Do you live in a climate where you need to use a deicer, but you’re not sure which ones are safe for your pets? Let’s check out the best and worst ice melts for pets. 

The wintry wonderland weather is here. The snow is beautiful, fluffy, and bright white. But it can also be hard, slick, and icy. The solution? Throw down some of that typical deicer salt. Problem solved, right?

Is Deicing Salt Safe For Pets? 

Unfortunately, most deicers are not safe for pets. When our pups go outside, they end up stepping on that salt, which can be irritating to their paws or even leave a chemical burn. 

And then, sometimes it can be poisonous. Our dogs have a natural habit of licking their paws whenever something is irritating or hurting them, or sometimes they lick just for grooming purposes. This means your pup could accidentally lick some of that deicer salt. 

Is Rock Salt Safe For Dogs?

Rock salt is the most common type of deicer. But it’s also one of the least pet-friendly types. quotes a veterinarian, saying “Prolonged exposure to rock salt can have an irritating effect on a dog’s paws,” says Dr. Daniel Inman, a veterinarian at Burlington Emergency Veterinary Specialists in Williston, Vermont.

Dr. Daniel Inman goes on to say that “ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal irritation in minor cases and, in more severe cases in which a dog ingests a large amount of rock salt, hypernatremia—the official term for elevated blood sodium levels. Hypernatremia can lead to a number of health problems, including advanced GI issues and neurologic dysfunction.”

Different forms of rock salt to avoid:

  • calcium chloride
  • magnesium chloride
  • sodium chloride

Is Ice Melt Pet-friendly? 

Although rock salt can be dangerous for our pups, there are other types of ice melts that are much more poisonous, “Ethylene glycol-based ice melts contain the same active ingredient as antifreeze, which is very deadly if ingested. ‘It’s one of the deadliest toxins we see at our office,’ Inman notes.”

If you think your dog has accidentally ingested any of the ice melts or deicers, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible! Give them as much information as you can. And keep in mind that you may have to take your dog to an emergency vet hospital. 

How to Protect My Dog from Ice Melts

If your dog has already stepped on a deicer at your house, or on someone else’s property, there are ways to keep your dog safe.

  • Thoroughly wash dog’s paws
    Make sure to thoroughly wash your dog’s paws with soap and warm water right when you get home. Wipe all of the salt off, so that they don’t get irritated by it and/or end up eating it. You can use a mild soap like Dawn dish soap, or even your dog’s shampoo
  • Paw wax
    Try using paw wax as a preventative measure. There are many different brands out there from which to choose. This type of balm helps to moisturize and protect your dog’s paws before they even go outside. It works as a defense against ice melts on the ground, and it helps your dog’s paws not dry up and crack in the cold winter weather. 
  • Dog boots
    Dog boots are both adorable and practical. They have rubber soles that will keep your dog’s paws protected from the harsh deicers on the ground, and they will even help keep your pup warm and dry from the harsh weather. 

Are There Any Pet-safe Ice Melts?

There are some companies that make pet-safe deicers. Just be aware of their ingredients, and always do your research before purchasing. Here are some of the most popular pet-friendly ice melts we have found.

  1. Morton Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt
    Their motto is “an ice melt for happy paws.” You’ve probably heard of the Morton Salt company in reference to their table salt. Well, they also make a deicer. This ice melt is pet-safe and was developed by veterinarians. It is free from salts and chlorides to help keep your dog safe.
  1. Safe Paw
    This ice melt is pet-safe, child-safe, and even plant-safe. It’s 100% free from salts and chloride. It’s non-toxic, vet-developed, and won’t damage your concrete. Safe Paw is made to work faster and last 3 times longer than the average ice melt. Plus won’t hurt your dog’s paws! 
  1. Natural Rapport
    Natural Rapport is a pet-friendly ice melt that is calcium chloride free. It also lasts 3 times longer than typical ice melts. And it will be safe and gentle on your pup’s paws. 
  1. Redmond Ice Slicer
    Redmond Ice Slicer is kid-safe and pet-safe. It’s an all-natural granular ice melt. This deicer works twice as hard as other typical deicers. “That’s because Ice Slicer’s gradations provide stabilizing traction, while its 60+ minerals help it brine faster and last longer than typical rock salt.” And it claims to melt up to 3 ½ times faster than typical ice melts. 
  1. Just For Pets Snow & Ice Melter
    Just For Pets Snow & Ice Melter contains no toxic magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, or sodium chloride. It’s fast-acting, and comes in a 9 lb. shaker jug. It works on contact to melt and crush ice. And it won’t chemically attack concrete. 
  1. Natural Alternative Ice Melt
    Natural Alternative Ice Melt is another pet-safe product that is also safe for the environment. It won’t harm your vegetation or your concrete. It is “biodegradable & non-toxic to fish, aquatic life and watersheds. [This product] melts to -16 Degrees (F).” And it comes in a handy shaker jug which makes application easy. 

There are some companies that claim to have pet-safe ice melting products, even though they still contain magnesium chloride. These companies state that magnesium chloride is much less toxic than calcium chloride or sodium chloride. The choice is yours, but my advice is always “better safe than sorry.” I would recommend using one of the products in the list above that don’t contain any of the various potentially harmful chlorides. 

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