Many pet parents already know that antifreeze is dangerous for their pets. Even small amounts can be fatal. But many also have no idea why it is so dangerous, and what to do in the unfortunate case of animal antifreeze poisoning.
Don’t wait until your next vet appointment to ask these questions. Here are the facts about antifreeze and dogs.
Fact: Antifreeze is a sweet and lethal poison
There are many toxins in our homes. But antifreeze is special. Unlike many other toxins, which often have a repulsive scent or taste, your dog will find antifreeze particularly tasty. First-time dog owners should be aware of this sweet poison.
The main ingredient is a tasty but toxic compound known as ethylene glycol. A small amount, as little as 88ml (or three ounces), can be fatal for a medium-sized dog. Once ingested, it affects the kidneys and nervous system. It can be fatal within hours of consumption.
Fact: The risk of antifreeze poisoning is highest at home
Antifreeze is an essential component of many household products. It prevents freezing during the cold months. You will find antifreeze not just in your car radiator or garage, but it is also present in the following:
- Snow globes.
- Printer and pen inks.
- Some latex paints.
- Toilet bowls
- Faucets and other plumbing.
As the winter months set in, we use antifreeze to keep the toilets and plumbing from freezing. We also use it to keep the base of our portable basketball hoops in good condition.
As you figure out how to care for your pet this holiday season, be conscious about places in your home where antifreeze could be present. Chances of your dog sniffing out some accidental drops or finding an open container and licking it are sky-high.
Especially if you have brought home a puppy! Remember, they find a way to get into the unlikeliest places. Puppies of any breed are naturally curious, they are exploring the world around them. Signs of anti freeze poisoning can be mistaken as ‘growing phases’ for your puppy.
Fact: Only a thorough blood test and stool test will confirm if your dog has antifreeze poisoning
The first tell-tell signs that your dog could have ingested some antifreeze are in the environment. Quickly scan the area for puddles or open containers that may contain antifreeze. Also, look for antifreeze paw prints around the house. You may also notice traces of the chemical on your dog’s lips.
Your dog could also exhibit the following physical symptoms:
- A wobbly amble and drunken behavior
- Excessive thirst and urination
- General weakness
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tremors, convulsions, and seizures
- Loss of consciousness.
There is a high chance of antifreeze poisoning when these signs and symptoms occur together. However, you can only get a conclusive answer after a comprehensive blood test and stool test. So, urgently take your dog to a vet emergency facility when you suspect antifreeze poisoning.
Fact: Through first aid antifreeze poisoning is treatable
You are not entirely helpless if you suspect your dog has ingested antifreeze. If you notice it within two hours of consumption, you can induce vomiting. But first, call the vet and let them know what has happened and what you want to do.
Give your dog one teaspoon (per five pounds of body weight) of a simple hydrogen peroxide solution. Your dog will vomit. It will reduce the toxins in the gut. If the dog does not vomit, give another dose of hydrogen peroxide solution after ten minutes. But do not give more than three doses. Then take your dog to the vet.
After assessment and several lab tests, the vet will administer antidotes such as activated charcoal and 4-methyl pyrazole. However, these treatments only work when given shortly after poisoning. So, act fast!
“While no one is safe from such situations, getting a pet insurance alternative could be a great idea. Take Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund as an example. If your dog accidentally licked or drank antifreeze, getting immediate medical attention is a must. Yet, the costs of rushing to a vet and saving your dog can be mind-blowing. With this service, you get up to $3,000 to get emergent situations covered, including antifreeze poisoning. And since any dog can be curious enough to try antifreeze or other dangerous substances in certain situations, having peace of mind with an insurance alternative is critical.”
Final fact: Prevention of antifreeze poisoning is simple
You can prevent antifreeze poisoning by taking the following simple precautions:
- Tightly close antifreeze containers and store them out of reach of your pets.
- Dispose of used containers properly.
- Fix any leaks from your car radiator.
- Thoroughly clean any spills.
- Prevent your dog from wandering in the neighborhood and licking from puddles and spills.
- Use pet-safe antifreeze in your home.
Related: Antifreeze Poisoning In Cats