With the chilliest months right around the corner, many people are winterizing their vehicles by changing antifreeze. Unfortunately, dogs like the sweet taste of toxic antifreeze.
According to Charlotte-based veterinarian Joy Fine, “Antifreeze causes kidney failure if ingested; unfortunately, dogs like the taste of antifreeze. In northern climates it is common to have antifreeze in the garage and many people will accidentally spill antifreeze when placing it in the their cars. They do not realize that a dog will quickly lap up the spill or chew open a bottle of antifreeze.”
As little as 3-4 tablespoons of antifreeze is toxic to a canine. If a dog has ingested antifreeze, symptoms vary depending on several factors (such as amount swallowed, time in system, etc). Some of the first symptoms of antifreeze poisoning may include depressed behavior, staggering, tremors, heightened thirst or vomitting. But veterinarian Joy explains that “a dog often does not act ill after eating antifreeze until their kidneys start to fail… By the time your dog becomes ill, it may be too late for treatment to be successful.”
Prevent antifreeze poisoning in your dog:
1. Keep both new and used antifreeze in closed, leak-proof containers. Ensure drips are wiped from the sides of the containers and rags are properly disposed of.
2. Ensure antifreeze containers are out of reach of all household pets.
3. Drop off used antifreeze at a service station — Never pour out unused antifreeze on the ground or grass.
4. If antifreeze accidentally dribbles while being changed, immediately and thoroughly clean up all spills on driveway, garage floor, etc.
5. If you suspect antifreeze poisoning in your dog, take your pet immediately to your vet or nearest emergency animal clinic. Veterinarian Joy says that if a dog has been poisoned by antifreeze that vomiting needs to be induced within the first hour. “Don’t wait to see if they become ill,” she warns. Ensure your dog receives immediate, proper veterinary care.
Did you know? The liquid in snowglobes contains 2% antifreeze and is very toxic to dogs. Keep these out of your pet’s reach.
Also, consider using products marketed as ‘antifreeze alternatives,’ as these can be less toxic to animals.