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Keep Your Pet and Your Driveway Safe With These Pet-Safe Ice Melts

25 January 2022 Bookmark and Share

Monnick Supply - Pet Safe Ice Melt

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.

What Is Ice Melt?

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.

Why is Ice Melt Dangerous for Pets?

Ice melts can hurt your pet in two different ways.

  1. Skin irritation usually shows up on your dog’s paws because they have come into direct contact with the ice and therefore the ice melt. These products can also irritate your dog’s mucous membranes in the eyes and nose.
  2. Digestive problems happen when dogs or cats ingest ice melt products made with toxic chemicals. In extreme cases, a pet can require hospitalization or even die.

Which Chemicals Should I Watch Out For?

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:

  • Sodium chloride is ordinary salt. Larger amounts can be lethal to dogs. Smaller amounts may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Calcium chloride is tough on paws and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.
  • Magnesium chloride causes gastrointestinal upset. It’s especially dangerous for dogs suffering from kidney problems.
  • Potassium chloride can irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and cause hemorrhagic vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Ethylene glycol has the same active ingredient as antifreeze, which makes it extremely toxic to cats and dogs.

Products with these chemicals are safer alternatives:

  • Propylene glycol resembles—but is safer than—ethylene glycol. Ice melts using this ingredient can damage a cat’s red blood cells when ingested.
  • Urea, a biodegradable substance that comes from living organisms, is considered relatively safe for pets.
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is more environmentally friendly than salts and relatively non-toxic to dogs and cats.

How Will I Know My Dog Has Been Harmed by Ice Melt?

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.

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vocalizing/crying
  • Excessive thirst
  • Depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased muscle function
  • Cardiac abnormalities, seizures, coma, and even death (in severe cases)

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian immediately.

What Kind of Ice Melt Is Safe for Pets?

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.

Best Pet-Safe Ice Melt Options

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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135 Maple Street,
Marlborough, MA
Call (508) 318-4788


Hours

Mon-Sat 7:00am to 5:00pm

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759 Waverly Street,
Framingham, MA
Call (508) 386-9876


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Monnick Supply $$
135 Maple St.
Marlborough MA 01752
United States
(508) 318-4788
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 7am - 5:30pm
Sun 12pm - 4pm
Monnick Supply $$
759 Waverly St.
Framingham MA 01702
United States
(508) 386-9876
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 8am - 5:30pm
Sun 10am - 4pm