Salt toxicity and cold weather concerns for pets

Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 21:31:30-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Don't be cruel, bring your pets inside during the cold weather.

Pets are having fun in the snow during the winter storm, but frigid temperatures can be dangerous for them.

"Certainly if we can bring our pets inside, that’s ideal," said veterinarian Dr. Julie Trizl.

At Nashville Veterinary Specialists, Dr. Julie Trizl said pets should only be outside for fifteen minutes at a time.

"Any time that they’re outside in the cold, they’re going to be expending more energy to maintain their body temperature, so those pets often will need to be fed more," she said.

Licking snow or ice with salt on it can be dangerous for pets too.

"Any prolonged exposure on their skin, or on their paws that can cause some irritation, and then them licking the salt, can also be dangerous as well and has the small potential to lead to something like salt toxicity,” Trizl said.

Unprotected paws can be susceptible to injury due to snow and ice on the ground. If pet owners have them, booties for pups provide some protection.

"If it gets really bad, they could get to the point where they have frostbite and you’re more likely to see grayish color tissue in that instance, and that certainly is an emergency situation," Trizl said.

It's also important to keep dogs on a leash so they don't get disoriented and run away.

"We also might see some dogs that get curious about a frozen lake, or a frozen pond, and that could certainly become a very dangerous situation if the ice is not strong enough to support their weight," Trizl said.

During a winter storm, ice can be a danger for pets slipping and hurting their back too. It's important pet owners keep their furry friends safe to prevent a trip to the animal hospital. Many vet offices are closed, so the animal hospitals are slammed.

"We are certainly keeping busy right now," Trizl said.