Living in the Midwest we are all used to snowy winter weather and we like to take preventative measures to lessen the effect of the snow on our homes.  One of those preventative measures is spreading ice melt on our driveways, porches and walkways.  While ice melts can do damage to your concrete, they also have negative side effects on the furry members of your family as well.

Let’s take a look at the most common ice melts:

Rock Salt

Broken down chemically as Sodium Chloride, rock salt is the most common ice melt. Used on driveways and walkways around the country, it is also widely distributed to highway and street departments to treat the roads during winter weather and is highly corrosive on concrete.

Vegetation: Harmful

Pets: Harmful

Calcium Chloride

Calcium Chloride ice melt is a more effective option than rock salt. While rock salt is only effective around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, calcium chloride can be used at temperatures at -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vegetation: Harmful

Pets: Harmful

Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride is effective at around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Potassium Chloride is an ingredient that’s usually found in fertilizer, because of this there is a perceived benefit for use around vegetation.

Vegetation: Less Harmful

Pets: Less Harmful but still not recommended.

Effect on Pets

No matter which ice melt you use from the above listed all could have harmful effects on your pets. The most common issues are an irritation to the skin, especially to the paw pads. If enough is ingested, vomiting and diarrhea among other gastrointestinal issues can occur.  If you use any of these ice melts, be sure to wipe your pet’s paws when they come inside or they could try to lick the salt off themselves. You can also put booties on your pet’s feet to prevent them from collecting ice melt granules in their pads.

Alternative Ice Melt

For those seeking an alternative ice melt that isn’t harmful to pets, we recommend using Calcium Magnesium Acetate. CMA is biodegradable and has a very low corrosion rate.   As always, please consult your local veterinarian and ask what they recommend.

Vegetation: Safe

Pets: Safe

Mosby Building Arts is a premier design-build remodeling company in St. Louis, Missouri. For over 70 years, Mosby has been dedicated to improving the health and look of St. Louis area homes. With a full staff of designers, architects, and craftsman, Mosby can help with any size project. To schedule a home consultation, call 314-909-1800, or go online here.