Editor's note: StableManagement.com has three forums in which you can ask questions of your peers or experts. The following was posted in the Ask the Expert Barns and Farm Building that is answered by Animal Arts.
Q: What do you look for in products you put on paths to ensure they are safe for horses and other animals? Does salt "eat" blacktop and concrete?
A: We would recommend avoiding rock salt and any other salt-based deicing agent for a couple of reasons - yes it does degrade surfaces, especially metals, but also concrete. Secondly, it is not good for pets or vegetation. We would recommend first doing the basic things such as deflecting downspouts away from sidewalks to prevent ice buildup.
Secondly, use sand for adding traction to sidewalks rather than deicer, if sand will do the trick. If you still have a really icy spot, then consider using a pet safe deicer such as Safe Paw. This deicer is safe for paws and the environment. It also has a history of use around horses.
As a last word, keep all deicers, even safe ones, out of paddocks - we don’t really know what would happen if horses ingested a large amount.
January is fun for barn owners, isn’t it?