Snow Dog

With snow covering much of the United States, many of us are waging a war against ice, a safety hazard for humans and dogs alike. But before you pull out the de-icer you used last year, consider whether or not the method is actually safe. Many chemical de-icers cause harm to your dog, as well as the environment. Even some natural ones do! Not to worry; we’ve got everything you need to know for de-icing safely and effectively while keeping pets safe. Find out how your method for de-icing measures up!

Use:

Gravel

This is the best solution for dog owners. It’s completely natural, inexpensive, and easy to use. Unlike many other methods, it is safe and will not irritate the pads on your dog’s feet.

Sand

Another great, natural solution that is safe for your pet. The downside is it must be cleaned up to avoid causing sedimentation by running off into waterways.

Plastic Sheeting or Wooden Boards

Before the ice storm hits, cover the areas you want to protect with heavy plastic sheeting or large wood boards. Remove the material right after the storm to prevent it from freezing into place. It is completely safe for your dog but not as convenient as other methods.

Avoid:

Salt

This may seem like a good solution. After all, salt is natural, right? Unfortunately, it can cause severe irritation to your dog’s paws, and lime rock salt and calcium chloride salt can cause vomiting and diarrhea when licked. And it’s not good for vegetation either.

But if you have trouble spots that you need to tackle in order to keep human family members safe, it can be a solution to consider using sparingly. It’s also a method that is likely being used in your neighborhood. So how do you keep your dog safe?

Protect your dog’s paws with booties or paw wax to prevent contact with salt (or any other de-icer chemicals) when he is playing outside or going for a walk. Then, when you’re inside, wipe your dog down with soap and water. Be sure to clean the paws, legs, and stomach well.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate and Potassium Acetate

These are two other methods to reserve only for trouble spots, if at all. These chemicals can harm your dog’s paws and aren’t safe to ingest. They also temporarily deplete oxygen to small bodies of water but not at the same scale as other chemical de-icers. Like with salt, it’s important to keep your dog protected if you choose this method.

Don’t Use:

Carbonyl Diamide

Also referred to as urea, this chemical de-icer releases nitrate and ammonia into the water supply and nearby bodies of water and also damages vegetation. As for the effect on your pup, it will irritate your dog’s paws and isn’t safe to ingest. Find another method to use inside, and be sure to clean your dog if he comes into contact with Carbonyl Diamide.

Image Credit: jpctalbot