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Veterinarians Are Warning Pet Owners About the Deadly Risk of Salt Lamps

Protect your fur babies from the dangers of salt poisoning.

Himalayan salt lamps are more than just a mystical source of light in your home. They're known to boost your mood, improve your sleep, relieve your allergies, increase your energy levels, and now, you can add "seriously harm your pets" to the list.

Gary Richter, a veterinarian and co-founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition, told Best Life that these popular devices can pose a real threat to your pet. "Salt lamps can be dangerous to cats because if they lick them excessively (they may like the taste of the salt), they can actually get sodium toxicity and get very sick," he explained. "In severe cases, this can be fatal."

Veterinarians have recently been warning pet owners of the dangers that this common household item can pose after a viral Facebook post about a cat nearly dying from licking one of them. The Rose Avenue Vet Hospital in Coffs Harbour, Australia, recently shared a post written by cat owner Maddie Smith of New Zealand that shows how dire the consequences of keeping a salt lamp within your pet's reach can be.

Smith wrote that she awoke one morning to find her cat, Ruby, "walking really strangely" with "her head in an odd position." She initially thought she was just cold, so she got her all warmed up and left for work. By the time she got home, Ruby's health had rapidly deteriorated and she needed immediate medical assistance.

"She definitely had neurological problems because she simply could not walk properly, could not hear or see, couldn't even eat or drink properly because she couldn't function her tongue the best," Smith wrote. "Her basic senses and abilities [were] gone in 12 hours. She was so helpless."

After running some tests, the vets determined that she had "severe salt poisoning" caused by licking a salt lamp that stood in the lounge of Smith's home.

"This is usually more common in dogs so this was a huge shock, and their first case they have seen with a cat," she wrote. "Salt poisoning is extremely deadly to animals and she is basically a miracle to still be here now. These salt lamps are addictive to animals, and if they get a taste it becomes just like potato chips are to us! So please, please keep these out of reach from your fur babies."

First Vets, the clinic that treated Ruby (who is, by the way, healing nicely), also shared the cat's cautionary tale as a warning to pet owners.

"In general, salt poisoning in dogs and cats is usually accidental, with the most common scenario involving dogs ingesting homemade playdough!" they wrote. "The neurological signs seen in salt poisoning cases occur due to swelling in the brain that results from disruption in the body's electrolyte levels."

Sara Ochoa, a veterinarian and veterinary consultant for DogLab, similarly told Best Life that these lamps "cause an elevation in the sodium levels in your cat's body." So, what should you look out for? "Very mild signs, such as vomiting and diarrhea," she says. "Your cat may be just fine, but too much salt can cause seizures or even kill your cat."

When it comes to your fur baby, it's always better to be safe than sorry! And for more expert advice on being a good pawrent, check out These Are the Foods You Should Never Feed Your Cat.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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