Commercial de-icing salts used to melt snow and ice pose a hazard to pets, warn EarthEasy pet experts. The most harmful is sodium chloride, while less harmful formulations include those containing potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate and calcium magnesium acetate.
Melting salts labeled "pet friendly,” such as Safe Paw, are preferable but may still cause irritation with prolonged exposure. Most harmful effects occur when pets lick their paws after walking on surfaces treated with the salts, leading to hyper-salivating, nausea and vomiting, as well as irritation, dryness or abrasion to paw pads, explains The Nest. Ingesting larger amounts can lead to an increase in the blood’s electrolyte levels, weakness, lethargy, and irritation to the oral and gastrointestinal system, according to the ASPCA.