LYNCHBURG, Va. – A warning for pet owners. Winter can be a tough time for dogs, but there’s a lot we can do to help.
Bonnie Rose-Tolitol, like a lot of us, loves her animals.
“We have nine pets, three dogs and six cats,” she says.
Watching them run around the front yard in Madison Heights, she’s breathing a sigh of relief after a scary situation over the weekend.
“We go outside and they’re screaming. They can’t walk,” Rose-Tolitol says. “I carried them in and right away, I rinsed their paws off. The first thing I thought about was the salt.”
Rose-Tolitol put salt down in the driveway for the first time. She says it didn’t cross her mind to read the back of the bag, but she wished she had.
“Those chemicals and your dogs’ feet don’t make a good mix,” Claire Lefew says. “It’s kind of the same if we were walking around on it barefoot.”
Lefew works at the Lynchburg Humane Society and says they see this all the time. The salt can create small cuts in dogs’ paws and irritate them.
There are a few things you can do to help keep your pups safe this winter.
“When you come inside, you can wipe off their paws,” Lefew says. “There are also preventative things you can do like booties if your dog will allow it. They also make paw wax, which can protect them from salt.”
Lefew adds there are pet-friendly salt alternatives, something Rose-Tolitol is looking into and hopes others do too.
“If you have pets, it’s a good idea to keep it in the back of your head,” Rose-Tolitol says. “Whatever you’re laying outside, just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean it’s safe.”
You should also try to keep your pets from licking their paws and keep the salt locked up where they can’t get to it.