Spring Pet Safety

Spring Pet Safety

It’s springtime, and you can’t wait to get outside. Your pets feel the same way! After a long winter cooped up, it’s fun to enjoy the nice weather, but it’s not all long walks and trips to the park. From allergies to insects and so much more, spring is filled with potential for illness and injury. Here’s what to watch for, inside and out, to keep your pets safe this season.


Hazard #1: Spring Cleaning 

You do your spring cleaning to make everything fresh for the new season. Unfortunately, almost all chemicals, even natural ones, are harmful to pets. That includes soaps, bleach, polishes, and cleaners, all of which can irritate your pet’s skin and damage their gastrointestinal tract if ingested. In addition, cleaning supplies like sponges can present problems if eaten.

    • Whenever possible, use natural cleaners that are marked safe for pets. 
    • You can make your own natural cleaning solution of baking soda and vinegar. Mix one-part baking soda to two parts vinegar (e.g. ¼ cup baking soda and ½ cup vinegar). Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
    • Pets like to drink from the toilet. Avoid adding toilet cleaner to the water; that could make them sick.
    • Store cleaning products out of paws’ reach. Keep pets safely away while you’re cleaning.


Hazard #2: Home Improvement

Spring is a popular time for home improvement projects in and around the house. Beware of nails, staples, blades, and power tools, as they could injure your fur baby. Paints and solvents also can be toxic, and can cause chemical burns.

    • Keep your pet in a pet-safe area during home improvement projects. Do not let them wander around unsupervised.
    • Be aware that the loud noises from power drills and saws can be frightening for your pet. It could even scare them into running away. Consider asking a family member or friend to take your fur baby on a walk or to stay with your pet during the project.
    • Clean up the area completely. Store tools and supplies safely out of reach.


Hazard #3: Lawn Care

The fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides that we use on our lawns can be dangerous if pets eat them. It can be tempting because bone meal is used in some fertilizers, and dogs love bones Manure is also a popular choice. (Enough said.) 

    • Dilute fertilizer with plenty of dirt and water. 
    • Keep your pets away from treated areas for at least 24 hours. 
    • Don’t let your fur baby walk on recently fertilized areas. The poisons can be absorbed through their paws. 

Hazard #4: Poisonous Plants

Plants grow and flower in springtime, and many are toxic to animals. Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Rhododendrons and azaleas can be fatal if eaten by your fur babies. Even drinking water from a vase filled with tulips and daffodils can be dangerous. If you live in the western part of the U.S., be on the lookout for foxtails, a type of grass-like weed. Not only can they get stuck in your pet’s hair, but they can also work their way up into their nose and ears, causing serious infection and even death.

    • Identify the plants in your house and get rid of any that could be toxic to your pets. Replace them with pet-friendly plants.
    • Identify the plants in your yard that could be dangerous. Fence or block them off so your pet doesn’t have access. 
    • Supervise your fur babies when they are outside. Provide alternate entertainment such as a game of fetch to keep them occupied.


Hazard #5: Spring Allergies

Just like humans, pets can be allergic to dust, plants, and pollen that are everywhere in the springtime. Look for signs of allergies, such as itching, minor sniffling, and sneezing. Your fur baby may also repeatedly bite or lick its paws, rub its face or shed excessively.

    • Bathe your dog with a hypoallergenic shampoo. Ask your vet for recommendations on how often.
    • Wash your pet’s bedding in hot, soapy water. Do the same for any plush toys. Dry them on a hot dryer cycle to kill dust mites.
    • If you suspect allergies, take your pet to the vet to get tested. Your vet can provide allergy medication for much-needed relief.


Hazard #6: Bugs

The bugs come out in spring. Fleas, ticks, parasites, hide in tall grass and crawl on your pet. Mosquitos can nest in stagnant water. Buzzing insects can cause painful stings and even life-threatening injuries. Even the sprays and treatments to control these pests can be toxic. Slug bait is poison mixed with sugar and can be fatal if ingested.

    • Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventative to guard against heartworm-positive mosquitos.
    • Even if you use a flea/tick preventative, check your pet after each walk.
    • Keep insect repellents out of pet’s reach. They can cause neurological damage.
    • If your pet is stung by a bee, use an ice pack to keep the swelling down. A bag of frozen peas works well. Remove it often so you don’t cause frostbite. If swelling is severe or your pet has difficulty breathing, go to the vet at once.

Hazard #7: Windows

We’re tempted to open our windows wide in the spring, to let in that beautiful weather. Before you do, make sure that your window screens are secure. More than one fur baby has fallen through a window screen that wasn’t.

    • Make sure your window screens are sturdy and have a snug fit. There should be no holes or gaps.
    • Always supervise pets around open windows, especially cats.
    • Keep your fur baby from hanging out of the window in your car. Flying debris can enter their ears or eyes and cause problems. Abrupt stops can also launch them out the window. Always secure your pet in a crate or a seatbelt harness specially designed for them.


Hazard #8: Rising Temperatures

The warm spring temperatures can sometimes be pretty hot, depending on where you live. That puts our furry friends in danger of overheating. 

    • Make sure your pets are well-hydrated, and have access to fresh drinking water and shade if they are outside.
    • Check that the drinking bowl isn’t dirty from pets sticking paws in it to play or cool down. 
    • Do not leave pets unattended in vehicles. The temperature inside a car can quickly become dangerous.


Hazard #9: Spring Holidays

Treats such as chocolate are popular at spring holidays such as Easter, Passover, and Mother’s Day. However, they’re toxic to your pets. So is xylitol, a common sugar substitute. Be aware that your special celebration may include these and other household dangers for your fur baby.

    • Keep a list of harmful foods in your kitchen for easy reference. Check ingredients before you give human food to your pet.
    • Never give your dog cooked bones, such as from your family dinner. Cooked bones are brittle and can splinter in a pet’s mouth.
    • Supervise your pet whenever he/she is eating.
    • Secure your kitchen garbage so that pets cannot access it. Put it behind a closed cabinet door or buy locks for your trash cans.


Should something happen to your pet, pet insurance can help offset some of the larger costs. Remember, you can easily add pet insurance from Pet’s Best to your California Casualty auto or home policy.  Find out more about what pet insurance can cover by talking with a California Casualty customer service representative today.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Tips to Safely Walk Your Dog in the Summer Heat

Tips to Safely Walk Your Dog in the Summer Heat

It’s time to go for a w-a-l-k. (Cue the excited wags and barks.) But walking in the summer heat presents some challenges for our fur babies. From hot pavements to high temperatures, conditions can be dangerous for your pup.

Follow these tips to safely walk your dog in the summer heat, including signs to watch out for in case of heatstroke.


Tip #1: Time your walks for the coolest part of the day.

Even when it’s hot outside, there are times of day when it’s a little less hot. Plan around the temperatures, scheduling an early morning walk or an evening stroll. In general, before 9 am and after 6 pm are usually the coolest times.


Tip #2: Bring water along.

Bring a water bottle and a dog bowl to give your dog a drink on hot walks. In addition, consider a spray mist bottle or a wet towel to use to cool your dog down.

Pro Tip: Introduce the bowl and the sprayer at home first with your dog to make sure your pup is comfortable with them.


Tip #3: Seek shade.

Walk in the shade as much as possible and choose a route where you can stop in the shade. Walk on the grass if possible. If not, the concrete sidewalk is generally cooler than the street made from asphalt. If your dog lies down in the cool grass, let him. It’s his way of regulating his temperature.


Tip #4: Check the pavement.

When the temperature is just 86 degrees outside, the pavement can reach a sizzling 135 degrees! That’s way too hot for your pup’s sensitive paws. Before you walk, check the sidewalk or road. Put the back of your hand directly on the pavement. If you can keep it there comfortably for 5-10 seconds, it’s okay to walk. If not, avoid the asphalt and concrete at all costs.

A word about dog boots: You can buy dog boots or paw protectors to protect against hot pavement. Look for non-slip, water-resistant shoes that fit your dog’s paws well and stay on. Also, choose breathable ones. Since dogs do sweat through their paws, that will help keep them comfortable.


Tip #5: Protect against sunburn.

If your dog has a shorter coat or bare spots that can burn, consider dog-friendly sunscreen.
For dogs with long fur, you can give your dog a summer haircut, but don’t shave her to the skin. Dogs need an inch of fur to protect against sunburn.


Tip #6: Know when to turn back.

Your dog will communicate that he has had enough. If he continues to lie down and pant, that’s a signal that the heat is getting to him. Go slowly, and if your dog seems unenthused to walk, don’t push it. Head back and enjoy some air-conditioned indoor time.


Tip #7: Know the signs of burned paws.

Burned paws are painful for our pups. Make sure you check your fur baby’s paws after summer walks. Look for these signs of possible burns:

    • Limping
    • Excessive biting of feet
    • Discolored pads, redness or blisters on the paws


Tip #8: Know the signs of heatstroke in dogs.

Heat exhaustion is not just for people. Our pets can get heatstroke, too. In fact, it can be very serious and even deadly. That’s because dogs don’t have sweat glands. Instead, they rely on panting to cool themselves down. When that doesn’t work, the heat builds up in their bodies, causing heatstroke.

Some dogs are more susceptible. These include older dogs, dogs with shorter snouts, obese dogs, and dogs battling illness. Watch for these signs:

    • Excessive panting and drooling
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Fever (dog’s nose is dry and hot rather than wet and cool)
    • Bright red, gray, purple, or blueish gums
    • Rapid pulse
    • Weakness
    • Vomiting or diarrhea
    • Lack of urine
    • Muscle tremors
    • Dizziness


heatstroke in pets


If your dog exhibits signs of heatstroke or has burns on his or her paws, call your veterinarian immediately. You may be asked to bring your pet in for treatment.

For emergencies like this, pet insurance can help. Remember, you can easily add pet insurance from Pet’s Best to your California Casualty auto or home policy. Find out more about what pet insurance can cover by talking with a California Casualty customer service representative today.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


9 Ways to Save on Your Vet Bill

9 Ways to Save on Your Vet Bill

We love our pets like family, but if we’re being honest, they can be quite expensive. That’s not only in treats, household items, and little splurges but also in veterinary care.

Vet costs can add up quickly, especially if your pet has a health issue or if you have multiple pets. But taking your animal to the veterinarian is an important part of being a responsible pet owner and making sure your pet stays at its healthiest.

Here are some tips to give your fur babies, feathered friends, and reptiles the best care possible without a huge bill.


1. Shop around.

Not every vet charges the same, so it’s a good idea to shop around. Vets in smaller towns may charge less than in more populated urban areas. Call and get costs for exams, vaccinations, and standard procedures such as teeth cleaning, spaying, and neutering. Ask if they give multi-pet discounts if you bring pets in together. You don’t have to choose your vet solely on cost, but keep that in mind when you make your selection.

Pro Tip: Reach out to the local Humane Society or vet school clinic. They may have low-cost options for veterinary care or procedures.


2. Know your vaccines.

Some vaccines like rabies are required by law. Others are optional. Assess whether your pet needs a vaccine based on their potential risk for the illness. For example, if you don’t board your dogs, they may not need Bordetella to protect against contagious kennel cough. But if they’re frequently at the dog park with other dogs, you’ll want them to have it.

Pro Tip: Check with your municipality. They may hold a free rabies shot clinic annually.


3. Research prescription options.

You’ll likely give your fur babies flea and tick medications. You may need to treat your bird or your lizard with an antibiotic. You might need a prescription to calm your pet during a storm. You could get these medications through your vet, or you can get the prescription and shop around. Contact your local (human) pharmacy. If there is a human equivalent to the pet medication, they may be able to fill it for a lower price. You can also enroll in a prescription discount plan like GoodRx or WellRx. Some plans cost but you’ll still realize the savings in discounts.


4. Ask about referrals and specials.

Veterinary offices often run specials. They may discount dental procedures for National Pet Dental Health Month, for example. They may give you a credit for referring a friend. Ask your vet for their schedule of specials and discounts for the year, and plan your pet’s care around that calendar.


5. Don’t automatically say ‘yes’.

Your vet may recommend treatments for your pet. Ask why they’re necessary and what the alternatives are to doing them. Sometimes these recommendations may be precautions but not absolutely necessary. Other times, they may be to rule out issues, but the treatment may be the same. If there is a high cost for treatment, you can hold off and research other places that may be able to provide it at a lower cost. Then take that quote to your vet and ask if they will match the price.

6. Talk to an online vet first.

You can sometimes save on an in-person vet bill by talking to an online vet first. Telemedicine options have increased for veterinary care. For just about $30 or so, you can talk to a vet, have him/her examine your pet virtually, and answer medical questions. For example, if your pet was exposed to a potential household danger, the online vet can let you know if you need to bring your pet in for treatment. Just know that online vets cannot prescribe medication if your pet hasn’t been seen in person by a vet recently.


7. Consider help from a pet charity.

You may qualify for help with your vet bills from an animal welfare charity. These are nonprofit associations that provide assistance for specific types of situations, such as donating wheelchairs for disabled pets, care for cancer treatment, and help for elderly, disabled, or low-income families.


8. Keep up with preventive care.

Nourishing food, regular exercise, and annual vet visits will help keep your pet healthy. Heartworm testing, stool screenings, dental care, parasite control, and bloodwork are all part of regular preventive care. Keeping your pet active and healthy, and checking in regularly on their health, will help reduce vet bills in the future.


9. Purchase Pet Insurance.

Pet Insurance can help offset some of the larger costs of pet care. For a nominal monthly fee, you can have access to coverage that will help if your pet needs surgery or has health issues. Shop around for a pet insurance policy that fits your needs.

Before you purchase, make sure you understand the deductible, the coverage limits, and the exclusions. Some policies do not cover pre-existing conditions or wellness care.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

8 Pet-friendly House Plants That Can Improve Your Health

8 Pet-friendly House Plants That Can Improve Your Health

It’s a well-known fact that plants produce oxygen. But did you know that some plants also “clean” the air that we breathe? It’s true. These plants can remove harmful chemicals, from paint fumes to furniture polish. This can help reduce respiratory problems, allergy symptoms, and headaches. But it’s important to note, that not all plants do this. And some that do are not safe for pets and young children, because they are considered toxic if consumed.

If you’re thinking about adding some house plants that promote indoor air quality, and are also good for pets and your youngsters, here are some great options to add some safe greenery to your space.


Why are chemicals in my air, anyway?

You don’t have to live in a chemical plant to be exposed to VOCs, volatile organic compounds. VOCs are emitted as gases from certain things that are common in our homes. Cleaning products, paints, cosmetics, printer ink, and even building materials can create these pollutants.

The NASA Clean Air Study and other studies looked at different plants’ effects on reducing VOCs. We culled the list to include those plants that were safe for pets, too.


8 Safe Indoor Plants

1. Spider Plant (scientific name: Chlorophytum comosum)

spider plant

Named for the long leaves that resemble a spider’s legs, these plants remove formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. These chemicals are found in household products such as glue, paint, lacquer, nail polish, and stain removers. Formaldehyde also is in some cosmetics, dishwashing liquids, building materials, and insulation.

Spider plants are great plants for beginning gardeners. They are easy to grow; you can even start them from cuttings. They just need water and bright indirect light.

Pro tip: A spider plant’s dangling leaves may attract curious kittens. Make sure your plant is in a safe place where your cat cannot knock it over.


2. Money Plant (scientific name: Epipremnum aureum)

money plant

This plant is named for its round, flat leaves that, with a little imagination, resemble coins. According to tradition, these plants are supposed to bring luck. Money plants are lucky in other ways; they soak up toxins in the air like formaldehyde.

This plant likes bright indirect light. It’s also a great plant for beginners. You can grow it in water or soil.


3. Areca Palm (scientific name: Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)


This is a big, bold plant that commands attention with its feathery, arching fronds. It naturally purifies the air by absorbing formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, pollutants found in many common household products.

Make sure you have enough space if you’re growing it indoors. It can grow as tall as six or seven feet. An Areca Palm needs indirect sunlight and enough water to keep it moist. Because it grows big, your Areca Palm will need repotting every couple of years.


4. Boston Fern/Sword Fern (scientific name: Nephrolepis exaltata)


Fondly known as a living humidifier, the Boston Fern loves humidity. It will naturally put moisture back into the air and is great for sinuses and allergies. It also is an air-purifying superstar. It absorbs formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, pollutants found in many household products.

Boston Ferns do need indirect sunlight in a spot that isn’t too warm, and regular watering to keep the soil damp. Since they love humidity, Boston Ferns do well in bathrooms and kitchens.


5. Wax Plant (scientific name: Hoya Carnosa)

wax plant

This low-maintenance plant is named for its green waxy leaves, and it produces clusters of tiny starry flowers. The Wax Plant is great for anyone frequently exposed to chemicals found in paint, gasoline, or smog. It absorbs VOCs like benzene.

It’s a tropical plant that thrives in bright indirect light and high humidity. It’s easy to grow a Wax Plant from cuttings. Place them in a water jug for 2-3 months until the roots are well developed, before planting.


6. Moth Orchids (scientific name: Phalaenopsis)


These colorful, long-lasting flowers look exotic but actually are very hardy. Their flowers resemble moths in flight, which was the inspiration for their name. These beautiful plants are great at absorbing paint fumes.

Interestingly, Moth Orchids get their nutrients from the air. You may see them grow roots above the soil. Don’t cut them off as the plant needs them to thrive. Moth Orchids need indirect sunlight and prefer higher temperatures and humidity.


7. Barberton Daisy (scientific name: Gerbera jamesonii)


While the Barberton Daisy comes in traditional white, it also blooms in yellow, orange, red, and pink. Its bright colors make it a favorite house plant. The fact that it also filters out benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene is a bonus! These chemicals are found in adhesives, cleaning fluids for rugs, paint removers, spot removers, and typewriter correction fluids.

Indoors, they can flower any time of the year. They love direct sunlight and moist soil. They usually last for a single growing season but your Barberton Daisy can last for two to three years with good care.


8. Purple Waffle Plant (scientific name: Hemigraphis alternata)

purple waffle

Also called Red Ivy, the Purple Waffle Plant has beautiful gray-green leaves with purple undersides. Its coloring makes it a popular plant for homes and offices. An added bonus is that Purple Waffle Plants are very good at removing VOCs such as benzene, toluene, and octane. These are common pollutants found in paint, cleaners, hair spray, and more.

This plant likes medium to bright light indoors. It thrives in moist soil. Purple Waffle Plants will produce white flowers in the summertime.


What to Do If Your Fur Baby Eats a Toxic Plant

While the plants on this list are safe for pets, not all plants are. If your fur baby ingests any part of a toxic plant, call your veterinarian immediately. You may be asked to bring your pet in for treatment. For emergencies like this, pet insurance can help. Find out more about what pet insurance can cover by talking with a California Casualty customer service representative.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


How to Calm Your Pet During a Storm

How to Calm Your Pet During a Storm

Hiding under the bed…shaking uncontrollably…pacing, panting, trembling …when your fur baby is frantic during a thunderstorm, it can be stressful for the both of you….

What makes your pet extra anxious during a storm and how can you help them cope? Let’s find out.

What makes my pet anxious?

Our pets’ hearing is far more sensitive than ours. That means our fur babies can hear a storm coming long before we do, and when it arrives, thunder is much louder to them than it is to us. When they hear loud noises, they react as if there is danger. When unsure of the location of the noise, a pet’s natural instinct is to seek a safe place.

Loud noises aren’t the only scary thing about storms. Storms can produce static electricity, which can run through a pet’s fur, creating uncomfortable feelings and even painful shocks if they come in contact with metal.

Some breeds are more likely to have storm anxiety. These include dog breeds like Australian Shepherds with double coats, and cats with long fur. In addition, dogs and cats who are naturally fearful, have separation anxiety, or hesitation around people are also more likely to be anxious about storms.


What are the signs of anxiety?

Pets show anxiety in many ways. Here are just a few of the signs you may notice:

    • Drooling, panting, trembling, and ears back
    • Hiding or trying to fit into tight spaces
    • Moving close to a favorite person
    • Whining, barking, pacing
    • Scratching and acting out destructively


How can I help my pet?

Don’t worry, there are ways that you can calm your anxious pet the next time the thunder booms. Try to intervene early before the storm is in full swing. Reassure your fur baby in a low calm voice. High-pitched voices can cause our fur babies to panic. Plan to stay home with him or her, or ask someone else to do so. (An anxious pet left alone can cause some damage.)

Here’s what else you can do.


1. Set up a calming environment.
Pets sometimes seek shelter under your bed or in a closet. They feel safer in an enclosed space.

    • Pay attention to where your dog or cat likes to go during a thunderstorm, and start with that space to set up a calming environment.
    • If your dog is crate trained, you can set up its crate in the most soundproof room of the home.
    • Try an interior room without windows so that your pet won’t see the flashes of lightning.
    • Many pets stay away from carpets and fabric, due to the effect of static. Consider a space such as a bathroom. Your pet may even prefer to sleep in the tub.
    • Leave the light and tv on so that the flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder are less noticeable. Close the blinds and drapes.


2. Distract and/or desensitize your pet.
If your pet isn’t too frantic, you may be able to distract him or her. Try any of the strategies below, and keep in mind that in between storms, you can work to desensitize pets to help them manage their future stress.

    • Choose interactive toys. Play a game of indoor fetch or tug-of-war.
    • Consider a high-value chew or a treat. Just make sure you’re not treating your pet every time he or she seems fearful or you are rewarding this behavior.
    • Licking is a way for dogs and cats to calm themselves. Try giving your fur baby a licking pad with their favorite wet food or soft treat.
    • Try giving your pet a calming massage.
    • Desensitize your dog for future storms. Play a thunderstorm soundtrack on a low volume while giving your pet high-value treats and positive interactions. Over several weeks, gradually increase the volume. This can help lessen or even eliminate thunderstorm anxiety.


3. Try natural therapies.
There are several natural ways that you can help reduce the stress of a thunderstorm for your pet.

    • If your pet’s anxiety is tied to static electricity in his or her fur, try a dryer sheet. Rub the sheet gently along your pet’s fur to cut down on the static. Choose an unscented brand, and do not let your fur baby chew or play with it.
    • Try a thunder jacket. This type of pet clothing holds your pet snugly and helps them feel safe and secure. You can make your own with a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Put it over your dog’s head with the front/pattern across his/her back. Put the dog’s front legs through the armholes. Tie up any looseness toward the dog’s rump.
    • Set up a white noise sound machine or play calming music.
    • Add a soothing scent, such as a few drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball. Or try a dog or cat pheromone spray or collar that can help them to relax.


4. If all else fails, try prescription therapy.
In some cases, medication is needed to help keep your fur baby calm. You can try calming treats available at your local pet store or talk to your vet about whether your dog or cat is a candidate for an anxiety prescription.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

The Dangers of Ice Melt to Pets

The Dangers of Ice Melt to Pets

Winter weather is on its way, which means soon it will be time to put down that layer of salt. After all, you don’t want to hurt yourself or be liable if anyone slips on your sidewalk!

Ironically, in your effort to keep everyone safe, you might be endangering the very ones you want to protect. That’s because ice melt is dangerous for pets. And it’s not just the ice melt on your property. Ice melt that is universally used on roadways and walking paths is usually not pet-friendly and can cause serious harm and even death.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe this snowy season.


Know the chemicals.

Ice melt is made up of chemicals like sodium chloride (the same as table salt) and calcium salts (calcium carbonate, calcium magnesium acetate, and calcium chloride). Sometimes it also contains potassium chloride, magnesium chloride and/or urea (carbonyl diamide). These chemicals lower the freezing point for water, causing the ice to melt and turn to slush. In addition to having an effect on ice, they also cause damage to concrete, cement, soil, and water, as well as plants and animals.

That’s where your pet comes in. It may be tempting for your dog or cat to sniff around at ice melt because of its salty taste. Or they may walk on it and get it on their paws, and then lick it off. But even table salt is dangerous for them in large quantities.

If ingested, ice melt can cause anything from mild indigestion to severe vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, and even death. Just 4 g/kg of sodium chloride can be deadly, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. According to Pet MD, ethylene glycol-based ice melts contain the same active ingredient as antifreeze. They are deadly if ingested. Calcium chloride also can cause mouth ulcerations and irritation.  So, what do you need to look out for in your pet? An abnormally high body temperature, a racing heart, and rapid breathing are all signs of elevated blood sodium levels. Keep reading for more signs and symptoms.

Ice melt is also a skin irritant. It can cause irritation, dryness, and even burns on your fur babies’ paws or between their pads. If they scratch or rub their face, the ice melt can get in their eyes. If a small piece of salt makes its way in between your pet’s pads, it can be highly uncomfortable and have a chance of being swallowed.

If you’re thinking you can just check the package and make sure these ingredients are not listed, think again. Unfortunately, not all ice melt packages provide a full list of ingredients.



Are there any ice melts that are safe for pets?

You can buy ice melts that are labeled ‘safe for pets’, but even these are not completely safe, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. They are simply safer options. If ingested, they can still cause gastric distress. Also, while safe for dogs, ice melt with propylene glycol can be damaging to cats’ red blood cells, according to PetMD.

Products safe for pets usually are urea-based. They are some of the safest options for dogs and cats, but if you have goats or cows, beware. Urea can cause ammonia toxicosis in animals that have that type of digestive tract.


How to Prevent Exposure

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping your pet away from dangerous ice melts is your first defense.

    • Avoid areas that are slushy or where it looks like ice melt has been applied.
    • Don’t let pets sniff or eat road salt, ice melt, etc.
    • Don’t let pets run and play in an area that looks like it has been treated with ice melt.
    • Wipe your pet’s paws with a damp cloth to remove any ice melt as soon as you come in from outside. This way, your fur baby won’t accidentally ingest it when licking his/her paws.
    • Store the ice melt package far out of reach of curious pets.
    • If you want to protect your fur baby’s paws, consider paw wax or doggie booties.
    • Instead of ice melt, try products intended to provide traction, such as sand, gravel, kitty litter, and wood ash.



Watch for these signs and symptoms.

Keep a close eye on your fur baby, If you notice him/her walking gingerly or licking his/her paws, there could be a problem. Also, look for these signs of possible exposure to ice melt:

    • Skin irritation/burns
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Increased urination
    • Excessive drooling
    • Nausea/gastrointestinal upset/vomiting
    • Body and muscle weakness
    • Seizures

Call your veterinarian right away if you believe your pet has ingested ice melt and is exhibiting symptoms. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also is available 24/7 to answer your questions. A consultation fee may apply.

Pet health insurance can help cover the costs if anything should happen to your fur baby. Make sure you are fully covered in event of an emergency.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


Pin It on Pinterest