Epsom salts and sugar, mixed 1 to 1, will melt salt and ice. It does not hurt the plants or ground,nor will it hurt birds, dogs, or cats. It can be used to pre-treat sidewalks and driveways and roads. Sprinkle just like you would regular salt. Also Epsom salts and sugar placed inside a leg of a pantyhose helps melt snow and ice on roofs.
Isn't sugar going to leave a sticky mess to track into the house?
In a pinch I use table salt by our side door.