Featured News 2018 Pets and Antifreeze Poisoning

Pets and Antifreeze Poisoning

  • Roughly 90,000 animals suffer from antifreeze poisoning every year, according to the Humane Society.

It only takes a few tablespoons to poison an average-sized dog, causing acute kidney failure or death. It only takes a single tablespoon to kill a cat.

People usually replace the car's antifreeze in their garages, in their driveways, or while their vehicles are parked in front of their homes. If your dog or cat spends time in the garage or on the driveway, you have to be particularly aware of what you do when you change the coolant in your radiator.

You will always have unintentional spills; so will your neighbor next-door neighbor who's replacing his coolant too. Unfortunately, not everyone is careful to clean up these spills; they figure the spill will "dry up" and evaporate. When antifreeze doesn't evaporate, however, cats can walk across them—later licking their paws and ingesting a potentially fatal amount of antifreeze.

Why Antifreeze Is Dangerous to Your Pets

The problem with antifreeze solutions is the main ingredient, ethylene glycol.

Ethylene glycol is syrupy in texture and gives off a sweet, sugary aroma. Some vets have described it as having an "addictive" effect on dogs and cats. It also sometimes attracts infants.

The symptoms of antifreeze poisoning includes:

  • Drunken behavior
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Uncoordinated, clumsy movement
  • "Wobbliness"
  • Diarrhea

In 2015, the Washington Post published a report on antifreeze that revealed that new forms of coolant may soon be developed—coolant that uses propylene glycol, a replacement for ethylene glycol that's safe to consume. However, even the latest products on the market are somewhat toxic—the best way to protect your pet is to keep it out-of-reach, to clean up any accidental spills immediately, and to hose down the area after finishing your work.

If their symptoms are not treated quickly, their nervous system and kidneys can end up severely damaged.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact a veterinarian right away. Ethylene glycol is fast acting, so every minute counts.

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