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It’s been quite a winter. In the past three weeks, roads across the country have been bombarded with snowstorm after snowstorm. Municipalities have been using massive amounts of road salt just to keep us mobile. But all this road salt can be be bad for the environment. It also harmful to man’s best friend.

One of the biggest threats to pet’s paws during the winter months is from the use of road salt. Dogs naturally suffer from dry and cracked paws; when salt added into the mix their paws dry out even more and can become irritated. They often tend to lick their paws and ingest the salt residue which can cause vomiting, dehydration and digestive tract infections.

It may be hard to change the de-icing products our towns or city uses, but changing the product we personally use to de-ice our walkways and driveways could make all the difference in our pet’s health as well as our environment. There are many alternatives that can be used to de-ice or add traction to our home walkways and driveways, options that are environmentally friendly and won’t hurt our furry friends.

Now what are these magical salt replacements? If you have a cat, use a clay-based kitty litter. Clay based litter will not only de-ice and add traction to walkways and driveways, it’s biodegradable. Sand is an affordable alternative. Products such as IceClear, Ecotraction and SafePaw are non-salt based de-icers perfect for private home use.

These products are also environmentally-friendly and won’t harm our pets. It may be quite sometime before we can get our local governments to completely stop using road salt. But it’s up to us to start making the change to some of these products. It will make our treks out of the house easier and also make a difference for our environment and pets.