If you live somewhere with cold, snowy winters, you’ll likely see your roads and driveways covered with rock salt. Rock salt can help melt ice off different surfaces to allow for better driving conditions. Since it is exposed, your curious pet could easily lick or consume any loose particles. So, what would happen if your dog ate rock salt? Rock salt, table salt, and sea salt are all sodium chloride compounds. Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt. However, rock salt differs from table salt because it is mined directly from the Earth. Table salt is collected by flooding seawater with freshwater. Rock salt is not meant for human or dog consumption. Both humans and dogs can get ill if they consume rock salt. Rock salt can also be a choking hazard for your dog. 

Symptoms of Rock Salt Poisoning 

Salt of any kind is toxic to all pets in high concentrations. However, rock salt poses a particular threat to dogs because it can be easily encountered, especially during the winter months. Suppose your dog ate rock salt by playing in the snow, licking its paws, or digging through a salt bag directly; this can cause symptoms like severe sodium poisoning, dehydration, and kidney damage. Other clinical signs include: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Seizures 
  • Disorientation 
  • Lethargy 
  • Drooling 

Not only that, but salt can also cause skin irritation. If your dog were to walk on snow treated with rock salt, it could get salt crystals between its paws, which could lead to inflammation, redness, and a burning sensation when at warmer temperatures. 

Treatment For Rock Salt Poisoning 

You can take preventive steps to prevent rock salt poisoning by rinsing off your dog’s paws after being outside in the winter or you can get an alternative de-icer that doesn’t include rock salt. However, if you suspect your dog has been poisoned by rock salt, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for emergency assistance. The vet will most likely perform blood tests to monitor and stabilize blood sodium levels while administering IV fluids to rehydrate your pooch.