Aunt Sophie is coming over, and youve salted the walk to make sure she wont slip on a patch of ice. Suddenly, Fido has that look on his face: Gotta go! Now!
So you grab the leash and head down the walk, through the slush and around the block, scooper and plastic bag in hand.
Along the way, Fidos paws probably are going to pick up a good dose of that rock salt you just threw down, along with de-icer residue from the slush on the roadways. That slush can contain chemicals, such as potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate and calcium magnesium acetate theyre toxic when in a concentrated form. If Fido steps in or ingests such chemicals, skin ulcers, nausea or vomiting can follow.
And be alert to another potential winter hazard: antifreeze. If it leaks onto the driveway, pets may lick up the sweet-tasting ethylene glycol; even a little bit can be lethal.
Heres how to keep your pet safe this winter.
1. Get him boots for his paws if hell wear them.
2. Wash your dogs paws with warm water immediately after a winter walk.
3. Remove all ice and snow from his feet and coat before he starts cleaning himself.
4. Use nontoxic gravel and sand on walkways. They dont taste good enough for Fido to eat, but wash his paws anyway. That way, when grooming, he wont ingest whatever hes walked through. And inspect your driveway regularly for signs of antifreeze leaks.
The You Docs Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.