Antifreeze is very toxic for pets

The temperature is plummeting out there, and with the wintery weather comes a whole new set of dangers for pets.  One such concern is antifreeze.

The primary ingredient in most antifreeze brands is ethylene glycol which is a potent toxin.  Just ingesting a tiny amount can cause death by inducing kidney failure.  Perhaps even scarier is the fact that antifreeze has a sweet, inviting aroma and flavor, making it an attractive toxin to ingest.

Take preventive measures

In order to reduce your pet’s risk, consider preventive measures to reduce the chances of exposure.

  • Consider switching to a brand of antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, a bitter and less toxic alternative. There are several brands on the market: Prestone LowTox Antifreeze, Sierra and Sta-Clean.
  • Supervise pets near driveways, the road, or garages where antifreeze could potentially be spilled or leaked. If you’re not sure if your pet has walked through antifreeze while outside, wash their paws in warm, soapy water.
  • Keep antifreeze sealed and away from pets.
  • Monitor your garage floor or driveway for leaks. Soak up antifreeze with cat litter and dispose in a sealed container where your pet can’t get to it.

Don’t wait to seek treatment–antifreeze acts fast

If you suspect that your pet may have ingested antifreeze, don’t delay in seeking treatment.  Animals who receive immediate treatment have a much higher likelihood of survival.  Early symptoms may include confusion, lethargy, vomiting, and a drunken appearance.

Clinical signs of antifreeze exposure can occur in as little as 30 minutes and as long as 12 hours. Do not wait for symptoms to appear. Instead, if you have any concerns about potential ingestion, visit a vet immediately. Immediate veterinary treatment is necessary to prevent the toxin from being absorbed into the pet’s liver.