Winter is coming again and, naturally, people resort to known snow removal practices, often utilizing snow removal products. While these products might be effective against snow, they can also have a negative impact on your pets. The chemicals used in snow removal products are often harmful to plants and animals.
There are safer products you can use, but the best way to remove snow is by doing it manually. It’s the only foolproof way of guaranteeing your pet’s safety while keeping snow off the path. Similarly, people tend to resort to old habits when shovelling snow, which may not be the safest ways. Read on for tips on preventing you and your pets from harm while removing snow effectively.
Pet-Safe Snow Removal Products:
Dogs and cats are generally sensitive to ice and cold, especially when their paws touch with ice. Snow removal products often contain chemicals that can irritate the skin in direct contact; they can also be poisonous if ingested. Additionally, salt between an animal’s paws can get pretty hot.
Dogs Naturally Magazine discusses some of the chemicals you should be aware of when looking for a pet-friendly product.
Chloride is by far the most dangerous chemical used in snow removal (it’s also the cheapest). All of the varieties of chloride should be avoided.
Calcium Magnesium Acetate
Although it’s a relatively safer ice melter, the drawback is that it is not very effective and it doesn’t last as long as other products. It’s still a toxic product and should be used with caution.
Modified Crystalline Carbonyl Diamide
This ingredient is one of the safer products. It can successfully absorb moisture without causing unwanted side effects.
Eco Safe Glycol
This ice melting chemical comes with traction agents and special inhibitors for added safety.
If you are using colorants, make sure that they are food grade.
This is an eco-friendly product that is being marketed by Ecotraction. According to the company’s website, the products is not only safe but good for the environment.
Finally, you might want to think about putting shoes on your pet. If you can find an appropriate size (and your dog takes to it) then this might be one of the safest ways to walk your dog in areas where the chemical is present.
Safe and Ergonomic Snow Shovelling
Sometimes it’s best to simply do it the old fashioned way: grab a shovel and just start digging. Of course, there is a safe way to do this. Removing snow is one of the leading causes of back injuries during the winter season. Here are some of the precautionary measures you should take:
Pick Your Shovel Wisely
Select a shovel with an adjustable handle. If you handle a shovel that is not appropriate for your size, you risk injuring yourself.
Loosen Your Muscles
Snow removal is hard work, so treat it like exercise. Warm up your muscles before you begin. This can be a brisk walk and/or a few stretches.
Push Rather Than Lift
Avoid lifting snow and carrying it across a distance. Instead, push the snow wherever you choose to pile it up.
Proper Lifting Techniques
- Your body should always be facing the snow you are going to lift. Keep your shoulders square.
- Bend your knees and make sure that the bulk of the weight falls on your knees rather than your back. (One way to know that you are lifting properly is if your legs are tired.)
- Go for small amounts at a time rather than large amounts. It requires more stamina but it is safer than trying to do too much at one time.
- Keep one hand on the handle and another as close to the blade as possible. This allows for the most efficient use of energy and strength.
- Don’t attempt to toss the snow on the heap, walk instead—make sure you have the pile as close as possible. Use a wheelbarrow if you must, but don’t strain yourself trying to use feats of strength. If you must throw snow, then have you feet pointed in the direction you are tossing the snow.
Alternatives to Shovelling
If shovelling is a risky activity for you, you can use a snowblower. Another alternative is to hire a snow removal company. It might cost a little, but it is the most convenient thing to do—just make sure that they use chemicals that are pet-friendly or none at all. You can book a snow removal service as early as possible. Check with the weather reports; if there is an impending snow storm then it is a good idea to book a service ahead of time.
You don’t have to use dangerous chemicals to remove snow effectively; there are safe alternatives if you take time to look for them. Avoid chloride in any snow removal product and take care to keep the ice and snow out of your pet’s paws. Likewise, look out for your back when shovelling—use our shovelling tips to avoid unnecessary strain. For more information about snow removal, don’t hesitate to contact us. Alternatively browse our website for a better look at our products.