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Is Ice Melt Safe for Pets?

With any winter storm, homeowners and condo owners have to deal with snow and ice on parking lots, driveways and sidewalks. For most homeowners and condo associations, chemical ice melt is used to keep sidewalks clear. Many residents in our communities have pets. Is the ice melt you or your community association are using safe for pets?

Traditional ice melt is not much more than chunky table salt. In small amounts, it is relatively non-toxic. However, a pet that likes the taste of salt may lick it enough to get sick. Walking on ice melt can cause injury too. Salt chunks can be sharp, and these can cause painful injuries to the paws of our pet friends, not to mention salt in the wounds!

Further, salt also can dry out the soft pads of your pet’s paws. Dried out skin can crack and become painful or even infected. The various formulations of ice melt are going to pose different hazards, from chemical burns to potential poisoning. Fortunately, there are pet-safe ice melt formulas available. Morton Salt makes “Safe-T-Pet.” Petco carries Pestell’s “Paw Thaw” and True Value stores carry “Safe Pet” ice melter. Most major retailers will have some sort of pet-friendly ice melt.

If your community is using a lot of ice melt, a few tips can help your pet on their walks.

  • Massage some petroleum jelly onto the pads of their paws before going out – this will help with the cold and afford protection from salt.
  • Keep a towel handy to occasionally wipe their paws clean of any debris.
  • If your pets will wear them, booties can protect their paws from the elements.
  • Watch your pet when out for exercise and prevent them from consuming any of these chemicals.

We at O’Connor Insurance love our pets, and we hope yours are able to enjoy the winter months free of illness. If you have any questions about insurance matters pertaining to ice and snow on your property, or the property managed by your community association, please contact one of our independent insurance agents at 314-434-0038.

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