DENVER — Colorado is a state with an abundance of both dogs and snow.

Usually, the two go well with each other. But then there are the times the relationship turns salty - literally.

People use a lot of salt on sidewalks to help melt ice and, if not careful, it can hurt dogs - specifically their paws.

Dr. Tanner Johnson, a veterinarian at VetweRx in Denver, said the salt is an irritant to dogs' skin and said it's something that can be insidious because "it's not necessarily obvious." Not all dogs are going to start acting very sore on their feet, Johnson said.

"Most of these salts are used for deicing pavements and for concrete are either sodium, potassium or magnesium chloride," Johnson said. "All of these are salts which, in and of themselves, aren't necessarily dangerous when you think about it, but in the quantities and the way they're made for roads is very caustic."

That's because a high concentration of salt can be "very acidic," according to Johnson.

There is such a thing as pet-friendly deicers which can be found in stores and online. Pet owners around the city are urging their neighbors, even those without dogs, to use them when treating sidewalks around their homes.

"Don't put anything down on the sidewalk that is going to hurt those pets," Johnny Dugan said. "If I see a large amount of ice or rock salt, I'll avoid it just because I don't want anything else to happen to [my dog's] paws."

"If you don't wash it out immediately, it'll continue to irritate and cause more of a burn," Johnson said.

Johnson recommended people wash their pets' paws with a warm, wet towel after each walk. He said it's "usually pretty effective" at removing the salt before it becomes too much of a problem.

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