With the Northeast being slammed this winter with some seriously severe snow and ice storms, the availability of rock salt is in short supply. After three winter storms in one week, states like Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey find themselves faced with critical supplies like rock salt running low.
For those who don’t live in the colder climes, rock salt is used to help melt ice and snow packed roads and public areas. Comprised of sodium chloride or potassium chloride which can heat up to 175 degrees when exposed to water, ice, and low temperatures, rock salt has been used for decades to make streets and sidewalks navigable for cars and pedestrians in the aftermath of Nature’s fury.
But these harsh chemicals have serious side effects for animals and the environment.
For dogs, the ice crystals of rock salt get frozen into their paws and fur. When pets get indoors into higher temperatures, these salts can burn the skin, causing ulcers and redness to tissue which can lead to bacterial infections. Dogs can also develop intestinal problems and inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) from licking the salt-based products off their paws.
Children who come in contact with rock salt while playing can get irritated eyes, while direct contact with the skin can lead to dermatitis, rashes, and blistering. Accidentally ingesting rock salts can cause stomach problems and kidney damage.
Seems like it’s time to invest in greener, healthier alternatives. Here is a sampling of ideas They may not melt the snow but they will give you traction to move around over the ice..
- Kitty liter – easy to find in ample supply
- Alfalfa meal – it’s 100 percent natural, a great de-icer and effective in providing traction when used in moderation
- Sand and/or coffee grinds – provides traction and the darker colors absorb more heat and help to melt snow and ice.
These are just some of the safer earth and people friendly options out there. With rock salt becoming hard to get, perhaps it’s time to focus on solutions that are healthier for people and the planet.