Dangerous de-icing substances

Whether you use them yourself, your neighbours do, or you come across them when you’re out and about, there are potentially dangerous de-icing substances around that could harm your pets.

Many antifreeze products (which prevent a car’s engine cooling system from freezing) contain ethylene glycol which is toxic to dogs and cats. It can also be found in a number of other substances including some car de-icing products or screen wash. Your pet can come into contact with ethylene glycol by directly licking it in areas where it has been used or spilled, but also if they clean their paws or fur after walking or rolling in it. If a pet accidentally drinks antifreeze, it can cause severe damage to their kidneys which can be fatal so you need contact your vet as soon as possible.

Grit and salt used to thaw out slippery paths or roads can also cause problems for pets. These products can get caught between your pet’s paw pads and become uncomfortable, cause skin irritation or lead to stomach upsets. If it’s licked or eaten in large amounts, or if the grit contains any other chemicals, it can be very dangerous to your pet’s health.

How do I protect my pet this winter?

There are some steps you can take to try and prevent your pets becoming poorly from de-icing products:

  • Always check your dog’s paws when you get home from walks, or when your cat comes inside, looking for any sores or cuts. Check for grit, salt or skin irritation and consider washing your pet’s paws with plain water when they get home.
  • Avoid using products that contain ethylene glycol on your own car and instead try to choose alternatives such as an ice scraper, covering your car at night to protect it from frost and using heat from your car engine, heater and defroster to warm the windscreen.
  • Use cool or lukewarm water (not boiling!) as an alternative to defrost windscreens and paths, but be careful as extra water on the path may cause black ice.
  • When you walk your dog, take extra care to watch them and avoid areas with visible grit if you can. Read our free guide about exercising your dog in winter.
  • Remember, most cats don’t like their paws being touched so you will have to be gentle if doing this.
  • Try to choose road salt or grit that is pet safe.
  • If you find any unknown substances on your pet’s feet or fur, make sure you wash it off quickly. If you have any concerns about your pet, contact your vet as soon as possible.


Pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

The UK will become a third country from 1 January 2021. Third countries can apply to the European Commission to be listed.

In the EU Pet Travel Scheme, there are 3 categorisations of third country:

  • unlisted
  • Part 1 listed
  • Part 2 listed

Pet travel requirements will change depending on what category the UK becomes on 1 January 2021.

To make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK to the EU from 1 January 2021, you should contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.

click the link below to read further information



VHD2 in Rabbits

We have had a confirmed outbreak of VHD2 in rabbits please click the link here for information about this disease.


Alabama Rot

Alabama Rot has been reported all over the UK since November 2012.

Cases are as yet sporadic and few.

The disease is fatal in 9 out of 10 dogs. The disease causes lesions on the skin especially on the lower limbs and sometimes in the mouth which looks like stings or sore.

Some dogs develop fatal renal failure caused by damage to the kidneys blood vessels.

The cause is currently unknown but is being investigated at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.
In this area cases have been reported in Lydiard Park and also Savernake Forest as well as The New Forest. It is best to avoid dog walking in these areas especially wooded and wet areas until more is known about this fatal disease.

Washing legs and feet after a walk in woodland areas may be useful.

There appears to be Winter/Spring seasonality.

Please see Alabamarot.co.uk for more information or The Anderson Moores website.

If you are concerned about any lesion on your dog’s skin please make an appointment to see us as soon as possible.



Spring 2021


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