Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs


Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs

With winter approaching many of us will need to use antifreeze on our cars on frosty mornings. This quick post is a warning that antifreeze contains harmful chemicals which can be fatal for dogs. With many people using this on pavements and roads, where we regularly walk our dogs, it’s crucial to be aware of the dangers.

What is Antifreeze?

Antifreeze, which is typically used in vehicles to prevent the engine’s cooling system from freezing, contains ethylene glycol, a highly toxic chemical for dogs. When ingested, even in small amounts, ethylene glycol can lead to severe and often fatal poisoning.

Symptoms Of Antifreeze Poisoning In Dogs

  1. Initial Symptoms: Initially, a dog that has ingested antifreeze may appear intoxicated. They may stumble, seem disoriented, and exhibit signs similar to drunkenness.
  2. Metabolism: Ethylene glycol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. In the body, it is metabolized into toxic compounds that affect the kidneys, central nervous system, and other organs.
  3. Kidney Damage: The most serious and life-threatening consequence of ethylene glycol poisoning is kidney damage. Toxicities formed during metabolism can cause severe damage to the kidneys, potentially leading to kidney failure.
  4. Symptoms Progress: As the poisoning progresses, a dog may experience symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and seizures.
  5. Kidney Failure: Eventually, kidney failure can occur, leading to symptoms like decreased or no urine production, extreme lethargy, and severe weakness.
  6. Death: Without prompt and appropriate treatment, ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal, often within a matter of days.

Antifreeze Poisoning In Dogs

If you suspect your dog has ingested antifreeze or shows any symptoms of ethylene glycol poisoning, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention. Early treatment is critical to prevent severe organ damage and increase the chances of survival.

Treatment for Antifreeze Poisoning

This often involves inducing vomiting (if the ingestion was recent), administering activated charcoal to absorb the toxin, and providing intravenous fluids and medications to support kidney function and address symptoms. In severe cases, dialysis may be necessary to filter the toxin from the blood.

How To Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning In Dogs

  1. Store antifreeze containers securely and out of reach of pets.
  2. Check for and clean up any antifreeze spills promptly.
  3. Use pet-safe antifreeze products that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
  4. Keep your dog on a leash or supervised when walking on roads or pavements during Winter months.
  5. Educate friends and family members about the dangers of antifreeze to pets and ask them to be cautious.

General Winter Paw Care

When temperatures are below freezing it is recommended to limit the amount of time your dog spends outdoors.

Salt can cause cuts, scratches and dryness to your dogs paws, so give the pads a wipe to remove salt and ice melting chemicals when you return from icy walks.

Apply a paw balm both before and after walks to create a protective barrier and ease soreness.

If your dog loves the snow, boots are available to protect the feet.

Trim the fur around the paws so that snow and ice can’t build up on the fur.


Paw balm

Amazon Purchase Link

This highly rated paw balm is affordable, easy to use and ‘lick-safe’. It has both  protection and healing ingredients with antiseptic properties, and can be used on dry noses too.

It only takes a small amount of antifreeze to make a dog seriously sick so please be vigilant and pass this information on to other dog owners who may not be aware of the dangers.

Additional Reading

Dangers of Conkers To Dogs



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