What should you use to battle the ice on your walkway?

A payloader fills a dump truck with rock salt at State Pier in New London, Conn., Monday, Jan. 26 2015. (AP Photo/The Day, Sean D. Elliot)

(WTNH) — Just like technology keeps changing, so does what you put down on your driveway or walkway before a snowstorm.

There used to be just rock salt. Now, it’s calcium carbonate pellets and they even have chemicals wrapped around the rock salt. So, what do you use and when?

Steve Miller from Butler Equipment says with the sloppy, wintry mix at your doorstep Tuesday when you wake up, what you put down on the walkway makes a difference. Rock salt is a good first step around the freezing mark.

“Regular rock salt will be down to about 31°, 32°, 30° at the coolest and then it’ll stop working,” he explained.

So, once the temperature drops into the mid 20s or below, do you want to switch over to something else? Miller says they have a hybrid product rock salt wrapped in chemicals.

“The chemical will help the salt have more of a melting characteristic in cooler temperature. That’s how that works!” he said.

Related Content: New Haven preparing for more snow after Saturday’s storm

As Kathy Bayer takes her dog Hadley for a walk, she keeps a close eye on him and steers him around patches of rock salt. She uses pet friendly ice melt on her own walkways. Even so, she says it’s important to get it off the paws as soon as you get home because it can irritate the pup’s pads.

“She is easy enough, small enough to just throw in a stationary tub and I can wash her feet off quite easily,” Bayer said.

Dr. Donald Cox at the Connecticut Veterinary Center says you also have to be careful the dogs don’t get into a bag of rock salt and eat it.

“It’s a bigger problem, and again, it depends on how much they get into,” he said. “If your dog gets into a bag of any of the deicers whether it’s sodium chloride or calcium salt, you should definitely call Animal Poison Control.”

They do make pet friendly and environmentally friendly ice melts, they just have less salt in them, and might not work as well. They also make a liquid you can spray down on your sidewalk much like what DOT uses on the roads before the snow.

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