Anyone who owns a dog will know the fun that is to be had with your four-legged friends on the rare occasion we get a covering of the white stuff in the UK. Well this week, with the arrival of the Beast-of-the-East crossing paths with storm Emma, we've certainly all had plenty of opportunity to be reminded of the joys of snow. All be it just when most of us would have been anticipating the imminent arrival of spring.
As much fun as dogs have in the snow, there is also a hazard for us owners to watch out for. When the snow turns to ice and the local authorities manage to get though and clear roads and paths with grit salt, this is fantastic for us but can be quite problematic for our dogs.
Although dogs paws are very versatile and cope very well with the cold under foot, the grit salt is something that can cause very sore paws for dogs and cats. Its not just the sharp edges either.
When out walking yesterday, my both dogs become hoping lame and yelping. They are normally very hardy and definitely not wimps so I panicked. Luckily, I realised quite quickly that it must have been the grit causing the pain and wiped the paws quickly with my gloves. And then all was well and we carried on our walk.
I've just finished researching this and I now know it is possible that grit salt can cause chemical burns to the pads of our poor dogs and cats. Perhaps even more worrying is that if they try to lick the grit salt off their own paws, the chemicals will be ingested and have been known to cause death.
Now I'm not trying to be a party pooper, and I really no want everyone to go out and have lots of fun in the snow, but I learned a very valuable lesson yesterday. One that I want to pass on to all my dog owner friends and clients. Go out and have fun with your dogs in the snow, take some fantastic snow photos and pet portraits in the snow, but avoid the grit salt and please remember to wash off your dogs paws when you get back home, before they have chance to lick.
Now as any self respecting professional dog and equine photographer should, I'm off to take advantage of the pretty snow scenes and capture some more portraits of my dogs playing in the snow.