Winter isn’t fun sometimes..let’s face it! I no longer can see the road or the friendly dog-loving neighbors walking their furry four legged friends- but I can see mounds of snow. In addition, I seem to wear a lot of black and white these days…not intended that way! But salt is everywhere and the negative effects are also everywhere!
My dogs love the snow but one thing we all have in common and one thing we do not like is all the rock salt! I know it is a quick fix for many. In fact, it is the #1 preferred way for Canadians to deal with the issue of dangerous and slippery ice on driveways, patios, stairways, walkways, roads, and a variety of walking and driving surfaces.
Let’s reconsider those quick fixes and look at some healthier alternatives to throwing rock salt on your icy driveway and around your yard. Rock salt-(most commonly-sodium or magnesium chloride) can be very painful for our furry four-legged babies whose paws are ultra-sensitive to salts, and if ingested, could lead to muscle weakness, irregular heart rhythms, diarrhea, and /or a drop in blood pressure. When walked on, it burns pets’ paws and when it gets stuck in the paws, it is uncomfortable and irritable.
So how can we prevent our walkways, driveways and stairways from becoming dangerously slippery while still being kind to the environment and keeping paws intact?
Luckily, there are greener alternatives:
- Cat Litter ( I like Arm and Hammer)
- Wood chips/wood ash
- Organic and pet-safe de-icers (Ecotraction)
Many of these alternatives are messy but healthy. I use either kitty litter- inexpensive to buy in bulk, gives sufficient traction, and is safe. The other alternative I use is Ecotraction. When I was doing some research for my own use, I came across the story of the founder of Ecotraction and why he decided to come up with a healthy alternative to rock salt. In 2004, Mark Watson’s 8-year old Cocker Spaniel “Grover” died suddenly from lymphoma cancer. Mark found out that lymphoma could be caused by a toxin; often linked to the same toxins contained in the ice melting chemicals that inadvertently get licked off the paws of dogs after winter walks.
Mark researched and discovered that rock salt, used by his municipality on roads, contained traces of toxic heavy metals (mercury and lead) and frequently mixed with an anti-caking agent ( to prevent clumping) called ferrocyanide. Dogs who lick their paws could in fact ingest unhealthy quantities. Thus, Mark went about creating a cost effective, all natural volcanic mineral that would be safe for plants, property, asphalt, waterways, and most of all, pets!
Of course, I am a sucker for these kinds of stories and could feel the pain for his loss. I could also feel his frustration and his desire to find an alternative, so now I am a faithful user! Check out your local Health food store, Canadian Tire, Home Depot or Pharmaprix. Happy winter…it is coming to an end soon, right? 🙂