The Ache: Ice-melt crystals, ubiquitous in winter, can be toxic if ingested by pets and can cause severe irritation to paws.The Claim: A growing number of ice-melt products are labeled as safer for pets.The Verdict: Ice-melt products labeled as pet safe vary widely, and some contain at least some ingredients that aren’t actually safe for pets, veterinarians say. Products made mostly from urea, also an ingredient in fertilizer, are gentlest on paws and least likely to cause poisoning, they say.“We recommend using a urea-based product. We don’t recommend any particular brand,” says Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill.ENLARGESafe Paw Ice Melter was an early entry in the market for ice-melt products safer for pets. PHOTO: STEVE VERNIKSafe Paw Ice Melter, from Gaia Enterprises Inc., Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was an early entry on the market, in 1995. Another is Safe-T-Pet from Morton Salt Inc., of Chicago, introduced in 2010. Neither company has done animal studies on its products, the companies say. Gaia employees occasionally down a mouthful themselves at trade shows to demonstrate its safety, says Gaia director of operations Steven Vernik.
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