The ice melt that keeps you safe in wintery weather could harm dogs and cats who come into contact with it. Find out which pet-safe ice melts are the best choice to use this winter.
We all know that heat melts ice. But it’s hard to apply heat to an entire driveway unless you added a hydronic or electric snow-melting system to the asphalt or concrete.
That’s where ice melt products come in. These chemical treatments lower the freezing temperature of water, which keeps surface water slushy instead of freezing into solid, slippery ice—according to Scientific American.
Ice melts can hurt your pet in two different ways.
It’s really important to know what’s in the ice melt because “... there is no set agreed-upon standard for pet-safe ice melt.
So read the label or go to the company website and look for these ingredients as identified by poison.org.
Products with these chemicals should be avoided:
Products with these chemicals are safer alternatives:
Irritated, red, itchy skin is a good indicator that your pet may have encountered ice melt. If her paws are chafed, cracked, or bleeding, she may have stepped on some of the harsh substance without proper paw protection. Other external indicators may include paw-licking, reluctance to walk on surfaces covered with ice melt, and your pet appearing to be in pain in general when walking.
Watch for these symptoms—provided by the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center—if your dog has ingested an excess amount of ice melt.
If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Because most ice-melting products use some kind of salt, no de-icer is completely safe for your pet. So select the ice melt product that is the least harmful.
You may want to choose a urea-based ice melt product since urea—which is already produced by your dog’s body—is less harmful than other options. Urea can be bad for your plants and lawns though, so try and limit its use around your home. In addition to urea-based ice melt products, those made from propylene glycol or calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) are relatively safe for dogs and are not as likely to cause skin irritation as other options.
Another option? “Skip the ice melts altogether, and use sand or kitty litter to make your walkways less treacherous.
Though no ice melt is 100 percent safe for all pets, if you must use it, look for better-for-your-pet ice melts and make sure to always supervise your pet outdoors to make sure they don’t get near or ingest anything dangerous.
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