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The arrival of winter is always a good time to remind people about the dangers of antifreeze and dogs. An estimated 90,000 pets are poisoned by antifreeze each year, which is unsurprising since many pets like the taste of antifreeze and will consume it from open containers or lick spilled antifreeze off the garage floor or driveway.
Here are some essential facts all dog owners should know about how to protect their fur kids from antifreeze.
The harmful toxin in antifreeze is a chemical compound called ethylene glycol. In addition to being a main component of antifreeze, it can also be found in things like windshield wipers and brake fluid, motor oil, and other substances like paints and solvents.
Although it may not seem like it, ethylene glycol is sweet-tasting, making it doubly dangerous to pet owners. Even children have been known to consume this chemical, unknowingly endangering their lives.
Ethylene glycol harms dogs and cats by causing kidney damage and kidney failure, leading to death when ingested. Due to the method of poisoning through ingestion, the chemical is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and starts causing immense damage to the organs.
Very small amounts of antifreeze (or other liquids containing ethylene glycol) can harm pets, even the small amount a dog may swallow by licking his paws after walking through a spill.
One teaspoon can be fatal to a cat. One tablespoon can cause kidney failure in dogs, while five tablespoons can easily kill a medium-sized dog. Their smaller stature makes the chemical a more effective poison.
Pet health experts note that there are three stages to ethylene glycol poisoning. Stage 1 poisoning happens between ½ hour and 12 hours after ingestion. Look for symptoms like difficulty walking, vomiting, seizures, delirium, excessive thirst, and urination.
Stage 2 poisoning occurs between 12 and 24 hours after swallowing. The symptoms of the first stage may start to go away, but the kidney damage is still happening.
Cats experience Stage 3 poisoning 12 to 24 hours after ingestion; dogs experience Stage 3 poisoning 36 to 72 hours after ingestion. Your pet will be experiencing dangerous kidney failure, showing signs such as loss of appetite, drooling, lethargy, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and coma.
If you think your dog has ingested some of this chemical, immediately bring your pet to the nearest veterinarian or other veterinary service as soon as possible. In the first few hours after ingestion, your vet can induce vomiting and give your pet charcoal to eliminate toxins from the body.
A drug that stops the liver from processing the dangerous antifreeze components will also be given to your pet in the first few hours. Afterward, an antidote in the form of activated charcoal or 4-methylpyrazole will be used to prevent further absorption. Quick action is essential to your pet’s survival.
Antifreeze is one of the most toxic things for dogs, and many pets will die if they progress to Stage 3 kidney failure before getting to the vet. Most pets with severe kidney damage will not be able to survive. Some can be saved with aggressive (and expensive) treatments like dialysis and rarely kidney transplants.
Antifreeze is a chemical used to keep a car engine or other types of motor safe during wanted. It does this by lowering the freezing point of the liquid it is added to.
Yes, it's harmful to many living beings, including humans. Make sure to keep children away from this stuff!
Just like with pet-friendly cleaning products, there are also alternatives to antifreeze which might better suit your household. This is called a propylene glycol-based antifreeze. These are only harmful in large amounts and can be found in your local grocery outlet (albeit a bit pricier).