While all ice melting solutions carry some risk, some safe options include urea (carbonyl diamide), sodium chloride (rock salt), potassium chloride and calcium chloride. The first is a somewhat ineffective melting agent, while the latter can cause minimal to moderate damage to concrete and kill plants if over applied.
Potassium chloride is relatively safe around pets, but even a tiny amount can be lethal to a pet with kidney disease if ingested. If such a pet is present, it may be best to opt for a substance that provides traction without melting the ice, such as sand or kitty litter. Calcium chloride works the fastest of the four options.