The holiday season is approaching, but it brings with it the grim, icy clouds of winter weather. As the temperature drops, you may start to worry about keeping your dogs warm, and making sure they get enough exercise despite the cold.

However, there is another hazard you may not be aware of that can cause serious harm to your dog if care is not taken. As the winter frost begins to creep in, freezing paths, cars and driveways, dogs are at risk due to the number of methods people use to thaw the ice.

Your dog doesn’t just enjoy the taste of premium dog food. All types of canine are known to like the sweet taste of chemical de-icer and antifreeze. As might be expected from ingesting a dangerous chemical, dogs that have consumed de-icer can become very ill.

You will notice that your dog has eaten something that they shouldn’t, usually because they will start being sick or having bouts of diarrhea. Drinking antifreeze can also cause depression, tremors, seizures, disorientation, loss of appetite and increased thirst in dogs, so keep an eye out for the symptoms.

If you think your dog has drank de-icer, get them to a vet straight away. In the meantime, think about how you can thaw your driveway or car without harming your pet.

Salt should not be used either. It irritates dogs’ paws, and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if they ingest too much. It will be fairly difficult to stop your dog entirely coming into contact with salt, as most people will turn to it to thaw the roads and paths around their property, so make sure you give your dog’s paws and stomach a wash after you take them for a walk.

Safe options for dogs include sand, gravel and even cat litter. Your dog will probably have come into contact with these substances before, and they should not cause any harm to your pet.

The only problem with using these substances to get rid of ice is that it is much harder to thaw areas with them. However, it is worth the extra effort to ensure that your dog will be safe at this time of the year.

Written by: Hannah