While antifreeze can do devastating damage to your dog’s system, poisoning is preventable. Here are some steps to take today:
Propylene glycol is safe, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Look for antifreeze with this ingredient, which can keep your pet safer from ingesting ethylene glycol.
Do not allow your dog to wander where they may have easy access to antifreeze, such as in driveways, garages, streets, etc.
Inspect your car’s radiator on a regular basis, and have leaks repaired immediately.
Close antifreeze containers tightly, and keep them out of reach of your dog’s curious nose.
Ensure any antifreeze spills are immediately and thoroughly cleaned.
Dispose of used antifreeze containers properly.
Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms you’ll see depend on how long it’s been since your dog ingested antifreeze.
Stage 1 (30 mins – 12 hours after ingestion): Unmetabolized ethylene glycol has very similar effects to ethanol, so at this stage, a dog may appear intoxicated. Central nervous system (CNS) signs may include depression, stumbling, a “drunken” gait (ataxia), muscle twitching, decreased reflexes, and trouble getting up/standing. You may also see vomiting, increased thirst (polydipsia), and increased urination (polyuria).
Stage 2 (12 – 24 hours after ingestion): After 12 hours, your dog may temporarily appear to recover and act relatively normal. During this period, the ethylene glycol is being metabolized into toxic metabolites. Even though your dog may seem normal, underlying damage is occurring. You may see an increased respiratory rate, but you won’t notice the increased heart rate and beginning stages of dehydration.
Stage 3 (36-72 hours after ingestion): In the final stage, the toxic metabolites will be built up in sufficient quantities to cause severe kidney failure, which may lead to seizure, coma, and death.
Why is antifreeze toxic to dogs?
Once antifreeze has been consumed, it’s broken down by the body in to highly toxic chemicals. These chemicals bind to calcium in the body and make crystals that form deposits and cause damage to many different parts of the body, including the lungs, brain and most notably, the kidneys.
Some types of antifreeze smell and tastes sweet, so may be irresistible to some dogs. Drinking even a small amount of antifreeze can be very dangerous to a dog, making this pleasant tasting poison highly dangerous to them.
Veterinarian on toxicity of antifreeze on pets
During certain times of the year (such as summer and winter), dogs and cats are more exposed to antifreeze. Untreated, antifreeze poisoning can be fatal to pets. Prompt, immediate treatment is necessary in order to save a dog or cat’s life from poisoning.