Ice Melt Information for Pet Owners

The NDHA would like to remind our residents that ULS uses Tillson Brands “Go-Melt” commercial Ice Melter on the pathways under contract with the NDHA. They have used this product in our community for several winters. Go Melt is considered a pet-friendly product; the main ingredient is sodium chloride (rock salt). It contains no calcium chloride.

While some ice-melts are less irritating to pet’s paws than rock salt, they can be very dangerous if ingested. Melts containing the main ingredient of ethylene glycol (also found in anti-freeze), is deadly if ingested. Propylene glycol -based melts contain high levels of urea and are probably the least harmful to dogs but are very dangerous to deer and other ruminants if consumed (ammonia toxicosis). These urea- based products are also extremely expensive and are ineffective at temperatures colder than -5C, making them inappropriate for use in our community.

ULS applies salt only when needed, but are contractually obligated to clear snow and ice off pathways under NDHA control as soon as possible. Where their equipment cannot clear down to bare asphalt, ice melt may be applied as required. Pedestrian safety is the highest priority for the NDHA where snow clearing is concerned. Avoidable slip and fall incidents, and associated personal injuries, are not an option. We do acknowledge that there are many dog owners & walkers in the neighborhood who use our pathways, and we appreciate that some pet paws may suffer irritation due to the salt. We have done our best to use a product that is effective for pedestrian purposes while being the least dangerous for dogs and the wildlife in our community.

It should also be noted that we have no control regarding what is used on many other public walkways and roads in the community. In areas of Discovery Ridge where ULS works under contract with the City of Calgary, ULS has advised that the city provides them with the City’s own salt product. We have no information regarding the chemical makeup of this product. What is used on public sidewalks cleared by private homeowners, condo associations or commercial properties is also out of our control. Please see FAQ 22 on our website for a map showing the specific community pathways the NDHA maintains.

Ice melt that is used over the winter has the potential to build up a residue over time. The only way to remove/reduce the residue is with rain or melting wet snow. Repeat exposure (multiple walks) or prolonged exposure (long walks) on treated pathways may cause irritation until the salt and/or residue abates. It was suggested by veterinarians that pets affected by the rock salt use paw booties (ideal) or paw wax. While there are pet “friendly” de-icers, there is no such thing as a truly pet “safe” de-icer on the market for commercial application. Therefore, pets must not be allowed to ingest any type of de-icer. Once home, owners should rinse and wipe off pet’s feet including between toes and around the central pad if they don’t use booties.

We hope you find this information useful. If you have further questions, please ask.