Antifreeze poisoning is a frequent occurrence in dogs, largely due to how common this substance is in garages. Today, our North Asheville veterinarians explain why antifreeze ingestion is an urgent veterinary emergency, and what to do.
What Can I Do If My Dog Drinks Antifreeze?
Our North Asheville emergency vets know that you strive to create a safe environment for your furry companion. However, accidents can happen, and one potential danger that demands immediate attention is antifreeze poisoning.
Antifreeze contains a substance called ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic to dogs. If you think your dog has ingested antifreeze, get to your nearest emergency veterinarian right away!
Your emergency vet will be able to safely administer antidotes to the poison to prevent further absorption of the toxin, provided that your pup gets to the vet very quickly after consumption. Your dog may need to be held in intensive care to prevent kidney failure.
How do dogs get antifreeze poisoning?
Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common types of poisoning in pets and typically occurs when the liquid leaks from car radiators. Dogs are attracted to the taste of the antifreeze and will lick it off the ground. Another way dogs may ingest the toxin is from the toilet bowl in homes where antifreeze is used to winterize pipes.
Why is antifreeze lethal?
The toxin, ethylene glycol, is what makes antifreeze lethal. Dogs can consume great quantities of ethylene glycol before being repulsed by its aftertaste, unfortunately, by then, it's too late.
It only takes a small amount of ethylene glycol to cause fatal damage to your furry friend's brain, liver and kidneys. In fact, less than three ounces of antifreeze is enough to poison a medium-sized dog.
What are the signs of antifreeze poisoning in dogs?
The signs of antifreeze poisoning can be subtle at first but can quickly escalate. Be on the lookout for:
- Drunken behavior, unsteady movements, similar to being intoxicated
- Excessive Thirst and Urination
- Vomiting repeatedly, potentially containing blood
- Seizures can occur as the toxicity progresses
- Increased heart rate and labored breathing are common symptoms
- Dogs may become lethargic, weak, or unresponsive
How can I prevent antifreeze poisoning?
To help prevent your pup from drinking antifreeze follow a few simple precautions:
- Keep antifreeze containers tightly closed and stored out of the reach of pets.
- Take care not to spill antifreeze, and if it is spilled, ensure that it is immediately and thoroughly cleaned up.
- Dispose of used antifreeze containers properly.
- Check the radiator of your car regularly, and repair leaks immediately.
- Do not allow your dog to wander unattended where there is access to antifreeze (e.g. roads, gutters, garages, and driveways).
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.