Snow removal isn’t as simple as laying down a thick blanket of the strongest ice melt on the market. Winter season can be rough on your pets. If you have a furry friend, you need to make sure you’re using pet-friendly ice melts. Many ice-melt products have chemicals dangerous to pets. Even simple rock salt can make quick work of your pet’s delicate paws. This is due to its crystalline structure and jagged edge.
Many of the products you can buy off the shelf at your nearest big-box retailer are unsafe for your furry friend. Luckily, there are pet-friendly ice melts on the market that is safe for your dogs and cats. Heavy snowfall isn’t reason to harm your pets. Next time you have snow and ice piling up, keep in mind what to stay away from and what not to for your pets.
Stay Away from Chloride-Based Ice Melts
Many ice melt manufacturers use shocking marketing tactics. Many of the products you assume are pet-friendly ice melts are not. If the label says “safe paw ice melt” or “paw friendly” it doesn’t mean it is completely pet safe. The distinction seems innocuous, yet it means everything.
“Paw friendly” means they tumble the rock salt. Tumbling makes the granules more rounded. This does make the particles of salt easier for pets to walk over. But it’s still not going to do them any favors if they ingest it.
If you’re a pet owner, then you know that dogs and cats are impartial about where they get their water. Snow is as good as anything. Snow laced with chloride-based ice melt can put them in a world of pain. All chloride-based ice melts run the risk of gastrointestinal stress on your pet.
Steer clear of any calcium-chloride based ice melt as a pet owner. While very good for melting ice, calcium-chloride is bad for both paws and stomachs.
Magnesium-based solutions are popular ice melting products. However, they will exacerbate your pet’s kidney problems.
Ingesting this substance can cause your dog or cat to have internal bleeding. At best, you’ll be cleaning up their vomit and diarrhea. At worst, you’ll be looking at a sudden trip to the vet’s office.
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Is There a Chloride-Based Pet-Friendly Ice Melt?
Chloride-based ice melts are generally unsafe for your animals. Sodium chloride, also known as table salt, may seem non-toxic. However, large amounts of ingestion are lethal to your pets. Sodium chloride poses its problems, but it is the safest chloride-based product. If you decide to use it, don’t use excessive amounts.
Some Glycol-Based Cleaners to Use Around Pets
Glycol-based de-icing agents are another alternative for snow removal on your property. There are two glycol-based agents on the market, both of which you should be aware of for the sake of your pet.
Propylene glycol is the safest glycol-based ice melt for your pets. One of its active ingredients is urea, a naturally-derived component formed from ammonia. While propylene glycol is generally safe for dogs, it can affect your cat’s red blood cell count if ingested. Regardless, propylene glycol is the most pet-friendly ice melt on the market.
While it’s an incredibly effective ice melting agent, ethylene glycol is not safe for pets. It shares the same active ingredient as antifreeze. Ethylene glycol isn’t just unsafe for your pets. It’s a hazardous product that can have a negative environmental impact. Use it sparingly, if at all.
What is the Safest Method for Pet-Friendly Ice & Snow Removal?
There is no clever trick or product to pet-friendly ice removal. Some ice-melting agents are less hazardous than others. They are all still unnatural chemicals that build up in the snow. There is always a risk your pets can ingest and hurt their paws on it.
Your best bet is keeping chemicals away from areas that get a lot of pet traffic. Beyond that, use ice melt and rock salt carefully so that they can’t build up and become a hazard to animals.
Shoveling sidewalks or parking lots is always an option. In addition to being of no-risk to your pets this way, it is also an environmentally friendly option. The chemicals that are bad for your pets are generally bad for the environment as well. It will make easy enough work out of ice and snow when used with skill. A snow shovel can’t impede on an animal’s well-being. But if you must use a chemical ice-melting agent, stick to the strategic use of ethylene glycol and sodium chloride.
You should be willing to do the hard work that it takes to remove ice and snow to keep your pets safe. In the event that your pet does ingest snowmelt runoff, take every precaution and call poison control or go to your local vet.