Autumn Series: Antifreeze Beware

08th October 2023 5 min read

Antifreeze tends to make an appearance during the Autumn months, most commonly used for our cars however, this substance is incredibly dangerous to dogs. Read on to find out what to do if your dog comes into contact with the toxic substance.

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Antifreeze Beware

As the weather significantly drops during the autumnal months, antifreeze makes an appearance and is incredibly toxic to dogs. Unfortunately, antifreeze has a sweet smell to dogs and cats too, which can make it very appealing to them. The substance is so toxic that it only takes a couple of licks for it to cause irreversible liver and kidney damage which in turn can be fatal.

Whilst we are not trying to scare you, we just want every pet owner to be aware of the dangers and what you can do to prevent this from happening.

What is Antifreeze?

Antifreeze is a glycol-based liquid that is mixed with water to regulate the engine of your car during extreme temperatures. It is essential to maintain a healthy car and avoid corrosion. The main chemical used is Ethylene Glycol, which is pumped around the engine of your car to ensure it stays at an acceptable temperature and avoids the water in the car freezing.

So this substance is very important!

Ethylene Glycol can be found in a number of other products such as windshield de-icer, brake fluid, motor oil and even wood stainers.

What are the Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning?

Antifreeze can take effect as quickly as 30 minutes after consumption. Some signs can take a little longer. Severe kidney failure can start to develop between 36 - 72 hours after consuming the toxic substance.

If you know your dog has consumed antifreeze, you must get them to an emergency vet as quickly as possible. If your dog is showing any of the following symptoms, speak with your vet.

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive dribbling
  • Staggering movement
  • Excessive thirst
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling lethargic

How to Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning

  • Keep your antifreeze well sealed and out of reach of your pets. Ideally keeping them in a cabinet or a locked cupboard is best.
  • Make sure you dispose of the empty containers safely and not leave them around for your pets to inspect.
  • Check your garage for any spills and check the containers for drips on the bottle, these should be cleaned up immediately.
  • Check in with your neighbours to make sure they are aware of the dangers as a further precaution for your pets and theirs too.
  • Keep your eye on your pet, if they show an interest around cars try to deter them away.
  • Don't let your dog wander around your garage or any place where you store chemical substances.
  • Regularly check your car for any spills underneath, if there is a leak antifreeze could be on the floor and easy to access.
  • Be vigilant, if your dog presents any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact a vet right away and say you suspect antifreeze poisoning.

Further Reading