On a cold evening or early morning, you may often find roads and paths sprinkled with grit if the Met Office has predicted ice or snow during winter.

Grit, which is formed from rock salt can be a lifesaver for many pedestrians and motorists to prevent any slips or skids when on foot or driving a vehicle.

But if you have a dog or a cat, you might wonder if grit is pet-friendly and if it could harm them once digested.

Although grit is crucial to humans during the colder months of the year, it could prove “perilous” for our pets, PetSafe warns.

If you live in England and Wales, you can find out which roads will be gritted by your local council here.

What does grit do to dogs and cats?

Pet expert Rob Steele explained: “We’d like to remind pet-owners of the dangers associated with rock salt used on the roads as the temperature and snow falls, and we’re urging them to be cautious.

“The rock salt, or grit, used to melt snow is very toxic to dogs - and cats. Those tiny granules can really irritate the skin on their paws – especially if they’re dry and cracked - and the chemicals that grit contains can also burn them.

How to drive safely in snow and ice

“After being outdoors, dogs and cats will be inclined to lick or chew it off their paws and fur, which brings with it many health risks. As does drinking puddles of melted snow that contains it.

“Ingestion of rock salt can result in a high blood sodium concentration, which leads to vomiting, lethargy, convulsions and kidney damage."

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Rob added: "So, make sure you thoroughly wipe their feet and clean any exposed fur on their legs or stomach as soon as you get home.

“It’s best to minimise contact in the first place, so we recommend that owners avoid walking their dogs in areas that have been gritted.

“If you’re concerned that your pet may have ingested rock salt, contact your vet immediately and follow their advice.”