News Local

Road salt poses hazard to pets 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

A pedestrian walks her dog along Montreal Road in this undated file photo.
(Staff photo\GREG PEERENBOOM)

A pedestrian walks her dog along Montreal Road in this undated file photo. (Staff photo\GREG PEERENBOOM)

As Lower Mainland municipalities gear up to scatter salt and brine on roads and sidewalks to prevent ice from forming, a Vancouver veterinarian is warning of the hazard it poses for pets.

Dr. Parmjit Dhillon of Oak Animal Hospital said Thursday some dogs may see the salty bits as tasty morsels, but swallowing it could result in sodium chloride and other chemical-poisoning symptoms.

If not treated immediately, he said, the animals would likely start drinking large amounts of water and that could potentially lead to brain swelling.

“If the dog ate the salt 24 hours ago, it’s already absorbed in the blood. It’s already in the brain and (any water they drink) will go to the brain. It’ll be a seizure-type symptom,” Dhillon said.

In a 2005 B.C. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection report examining the issue, it found the “timing and frequency of road surface cleaning is critical” as the material could lead to air quality and visibility concerns.

The air impact to humans, however, was small and “soluble particles” don’t lodge in the lungs, the report said.

Dhillon called it a different story for pets as they can’t speak up if they feel sick from eating the salt. He said dogs often track the salt onto their paws and lick them, causing mouth and gastrointestinal ulcerations.

Cats can be affected too, he added, but to a lesser degree as they’re more “finicky” about what they put into their mouths.

 

 

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