The 8 Best Pet-Safe Ice Melts to Use This Winter, According to a Vet

Updated: Mar. 06, 2024

These expert and user-endorsed ice melts will keep your pets safe and outdoor surfaces slip-free in the most extreme conditions.

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The 8 Best Pet Safe Ice Melts To Use This Winter, According To A Vet Ft Via Amazon.comVIA MERCHANT

Anyone who lives in a colder climate is all too familiar with preparing for winter storms. From heated outdoor mats to the old ice melt vs. rock salt debate, there is a lot to consider when figuring out how to minimize slips and slides outside of your home. For pet owners, it is even trickier, as many of the ice-melting products on the market are not pet-safe.

“Even limited contact with ice melt, such as a few licks of snow, or paws that have come in contact with ice melt, can result in vomiting or diarrhea,” explains Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, chief veterinarian at Petco. Should your dog ingest a larger amount of ice melt that is not pet-safe, they may experience more severe vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities and/or mouth and stomach ulcerations. “Also, the physical contact from certain ice melts, or especially rock salts, can cause pain, irritation or even ulceration of pet pads or skin,” she adds.

Luckily, several pet safe ice melt options can help keep your driveways and porches clear of snow and ice without harming your animals.

What to Look for When Buying Pet-Safe Ice Melts

Dr. Miller explains that it’s important to avoid ice melts that contain large amounts of certain chemicals that can be irritating to a pet’s paws, mouth and stomach. “Ice melts made with calcium salts such as calcium carbonate, calcium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate, and those containing sodium chloride and potassium chloride, can be especially toxic to pets,” she says. Ethylene glycol based de-icers, “the same ingredient as anti-freeze,” is also very toxic to pets adds Dr. Seren Lanza, DVM, veterinarian at VCA Darien Animal Hospital in Connecticut.

Instead, Dr. Miller recommends ice melts made from urea, “the safest for pets,” she says. Magnesium chloride is also acceptable. “Regardless, it’s important to keep containers of ice melt sealed and out of pets’ reach as a precautionary measure,” she says.

Dr. Lanza does note that while pet-safe ice melts work, “they may not be as effective” as the non-safe alternatives. However, the health of your pet is more important, right? You can also use sand, dirt and gravel, “although they will not melt the ice.”

Here are my top choices for pet-friendly ice melts, so you can keep your home safe for everyone in the family.

Best Overall Pet-Safe Ice Melt

Safe Paw Salt-Free Ice Melt

Dr. Miller’s top pick for pet-safe ice melt is Safe Paw Salt-Free Ice Melt, as it is “guaranteed environmentally safe” and is 100 percent salt and chloride-free. “This ice melt is nontoxic for animals and humans, is safe around children and pets and will not harm waterways and sensitive wetlands,” she says. Amazon shoppers agree that it is one of the best-safe ice melters on the market, giving it a 4.5-star rating with over 7,600 reviews.

The melter is easy to use. Simply spread the pellets evenly on the ground before or after a snowfall, using half the amount of a salt-based melter. It penetrates the molecular structure of snow and ice in temperatures up to -2 degrees.

Pros

  • Garden and grass-friendly
  • Safe for use on stone, metal, decking, concrete, brick and pavers
  • No salt or chloride
  • Recommended by vets
  • Dye-free and won’t stain

Cons

  • Not for use on concrete installed within 12 months
  • Not for use in temperatures lower than -2 degrees

Best Biodegradable Pet-Safe Ice Melt

Pestell Paw Thaw Pet-Friendly Ice Melter

If you are on a budget, Dr. Miller recommends a similar, but less expensive alternative to Safe Paw. Pestell Paw Thaw Pet-Friendly Ice Melter is a pet-safe, biodegradable ice melt that works fast and won’t damage your shoes or floors,” she says. Like Safe Paw, the granules are packaged in a jug, making it easy to evenly sprinkle the little blue crystals wherever you need to melt snow and ice.

The product is formulated with fertilizer, calcium magnesium acetate and PH stabilizers. Because of the unique ingredients, the pellets are biodegradable in soil, making this a great option for lawns.

Pros

  • Biodegrades, making it a great option for lawns
  • Pet-safe, effective and affordable ice melter
  • Comes in a jug for easy application

Cons

  • Do not use on concrete or precast less than a year old
  • Only effective up to 0 degrees

Best for Extreme Temperatures

Organic Melt Premium Pet and Eco-Friendly Ice Melt

If you live in an “extreme” cold climate, your choices of pet-safe ice melts are limited. Dr. Miller recommends Organic Melt Premium Pet and Eco-Friendly Ice Melt, “effective in temperatures as low as –22 degrees,” she maintains. Another bonus of this particular formulation is that it is organic, made with, get this, beet juice! While you might worry about staining due to the pigment of the root vegetable, the eco-friendly product won’t leave your lawns and concrete beet red.

The only drawback? This product is slightly more expensive than the competition and not as readily available.

Pros

  • Works in extremely cold temperatures down to -22 degrees
  • Organic and eco-friendly made with beets
  • Doesn’t stain concrete or laws

Cons

  • A little more expensive than other pet-safe ice melts
  • Harder to find

Keep It Green Snow And Ice Melter Ecomm Via Amazon.com via merchant

Best for Lawns

Keep It Green Snow and Ice Melter

If you have concerns about how your lawn is going to fare in the spring after using ice melter all winter, spend a little extra on Keep It Green Snow and Ice Melter. These green-tinted pellets are non-toxic, pet-safe and stain-free making them a safe ice melter. But the real kicker is, that once the ice melts, time-release fertilizer delivers nutrients to your lawn and plants. Works in extreme temperatures down to -25 degrees. Ingredients include sodium chloride and urea.

Pros

  • Not only is this snow and ice melter safe for pets, but it also fertilizes your lawn
  • Pellets tinted green simplify application
  • Works in extreme temperatures down to 25 degrees

Cons

  • A few shoppers complain that residue may be left behind

Harris Pet Friendly Ice And Snow Melter Ecomm Via Amazon.com via merchant

Best for Concrete

Harris Pet-Friendly Ice and Snow Melter

If you have invested a lot of money in concrete, you need to be careful about what ice melt products you use. Many ingredients corrode concrete and can permanently damage driveways, patios and other hard surfaces. Harris Pet Friendly Ice and Snow Melter, is made of 100% magnesium chloride, and won’t ruin concrete or irritate pet paws. It also works at -13 degrees, making it a great option for extreme climates, and quickly melts ice and snow on just about any surface, from wooden decks to concrete and rock aggregate.

And, if you care about the environment, this is a great option as the nearly 100-year-old business is the oldest EPA-registered company. The ingredients, sourced from the Dead Sea, are environmentally friendly and listed with the Organic Minerals Research Institute for organic use. The only major con? It is a pricier option than others on our list.

Pros

  • Won’t damage concrete
  • Works at low temperatures down to -13 degrees
  • Melts ice and snow quickly
  • Won’t irritate paws
  • Organic
  • EPA registered company

Cons

  • Pricier than non-organic alternatives

Scotwood Industries Road Runner Pet Friendly Ice Melter Ecomm Via Amazon.com via merchant

Best Colorless Pet-Safe Ice Melt

Scotwood Industries Road Runner Pet-Friendly Ice Melt

If you aren’t into the idea of colored pellets, Dr. Lanza recommends Scotwood Industries Road Runner Pet-Friendly Ice Melt, a colorless and odorless ice melt made out of magnesium chloride. Amazon shoppers are huge fans of the product, claiming that it works quickly to melt snow and ice on everything from lawns and shrubs to concrete without leaving behind damage. They also note that the granules are rounded and don’t get stuck in pet paws like other brands. It also works in colder climates, down to -15 degrees.

Shoppers are also impressed with the price, maintaining that the ice melt offers a lot of bang for the buck.

Pros

  • Colorless
  • Melts in temperature down to -15 degrees
  • Reasonably priced
  • Rounded granules that don’t get stuck in pet paws

Cons

  • Shoppers wish that it came in larger sizes

Best High-Quality Pet-Safe Ice Melt

Morton Safe-T Pet Ice melt

Dr. Lanza recommends Morton Safe-T Pet Ice Melt as one of the top-value pet-safe ice melts. While made by a company famous for salt, this high-quality, vet-developed product is surprisingly affordable. Another plus? It also comes with a convenient handle for easy dispensing.

The natural, salt and chloride-free pellets won’t damage pet paws and the blue hue enables you to see where you’ve already applied the product, to make snow and ice removal easy.

Pros

  • High-quality and affordable
  • Vet-approved and pet-safe
  • Blue color aids application
  • Safe for wooden decks and ramps

Cons

  • Takes more product for effective melting
  • May damage concrete
  • Only melts down to 10 degrees

Natural Rapport Pet Safe Ice Melt Ecomm Via Amazon.com via merchant

Best Pet-Safe Ice Melt on Amazon

Natural Rapport Pet-Safe Ice Melt

Natural Rapport Pet-Safe Ice Melt, an eco-friendly formula is a top-seller on Amazon. The green pellets come in a shaker jug making it easy to sprinkle everywhere outside. The time-release formula gradually and continually melts ice and prevents re-icing, so you won’t have to continue reapplying. Another bonus? The eco-friendly formula contains biodegradable soil supporting compounds, so it won’t harm your grass or vegetation.

The biggest complaint from Amazon shoppers is the price, as it costs a bit more than the average pet-safe ice melt.

Pros

  • One of the most popular pet-safe ice melts on Amazon
  • Eco-friendly
  • Won’t damage yard, vegetation, concrete or metal
  • Applies easily

Cons

  • Only available on Amazon
  • Priced higher than other pet-safe ice melts

Why You Should Trust Us

As a seasoned product tester and reviews writer, I have years of experience weeding out the best products in a number of categories. I’m also the owner of two large dogs and a cat who lives on 1.5 acres of land in Pennsylvania, and have personally tested out various pet safe ice melts on my lawn, driveway and porches. I also enlisted the help of Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM, Chief Veterinarian at Petco and Seren Lanza, DVM at VCA Darien Animal Hospital in Connecticut. I also incorporated the wisdom and research of Amy Shojai, CABC, Affiliate Pet Editor at Large for Family Handyman. She’s also an award-winning pet journalist and the author of 35 pet titles.

How Veterinarians Selected the Best Pet-Safe Ice Melts

At Family Handyman, we are dedicated to finding the best products for your home and yard. We know that pet safety comes first, so we enlisted veterinarians, who are familiar with the dangers posed to animals by traditional snow and ice melting products, to weigh in on the best pet-safe ice melts. We also researched products and poured through thousands of reviews to compile a list of the best pet-safe ice melts.

FAQ

What kind of ice melt is safe for pets?

Ice melts made from urea and magnesium chloride are safe for pets. Those made with calcium salts, including calcium carbonate, calcium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate, and those containing sodium chloride and potassium chloride, are not safe.

Is magnesium chloride ice melt safe for pets?

Yes, magnesium chloride ice melts are safe for pets according to both the vets we interviewed.

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