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Anti-Freeze Rock Salt is a popular product during the colder months; it easily melts away the ice from your walkways to prevent slippery surfaces. Unfortunately, most anti-freeze products are extremely toxic to both dogs and humans. Rock Salt is Sodium Chloride, which is toxic if ingested by either animals or humans. Rock salt can also harm vegetation. 

While many dogs may not intentionally lick the anti-freeze off of the ground, it can easily get stuck in their paws, and later licked off. Dogs may also get a mouthful of antifreeze when trying to lick at the ice or snow. When snow and ice start to form outside, be cautious of where your pup is stepping, and what they’re eating. It’s also important to wash your dog’s paws when they come inside to ensure they won’t be licking anything hazardous off of their paws.

Check out some of our safety tips, and top alternatives to salt for snow removal this winter season.

table of contents

dangers of salt

Rock salt is toxic to pets and can irritate their paws. If they’re running around in ice or snow puddles covered in snow salt, their paws will become dry, cracked, and irritated. Even if you don’t use rock salt, it’s best to make your dog wear booties when they’re going to be spending extended periods of time out in the snow. Chances are, your neighbors and public areas are going to be using rock salt that may hurt Fido. 

While you can’t control what your neighbors are using, you can do everything in your power to make your yard safe for Fido. Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride) is never worth the risk. We all know that dogs love to run and jump around in snow, and inevitably, if you’re using rock salt on your walkways, your dog may ingest some. Sodium Chloride in high doses can cause lethargy, seizures, weakness, and eventually, death. 

quick cheat guide

safe for dogs

  • Carbonyl DIamine
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate
  • Propylene Glycol

not safe for dogs

  • Calcium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Ethylene Glycol

alternatives

While rock salt may be toxic, there are plenty of alternatives you can try. Some are pricier than others, it all depends on how permanent you want your solution to be. Heated tracks are the priciest, but also last years and years. This requires re-paving your driveway or walkway, but if you don’t get much snow, this can save you hours of shoveling time each winter!

Of course you can also purchase heated mats that simply cover your walkways. This gives your pooch a clear, warm pathway to their favorite potty spots. Most of the mats are fairly cheap on Amazon, and you and you can put them anywhere; your driveway, garage, deck, or patio. 

Last, but certainly not least, there are plenty of safe chemicals you can throw on your pavement that are safe for both dogs and kids. This is the cheapest solution as you may expect. Surprisingly enough, we’ve found that many of the safe chemical alternatives actually work better than rock salt! They melt the ice and snow faster, and have a higher melting point. 

outdoor heated tracks

These outdoor heated tracks are the most permanent (and expensive) alternative. The tracks go under your pavement, allowing them to heat the surface of your driveway or walkway from below. Warmly Yours is the most popular brand of heated tracks; they give off 50 watts of heat per square foot, easily melting an inch or two of snow or ice from your pavement. 

The only downside to these tracks is the price; depending on how many square feet you prefer, they can be anywhere from $200-$500. Keep in mind however, that they are semi-permanent, and have a 10-year warranty. So as long as you have light dustings of snow, your walkways will be clear. 

snow mat

safe paw ice melt

nontoxic antifreeze

Safe Paw Ice Melter is a non-toxic way to get rid of ice and snow from your walkways without the hazardous chemicals found in most anti-freeze formulas. Safe Paw uses carbonyl diamine and a glycol admixture to quickly remove ice and snow from your pavement without harming your pets.

This anti-freeze is safe for all of your pets, children, gardens, concrete, rugs, and bricks. This concentrated formula is non-corrosive and even environmentally safe. The Paw Safe brand covers twice the area of rock salt, and will prevent the formation of ice for up to 3 days. In our opinion this product is a no brainer; all of your vegetation, pets, and kids will be safe around this product, and you won’t have to worry about damaging your dog’s paws when they run outside. 

heated power blanket

The Power Blanket is a bit cheaper than the heated tracks you can purchase for your pavement. You simply throw the mat on your walkways, turn them on, and the snow will melt away. They’re great for right in front of your doors, or even on your walkways or driveways. You can purchase them in a variety of sizes, making them suitable for just about any slippery surface. They’re made with durable, non-slip rubber that can withstand any snowstorm. 

These mats are great for households with kids and pets. You can create a pathway with them for your pooch to go out in the cold, completely eliminating the need for toxic salt. Your dog also won’t need booties, as their paws will be warm (so long as they stay on the mats). 

heated snow mat

MELT

MELT is a unique blend of both calcium chloride and Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA). Calcium Chloride is a popular ice melt used on outdoor surfaces. CMA is a great substitute for traditional rock salt. It’s much better for the environment, pets, and vegetation. CMA is also more effective than traditional rock salt. It melts at temperatures as low as -25, and immediately produces heat when it comes into contact with your pavement. This formula also provides great traction control for you and your animals. Simply pour it onto any snowy, icy surface, and everyone will be able to walk around with ease. 

You can safely use this product on any wood or pavement surface. It’s eco-friendly, effective, and most importantly – safe for your furry friends. You can purchase MELT in either a 10, 25, or 50 lb. package from Amazon. 

snowdog

When it comes to the safety of your dog, we think these alternatives are a no brainer! They work just as well as rock salt, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your furry friends are safe while they’re playing outside (at least while they’re in your yard). 

Have questions about any of the products listed? Email us at [email protected]