopic formula is less harmful to grass, trees or other vegetation. Water soluble and odourless.Non Tracking: Will not harm carpets or floors and will not damage footwear. No slimy sticky residue to clean up.
Non Corrosive: Paw Thaw guards against concrete corrosion by forming a protective coating on the surface. Do not use on precast or concrete less than 1 year old.
Non Slip: Special ‘Dolomite’ formula provides added traction control