Welcome to Daisy’s Rescue. We are all about helping owners and rescue groups to learn useful tricks and tips on how to take care of your dog(s). We are here for you to help with information on all types of routine dog care. Please feel free to leave comments and questions you may have for us. For your convenience we have added links to the products that we like to use, here in the article for you to find them more easily.
Today’s session is about what to use to remove unwanted ice and snow this winter.
It’s that time of year again, winter. with winter comes cold weather, snow and ice. When the snow and ice cover walkways and roads, we naturally want to remove it for our safety. The most common way to remove ice after we shovel the snow is to put down rock salt. The problem is, most ice melting products are very poisonous to dogs. But before we get into why they are poisonous, lets talk about how rock salt melts ice.
Water freezes at about 32 degrees. When you put rock salt on the ice, the salt dissolves and forms a brine solution (saltwater). The brine actually lowers the freezing point of water, so the ice melts. How about other types of ice melt, magnesium, calcium, urea and poly glycol? These chemicals lower the freezing point of water and there by melt the ice. Some of the chemicals have an added bonus to melting ice, they create a chemical reaction when mixed with water and they heat up, this is known as exothermic dissolution.
Having discussed how ice melter’s work, lets look at how safe they are. What I found out through searching many websites on the internet is that just about all the ice melter’s are toxic at some level. Some chemicals are safer than others, but all become toxic at some point. Rock salt is sodium, it irritates the paws and skin of dogs, it dries out skin, and can cause inflammation. When the paws are licked the dog ingests the sodium. Calcium and magnesium are naturally occurring chemicals in the body. They are essential chemicals in the body, but having too much of these chemicals can really harm your pet. Besides the skin and paw irritation, ingesting too much can cause cardiac problems. Propylene glycol has been approved by the FDA as a food additive for human and pet foods in very low doses. Propylene glycol is used to decide planes. Urea is a chemical that is naturally made in the bodies of animals and humans, it is a component of urine. It is often used in topical products for human use, like shampoos and hand creams. It is not meant to be ingested, while it is not terribly poisonous, it’s not something you want to do.
Here are a list of general signs and symptoms of poisoning and toxicity in the above chemicals.
Dermatitis or irritated skin, inflammation of paws, red irritated paws, staggering, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, staggering, fluid retention or swelling of the paws, legs, abdomen because of fluid, overly thirsty, extreme urination, seizures and kidney and liver failure.
If your dog starts with any of the following, please go to your vet right away! These can be life threatening. You never want to mess around with the life of your dog.
Here are some products that claim to be safe for use around pets.
Happy Paws Solid Ice Melt , they claim to be pet safe and use calcium magnesium acetate. They advertise they DO NOT use salt, chlorides, glycols, amides and ureas.
Morton Safe-T-Pet Snow & Ice Melt, uses propylene glycol and urea. They claim the product is safe and was designed with veterinarian over sight and in put.
PSTL PAW THAW ICE MELT, This company does not say what is uses.
Safe Paw Ice Melter , this company uses propylene glycol. They claim this is safe for pets.
Let’s look at some alternative ways to remove snow and ice.
In stead of using chemicals, how about using an ice chipper to remove the ice. Suncast 8-Inch Snow & Ice Scraper with D-Grip Handle. An Ice chipper has a flat metal blade and a long wooden handle like a shovel, you stand over the ice and you slam down the chipper on the ice breaking it. You can still melt ice and not use chemicals too, you can use Propane Turbo Torch, Propane Torch Weed Burner Motor Heater Ice Snow Melter Pipe Thaw, or Bare Ground Solutions Bare Blaster Snow & Ice Melting Propane Torch. Basically it is a propane torch with a long nozzle so you can reach the ground and apply the flame directly to the ice and snow. The added benefit of this torch is, in the summer you can burn weeds and be totally environmentally friendly by not using any chemicals. You can throw sand down over the ice, while it does not melt it will provide a non slip surface to walk across. You can buy sand at any home improvement store and makes a great alternative to melting ice. Another alternative non ice melt is kitty liter, the non clumping kitty liter. You can get the cheap store brand non clumping liter at any store. You can also use doggie booties. Pawz Blue Water-Proof Dog Boot , Ultra Paws TrAction Dog Boots . These go over your dogs feet and protects them from the cold and from the chemicals used in ice melts. You dog may walk funny until he gets used to them, but these are a very safe way to protect your dog. Here is an alternative to the slip on booties, Invisible Dog Boots – Protect Paws From Sand Hot Pavement, Ice, and Salt with All Natural 100% Wax-Based Cream. For Dogs Who Just Won’t Wear Boots.
Just a quick recap. Please do your home work and research products that you may wish to use to remove snow and ice, to make sure they are safe for your dog. If you would rather use no chemical alternatives, all the better. Please remember that this is just an informational guide and that you should make the final decision based on what you feel is safest and best for you dog.
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