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Are you looking for the best pet safe ice melt that will do a great job of clearing your pathways but will not be harmful to your precious pets? Ice melts that use alternative chemicals to sodium chloride (salt) are less likely to cause health issues if ingested and are kinder to paws. They are also less likely to damage your garden surfaces and the environment. However, not all ice melt products labeled as “pet friendly” are 100% pet-safe. This is because in order to melt snow and ice, these products have to contain certain harsh chemicals that shouldn’t be consumed, but our pets being pets may end up sniffing and licking the stuff. The good news is, there are plenty of ice melts that are safer than others and that you can safely use even if your pooch or kitty is an exceptionally curious pet.
To help you choose the right product for your home and pet, we’ve rounded up some of the best ice melt products that the market has to offer. We’ve also put together a comprehensive buying guide, so read on!
Safe Paw is a non-corrosive kid and pet safe product for clearing paths and roads of snow and ice in low temperatures. It is also non-conductive and safe to use on cured concrete. Because you need so little of it, it lasts for a full 72 hours, and has a long shelf life, making it a cost-effective option. It works in two ways – there is a liquid that instantly melts ice to break the surface tension so that the crystal core can penetrate the ice and speed up melting. The compound itself attracts heat as the endothermic reaction uses energy from the sun to work even more effectively.
This deicer can be used on decking. The pellets will not harm your dog, cats or other animals that come into contact with it. It will not hurt their eyes, paws or skin and will not even harm them if it is ingested.
Green Gobler is a great ice melt that works at very low temperatures and can be applied using a spreader or by hand. It contains naturally harvested magnesium chloride which is highly effective at ice melting and keeping driveways, sidewalks and walkways clear of ice and snow. It works at temperatures as low as -10 degrees F but does not contain salt so it is much less likely to cause concrete spalling. The exothermic reaction is effective even in the harshest of conditions.
Importantly, this product is also completely safe to use if you have pets. It has low toxicity and is gentle on the sensitive paws. It will not cause stomach upsets if ingested in small amounts but, of course, pets should be discouraged from eating a lot of it.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly but fast-acting ice melting product that’s relatively gentle on pet paws, check out Natural Rapport. This product contains calcium chloride as a time-release formulation so it lasts longer and helps to prevent re-icing. It’s very easy to apply as it comes with a cap that allows you to use the right amount every time.
This safe paw ice melt is a non-toxic and non-corrosive alternative to traditional rock salt. If it gets tracked back into your house on paws and boots it will not damage carpets and rugs. It drastically reduces corrosion rates on cars. You can apply this ice melt directly from the bottle and because it is green, you can see where you have applied it so there is less waste.
An affordable yet long-lasting and effective ice melter containing calcium magnesium acetate for effective ice clearance on a range of surfaces. These crystals offer superior traction control and are color-coated so you know exactly where you have applied them. It starts working on contact and will prevent ice from forming again during winter conditions. This product also contains an anti-caking agent so it has a longer shelf-life.
This benign compound does not damage path surfaces or the bodywork of cars and trucks. It’s also gentler on dog’s paws and should not cause irritation to their skin. This makes it a safer alternative to rock salt, plus it does not leave a slimy residue on your outdoor surfaces!
A natural ice melt that is both environmentally friendly and highly effective. The graded crystals provide excellent traction and because it contains more than 60 minerals, it starts working faster and lasts longer than rock salt and sodium chloride alone. It’s also a cost-effective way of clearing ice as one bag will cover 400 square feet.
The product contains no dyes or polymers and is therefore a safer option for your pets, wildlife, and the surfaces of your yard and driveway. By using this product you are drastically reducing the alkali load that you are adding to the environment. However, do bear in mind that this ice melt is still made from salt, so it may not be suitable for dogs and cats who have very sensitive paws.
You can avoid any issues with sore dog’s paws by using this magnesium chloride ice melt that will not irritate or burn your pet’s delicate skin. Because it comes as smooth round pellets, it also does not cause injuries or abrasions.
This fast-acting ice melter gets to work as soon as you spread it and is suitable for all sorts of surfaces including sidewalks, driveways, steps and patios. The chemical compound will carry on working at temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also kinder to the environment than rock salt ice melters and causes less corrosion than both sodium chloride and calcium chloride making it better for your concrete surfaces. Importantly, the constituent chemicals have been listed with the Organic Minerals Research Institute. As a bonus, the product comes with a handy scoop for easy application.
Keep It Green’s Snow & Ice Melter is a safe and toxin-free product that is kind to your pathways and that will not irritate your dog’s paws. It will also not harm vegetation and does not cause staining inside your house if it gets tracked into your carpets or solid floors.
It clears snow and ice quickly and effectively and can be used on pavements and driveways without damaging concrete. It has a bright green color so it shows up clearly on the ice and you get great coverage with no wastage. It carries on working, even when temperatures plummet. In fact, it’s marketed as being effective in temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit! This ice melter does not contain calcium chloride, instead, it draws in water from the environment. The formulation even includes a fertilizer that will keep your lawn lush even in harsh weather. As the ice melt is washed away, the nutrients enter the soil and nourish the plants.
Made without any chlorides, including magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium chloride, this snow and ice melter can help your pup avoid skin irritation, sore paws and upset stomachs that are often associated with some other commonly used ice melts. The product consists of smooth pellets that do not lodge in paws and don’t cause painful abrasions. And, as soon as it comes into contact with snow and ice it starts working.
This product carries on being effective down to temperatures of -15 degrees C. You can spread it by hand using the useful shaker jug or you can use it as a rotary spreader. Because it contains no harmful chemicals, you can use it safely on sidewalks and walkways without damaging the concrete but it is also safe for decking and lawns. So, if it leaches onto your garden it will not harm shrubs and plants, and if it gets tracked back inside, it will not damage rugs and flooring.
A fast-acting and highly effective ice melt that is a gentler alternative to salt. It provides excellent traction control to prevent slipping and to make walkways safe. It does this without harming concrete surfaces because it forms a protective layer on the surface. However, it should not be used on concrete that is less than a year old.
It works quickly to break the bond between ice and the ground surface and will carry on working down to temperatures of zero degrees Fahrenheit. It is less harmful to pets than traditional ways of melting ice with salt, however, it may not be suitable for pets with very sensitive skin. The product will also not harm plants and will not damage floor surfaces if it gets tracked back inside your house. And when it gets to work, it does not produce a sticky residue.
Morton Ice Melt is a highly effective but gentle way of clearing ice from walkways and yard surfaces. It comes in an 8-pound jug which covers about 340 square feet – plenty of product for two single-car driveway applications.
Most importantly for our dogs and cats though, this product has been developed with the help of veterinarians and is much safer for pets than traditional ice melting products that contain salt. This is because this ice melt is completely chloride-free. Conveniently, it carries on working down to 10 degrees F and is a pale blue color to help with even application.
Now that we’ve covered some of the best pet-friendly ice melt products on the market, it’s time we talk about what ice melts really are, why they can be dangerous to pets, and how you can identify the right ice melter for your needs. And if after reading our buying guide you still need more info on these products? Our FAQ section may be able to help!
What Are Ice Melts?
Ice melts are chemical products that you apply to outdoor surfaces to prevent ice and snow from causing slip hazards. They work by lowering the freezing temperature of water, thereby breaking down the ice and bond between the ice and the surface. They’re able to do this thanks to the chemicals they contain, such as sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, urea, propylene glycol and others. They’re very easy to use and you can apply them either by hand or using a spreader.
Things to Look For When Buying an Ice Melt for Pets
When buying an ice melter, check what temperatures it will work at. If you live in an area with extremely cold winters, you’ll need an ice melter that works at very low temperatures. You may also want a product that is kind to concrete surfaces and that will not damage plants. Also, check out the color! If it’s brightly colored you can see where you have spread it.
These are just some of the things to consider before buying ice melt products. Another important thing to pay attention to is what the ice melter consists of. This is especially important if your pets like going outside non-stop. So, here are some of the chemicals to familiarize yourself with for the benefit of your dog or cat.
Sodium chloride: this is just a fancy name for regular salt. Most ice melt products contain rock salt which does a very good job at breaking the ice. However, if consumed in large amounts, sodium chloride can be lethal to dogs. If consumed in small amounts, it can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting.
Potassium chloride: another type of salt, potassium chloride may be good for the environment but it’s very dangerous to pets as it can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, including hemorrhagic vomiting or diarrhea.
Calcium chloride: widely used in ice melt products, calcium chloride does a great job at lowering the freezing temperature of water. However, it’s quite tough on paws and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if consumed.
Magnesium chloride: another natural type of salt that lowers the freezing temperature of water. Unlike sodium chloride, magnesium chloride is gentler on paws, however, you should still very careful with this chemical if your pup suffers from kidney problems.
Ethylene glycol: you’re probably familiar with this ingredient as it’s the main active in antifreeze. Avoid it at all costs as it’s extremely toxic to both cats and dogs.
Propylene glycol: chemically similar to ethylene glycol, propylene glycol also helps lower water’s freezing point. But, unlike ethylene glycol, this chemical is much safer for pets. This said, propylene glycol can lower a cat’s red blood cells if consumed.
Urea: this is a natural, biodegradable substance that’s considered safe for pets. Unfortunately, urea can be harmful to plants and lawns.
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA): this chemical is added to ice melt products that contain salt to help make them more effective. Thankfully, it’s both eco-friendly and pet-safe.
Dangers of Ice Melters for Pets
Ice melt products can be dangerous if you or your pet are exposed to it through skin, paws or other sensitive body areas. Prolonged or repeated exposure to just about any ice melt has the potential to cause issues. You should always be on the look out for this by checking your pet’s paws regularly. If there are any irritated, red areas or rashes, your vet should check them out.
Ingestion and the associated gastrointestinal irritation is another potential hazard. In general, the more of the product that is ingested, the greater the hazard. If your dog or pet has consumed some ice melt, you should consult your vet and have the container at hand so that you can tell them exactly what has been ingested. Ice melt products based on sodium chloride can cause high blood sodium levels which may lead to weakness, lethargy and muscle twitches. Sadly, this can deteriorate into a coma or even death, so always keep your eye on your pet while outside!
Helpful Tips For Using An Ice Melter with Pets
There is a lot that you can do to reduce the risk posed by any ice melt. The obvious thing is to thoroughly wash paws after pets have walked over a treated surface. You could consider using a paw wax to provide further protection or you could buy some nice dog booties. However, be careful that your pooch does not chew at the booties because that will result in them ingesting a lot of the melt!
To cut down the risk of ingestion, always use the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions and keep it locked up, with the lid securely in place, when not in use. If your pooch does ingest a large amount, you must seek advice from your vet right away.
Best Pet Friendly Ice Melt FAQ:
Q: What makes ice melts safe for pets?
A: Pet safe ice melts do not contain chemicals that are highly toxic to animals if ingested. They also do not cause irritation to skin and paws if your pet walks or rolls on them. An added benefit is that the crystals of animal-safe ice melts are smooth and do not, therefore, cause small abrasions in your pet’s paws.
Q: Can I make my own ice melter to use around my pet?
A: Some pet owners prefer to make their own ice melters using glycol which is a type of organic alcohol. Others have made their own product by mixing dish soap and rubbing alcohol with hot water. While you can certainly try doing this, it’s likely that you’ll find that homemade products are not as effective the commercial products.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is Safe Paw Ice Melt as it’s a completely safe and non-corrosive product that lasts for a full 72 hours. It also has a long shelf-life and will not damage cured concrete. This formula contains a liquid that instantly melts ice to break the surface tension so that the crystal core can penetrate the ice and speed up melting. It also attracts heat and uses energy from the sun to work even more effectively.
Most importantly, the pellets will not harm your dog, cat or other animals that come into contact with it. It will not hurt their eyes, paws or skin and will not even harm them if it is ingested as it’s made with urea, one of the least harmful salts out there!
Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!