Why Pet Safe Ice Melt is Important
Ice melt is a product made from a mixture of chlorides, acetates and glycols. These all help to melt ice. These substances lower the freezing point of water. When scattering them across ice or snow, it melts into slush, which can then be brushed away. Most brands prevent refreezing, so your pathways will be safe to walk on the next day. These chemicals can be harmful for your furry friends though, so it is important to use pet safe ice melt.
Why Use Ice Melt?
Spending hours clearing your driveway is not ideal and most people use ice melt. For elders or those with limited mobility, ice on the ground means being stuck inside the house until it finally melts. Ice melt definitely makes sidewalks more safe for them to walk on.
Risks of Ice Melts That Are Not Pet Friendly
While using ice melt is a must during winter, some research is needed to ensure the chosen product chosen is also going to be safe for your pets.
Most ice melts are made from sodium chloride, which is rock salt. This is also one of the least pet friendly products. It can cause irritation to our pet’s paws. This results in dryness, cracking and burns to the pads. If you have not washed their paws after a walk, they are going to lick their. This could result in the risk of salt poisoning. Symptoms include drooling and diarrhea, which can lead to seizures. Comas and death are possible in the most severe cases. If your dog likes to investigate smells and has their nose to the ground for much of the walk, you may find irritation to their mucous membranes, including the eyes and nose.
Ethylene glycol-based ice melts are easier on our pet’s paws, but the active ingredient is the same as what is found in antifreeze. This is a deadly substance if swallowed. There are those which are propylene glycol-based. These are often considered safer for dogs, but they can have severe consequences for cats. Felines’ unique physiology means they are extremely sensitive to many substances that may not affect other animals. Just a small amount of propylene glycol can cause red blood cells to be destroyed through a condition called Heinz body hemolytic anemia.
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Benefits of Pet Safe Ice Melt
Icy driveways create a real risk for both owners and dogs. Conventional ice melts can be a worrying health risk for our pets.
There is no such thing as a 100% pet friendly ice melt because the chemicals they are made from are likely to be poisonous when consumed. However, some ice melts are safer than others, so the best strategy is to find one which is least likely to cause problems.
This means that urea-based ice melt products are probably going to be one of the best choices for pet owners. Urea is still a salt, but it is one that your dog’s body already produces, so it is rare to hear reports of it causing irritation.
Downfalls of Pet Safe Ice Melt
Despite being safer for our pets, urea-based ice melt products are not always the fastest solutions. This means you may need to plan ahead to allow time for it to activate. The temperature range in which it works is also more limited compared to other chemicals. It is estimated that urea works as a deicer down to around 15F, which is pretty cold. However, calcium chloride melts ice all the way down to -25F!
Care is also going to be needed when using urea-based ice melt in larger quantities because it is nitrogen-rich. It may result in leaf burn on your plants.
Pet Safe Ice Melt Brands
Some of the best brands of pet safe ice melt include:
- Safe-Paw Ice Melter. A urea-based product which includes enhancers to help the product quickly release a deicing liquid to speed up the melting process and it leaves a “shield” preventing ice from forming for up to three more days.
- Just for Pets Snow & Ice Melter. Although the manufacturers do not reveal all the ingredients in their product, they do state that there are no chlorides or rock salt included.
As seen, finding a pet friendly ice melt is not easy. Many products that declare themselves as pet friendly often contain chemicals that can cause irritation to paws or poisoning if digested.
One helpful tip is looking for makes that do not have warning labels for humans; if it is not safe for you to handle without lots of precautions, then it is not going to be safe for your dog or cat to walk over.
We recommend that whichever product you choose, keep the amount of time that your pet is in contact with it to a minimum and always wash their paws once you are back home.