Salty Dogs: Pooch patrol faces painful predicament
By Zabrina Chant
Have you seen your dog limping on a long walk in winter and wondered why? Have you ever thought about the salt that’s on the sidewalks? Salt breaks down the ice on sidewalks but it also breaks down the pads on the dogs paws. Do you want to help your dog but don’t know how? Here's some advice from dog lovers in your community.
My father Allan Chant and I have two dogs. Our dogs love going for walks but they can’t go for long walks in winter because of the salt on the sidewalks.
“I know when the dogs are hurting when they start limping or have to sit down because their paws are hurting. I’ve had to carry one of the dogs home before because the salt was just too much for his paws," said Allan. To help treat their paws he wipes them with a warm wet cloth and let them relax.
“To avoid the salt you can walk the dog on the back streets -- they get less salted -- or take the dogs to a park/open field where it’s safe for their paws,” he explained. “My advice for people with dogs is try to avoid salted areas. If you can’t avoid salted areas then you can buy dog boots for their paws to protect them from getting injured from the salt."
A former grade 10 student who would like to stay anonymous has three dogs and has advice for dog walkers in Winter. “My dogs don’t mind the salt until 10 minutes into our walk then they start limping because of the sharp pieces of salt," said former grade 10 student.
“To treat their paws we put paw balm on their paws to avoid infection and to protect their paws from the salt. It’s hard to avoid the salt when we're walking the dogs but I try my best too. I don’t like seeing my dogs limp,” they said.
“My dogs don’t mind the salt until 10 minutes into our walk then they start limping because of the sharp pieces of salt."
Their advice to dog owners is to take care of your dogs and if you see them in pain take them home and clean their paws with a wet cloth.
“My dog doesn’t really care when stepping in salt her hair is long enough between her paw pads to protect it from the salt.” Said Mattéo Brucale, a grade 10 CHS student. “My dog doesn’t like boots so we don’t put anything on her paws. When I walk her I try to walk in the snow to avoid the salt on sidewalks unless the snow is too high for my dog.”
Mattéo’s advice for other dog owners is to watch for salt getting stuck in between their paw pads and check their paws when you get home, wipe their paws if it’s necessary.
I have multiple dogs and I’ve seen how their paws get from the salt. The salt eats the dog's paws just like it eats solid ice in the winter months. You want to try and avoid salt as much as possible. If you live in the city and can’t avoid the salt try to get your dogs used to boots or drive to a dog park in an open field where no salt is spread.