Extreme Winter and Pets’ Paws

We are experiencing another really tough winter in many parts of the US.  These newer, more intense and unusual winter storms often result in very snowy, icy walkways and driveways.  For all of us, and especially kids and pets, protection from the harsh chemicals in many commercial de-icing products is critical. 

The  road salt and other chemicals used to melt ice and snow are caustic to pet’s paws and can be poisonous when they groom themselves or lick their feet and its gets into their systems. Salt alone is very drying and can cause cracking of the paws, which can lead to other not good outcomes such as infection.

Make Paw Safe Ice Melt Yourself, Easy Peasy

With only a few inexpensive ingredients, you can create your own de-icer that is much less expensive and a whole lot safer for tender paws. Use a watering can with a rosette nozzle, add the ingredients below and pour on your walkway and driveway.

  1. 1 tsp. of Dawn dish soap*
  2. 1 tbsp. of rubbing alcohol
  3. 1/2 gallon of hot water
    *   there is something about Dawn that seems to work so much better than others. 

For thicker ice and snowier sections, adding some coarse kosher salt helps make the ice have some traction and helps to break the ice down more quickly. No more than  1/4 of a cup and only on the thick areas, the salt alone can dry out paws and while it’s safe for them to lick, it still can be very drying on their feet. Salt can also have a harmful impact on the environment, so use very sparingly. 

The main reason this works is that the freezing temperature of the alcohol is so low ( -128 degrees F)  the temp would have to drop that low to refreeze. 

Keep an eye on your pets, watch to see if they sit and lick their paws frequently, they may be irritated. If so, some balm or Vaseline can help.