Sticky Sweet or Deadly? 6 Tips To Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning in Pets

Dog licking antifreeze

As the temperature drops, we begin to prepare for winter.

When freezing temperatures and snowstorms are on the way, you probably throw on more layers, turn up the thermostat, salt the driveway and add antifreeze to your car’s radiator.

Although these all may seem like smart safety precautions, one is far from safe … for your dog, that is.

Beware Antifreeze

Antifreeze is a highly toxic substance that smells and tastes deliciously sweet to pets; just a few licks can be fatal for both dogs and cats, causing irreversible kidney damage.

Don’t Let It Happen

It’s really important to prevent your pets from getting into the antifreeze.

The symptoms of antifreeze ingestion can include staggering, loss of balance, excessive water consumption, depression, abdominal sensitivity and seizures … but by the time your dog shows these symptoms, it may be too late to treat him. So if you do observe these symptoms, rush your dog to the veterinarian, or, better still, an emergency or specialty critical care veterinary hospital, where they will be best able to treat antifreeze poisoning. Treatment involves an antidote, dialysis and potentially a kidney transplant and can cost $10,000 to $20,000.

6 Tips To Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning

Here are six tips to keep your pet safe this winter season.

  1. Buy antifreeze made with propylene glycol. Most antifreeze is made from ethylene glycol, but propylene glycol, while also harmful, is not as lethal.
  2. Keep both new and used antifreeze containers out of pets’ reach.
  3. Make sure there are no leaks and wipe any excess from the bottles.
  4. If you accidentally spill antifreeze or find it leaking from your car radiator, clean it up immediately and thoroughly.
  5. Keep an eye on wandering and curious pets … antifreeze is also used in a number of other household items such as paint, snow globes, solar water heaters and the bases of free standing basketball hoops.
  6. If your pet has consumed antifreeze, rapid treatment is vital for survival. An antidote needs to be started within a few hours of ingestion, so take your dog to the vet or advanced specialty care clinic immediately

**Some companies voluntarily started adding a bittering agent to make their antifreeze taste bad. Some states have passed laws making this a requirement, but nothing has been reached on the federal level. Many commercial antifreeze mixes still contain Ethylene Glycol, which is very toxic.

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