It's that time of year again where everyone douses their sidewalks and driveways with ice melt products. The City of Takoma Park is one of the cities that uses a combination of salts and sand to "treat" the roads. The treatments lower the temperature at which the road surface freezes, thus making the roads arguably safer. By adding in sand to the mixture, traction is improved when the roadway does freeze.
TakomaDogs raised the issue of dog-safe ice melts last year after receiving several complaints from pets and their companions that the ice melt was burning their dog's paws. City Public Works Director Daryl Braithwaite noted that "[w]e use a combination of typical road salt and sand - same as we have for years, no changes."
The City has never, however, tested the road salt product for compatibility with dog paws or the effects of the products should a dog ingest some while drinking from a mud puddle or eating snow. Once again TakomaDogs renews its call for the City to further investigate this matter.
Until that happens, we urge residents to go easy on the ice-melt. Use sand where possible. Where not possible, use a dog-safe alternative like Safe Paw Ice Melter or Earth Friendly Products Ice Melt. If you see your dog in pain after walking City streets, contact Public Works and your City Council Member and urge them again to transition to dog-safe ice melt.
And if your dog gets sick from ingestion of ice melt, immediately call the 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435, and get your pet to the Vet as soon as possible. Post this number on your refrigerator for anytime your pet gets into something s/he shouldn't.
The Poison Control Center is operated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and is staffed by licensed veterinarians 24-hours per day. More info on pet poisoning from their website.