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      'Tis the season to protect pet paws

      Before we know it, Upper Michigan will, once again, be a winter wonderland, making shoveling and salting a common sight and sound in the neighborhood. And while salt may be useful for ice, it can be harmful to our four-legged companions.

      "Rock salt can be very irritating to their feet," said veterinarian Tim Hunt, with Bayshore Veterinary Hospital.

      Pets often lick their paws when irritated, leading to possible toxicity by ingesting the salt.

      Once back inside, itâ??s important to wipe your pets' paws. If your pet suffered irritation, *zinc oxide or vitamin E can be applied topically to sooth the burn.

      "They do make pet-friendly ice melts these days that are supposed to be easier on their feet," Hunt added.

      Jeremy Wright, a Pro-service specialist with Lowes, told TV6 that within a week, they should have a pet-friendly ice melt on the shelves.

      "It is made from magnesium chloride versus calcium chloride," explained Wright.

      Other options include sand or cat litter. It won't melt anything, but it will provide traction.