SALT LAMPS ARE DANGEROUS FOR YOUR PET!

Posted by Belinda Bird on

Himalayan Rock Salt Lamps are used for the beautiful low glow that they emit, making them perfect night lights with ambient lighting to help people relax. These lamps have grown rapidly in popularity for their ability to calm, as well as clean, deodorise and purify the air and help with some human ailments, such as asthma and allergies. 


But, even though these lamps can be so beneficial for us humans, they pose a very serious and potentially life-threatening risk to our dogs and cats. 


I personally have three salt lamps placed around my home… one in the lounge room and one in each of my daughter's bedrooms, and honestly, until now I had never seriously understood the potential risk to my own dog. Luckily, I have always placed them outside of his reach.   



 

 

 

 

WHAT IS A HIMALAYAN ROCK SALT LAMP?

Himalayan Salt Lamps are made from pieces of Himalayan salt crystals. Without the light source (bulb) inside of the lamp, the benefits cannot be yielded. When the salt lamp and light are combined they are used as an interior decoration as well as a natural source of light. 


True Himalayan salt lamps are made from salt harvested from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. The salt in this area is believed to be millions of years old, and the minerals it contains gives it its pink colour. Their goal is to convert positive ions to negative ions. 

 



POSITIVE IONS

It is believed that salt lamps are “natural ionizers”, meaning they change the electrical charge of the circulating air. The electrical equipment throughout your house emits positive ions (carbon dioxide molecules that have been stripped of an electron), which have been demonstrated to have a negative effect on our bodies. Positive ions are known to come from a number of sources, including:


  • Television
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Mobile phones
  • Computers
  • Clothes dryers
  • Hairdryers

Basically, anything that requires an energy/power source to run. 

You can imagine how quickly our home loads up with positive ions that are understood to potentially lead to asthma, allergies, migraines and depression. 

 

 

 

NEGATIVE IONS

These are the ions that we want surrounding our home and family. These are known to create the opposite effect to positive ions and therefore an opposite and positive effect on our mood, health and energy levels. 

Negative ions in the air have a strong negative charge, making them statically attracted to airborne particles like:

  • Dust
  • Mould Spores
  • Pet Dander
  • Other floating pollutant and allergens

 

They attach to these pollutants and allergens and give them a  negative charge. This causes them to become grounded and fall to the floor or nearest surface rather than continuing to drift through the air causing disturbances to you. 

It is believed that even bacteria and viruses circulating the air in your home can be cleared by negatively charged ions. 

Negative ions are produced by nature through:

  • After a thunderstorm
  • Waterfalls
  • Forrest's
  • The beach

 

 

 

Nature knows how to keep the balance. Air ionizers can be purchased, but many people believe that salt lamps will do the same. 

I found a calm in my home once I brought my salt lamps. Also, people have always been amazed at how well both my girl's sleep and they have both had a salt lamp in their room since birth. Whether the salt lamps are part of the reason or not, I have always felt a calmness around them. 


 

 

 

I feel like a lamp salesman! Haha. 




DANGERS FOR YOUR PET

Having a salt lamp in your house does not mean your pet is in danger from the exposure to ions, it means they are at risk of potential salt poisoning. 

It is important that your cat or dog does not have access to your salt lamp. Remembering that cats can get in all the places that you don’t want them in! You can place your salt lamp on the end of a shelf with books or objects to block the path. Unless you have a Houdini cat, this should be sufficient to keep him safe. 


For dogs, the risk is lower, as you can simply place the salt lamp on bench or shelf out of their reach. 


If your cat or dog does gain access, they LOVE the taste and will continue to lick, and lick…. and lick! Here lies the problem. An excessive intake of salt leads to salt poisoning and comes with a long list of symptoms, along with death in extreme cases.  


Salt poisoning in dogs starts with the ingestion of 2-3 grams per kg of body weight, while a fatal dose is known to be 4g per kg of body weight. 


Whereas cats only need 16.7mg in total to cause poisoning. 


There is also a number of other items in your home that could cause salt poisoning:

  • Soy sauce
  • Homemade Playdough
  • Paintballs
  • Table salt
  • Ocean water





WHAT IS SALT TOXICITY?

Salt toxicity can range from mild to severe, including death, depending on the quantity of salt that has been ingested. These lamps are like lollipops and Pringles, once they start, they can’t stop! Not quite that extreme, but they do really enjoy the taste. 


An extreme ingestion of salt in a short period of time causes the cells in the body to start releasing water in an attempt to even out the levels of salt in the blood. This causes the destruction of brain cells due to the lack of water, creating a range of symptoms, from dizziness to seizures. 


Too much salt in the blood (hypernatremia) can cause the muscles to lose moisture, shrivel and become stiff, causing shaking and jerking. Dehydration is inevitable unless your dog can source a sufficient supply of fresh water. 

 

 

DIAGNOSIS

For diagnosis, your veterinarian will take a full history including any known ingestion of salt, along with how much. After this, a series of tests will be conducted, including a health check, blood tests and urinalysis to check sodium levels. Don’t be alarmed if they also want to do radiographs, CT scans and/or ultrasound to determine the extent of damage to the heart, lungs and brain.  

 

 

 

TREATMENT 

Treatment includes oxygen and intravenous fluid therapy along with electrolytes. The salt level needs to be reduced slowly to prevent a sudden change in sodium levels which can potentially cause a heart attack or cerebral oedema (brain swelling). It can take up to three days to bring the sodium levels down to an acceptable range.  





SIDE EFFECTS

Your dog or cat may not display all symptoms, but if you are concerned he may have salt poisoning it is important to seek Veterinary attention immediately. 


The list of potential symptoms is long and includes: 

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Extreme thirst and urination
  • Fluid Build up
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory distress
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pains
  • Tongue swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Ataxia (wobbly walking)
  • Watery diarrhoea
  • Weakness

Your dog or cat may not display all symptoms, but if you are concerned he may have salt poisoning it is important to seek Veterinary attention immediately. 


 

 

 

 

HOW TO KEEP A SALT LAMP AND YOUR PET

Well, the good news is that you do not need to get rid of either. Simply keep your salt lamp in an area that is not accessible to your cat or dog. If you own a dog, place your lamp up on a bench or up high enough that he can not reach it. 


If you own a cat, place it on a shelf or place that you can barrier off with objects to ensure he can’t get access. 


The upside to it all is that your salt lamp will pose no risk if your pet can not reach it.

 

 

If you have any experiences that you would like to share, or have any questions, please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you.

 

  

Belinda Bird

Founder & Veterinary Nurse

 

 

 


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