Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Sweet Pet Poison: Your Guide to Cat...
Sweet Pet Poison: Your Guide to Cat & Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

Sweet Pet Poison: Your Guide to Cat & Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

by | Nov 11, 2022 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care, Emergency Help | 0 comments

Sweet Pet Poison: Your Guide to Cat & Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

FTC noticePets often get into poisons by accidentally eating the wrong plant, or other dangerous toxins. Today the temperature dropped from the low 80s to the mid-thirties, yikes! With the pending change in the weather and when temperatures fall, cat and dog antifreeze poisoning becomes a danger.

You’ll find antifreeze in surprising places, not just in the garage. For instance, the liquid in snow globes can poison pets when the toy breaks. Recently, social media shared many stories of antifreeze poisoning cats from the liquid in broken snow globes. The liquid tastes sweet, so it’s very appealing for sweet-loving dogs to drink or lick up spills on the garage floor. Puppies are the worst, eating anything that doesn’t move faster than they do. Cats also are at risk when they walk through puddles and lick and groom the liquid off their body. Other places you find antifreeze include:

  • Paints and solvents
  • Brake fluid
  • Windshield-washer fluids
  • De-icers
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Detergents
  • Printer cartridges
  • Ballpoint pens

People also use antifreeze to winterizing outdoor pools, the toilets in winter campsites, or fountains to prevent freezing.

antifreeze poisoningPoisoning by Antifreeze

Composed of ethylene glycol, the odorless, colorless fluid is used to protect cars from freezing temperatures. It’s also used to remove rust and found in some color film processing solutions used in home darkrooms. If you catch your pet drinking antifreeze, call your emergency vet.

Antifreeze is deadly. It takes very little to make the dog or cat mortally sick. About one-half teaspoon per pound of pet is lethal. That means a ten-pound cat could ingest as little as five teaspoons and be affected, while an average-size dog weighing 45 pounds would need to drink less than three ounces. All dogs and cats are at risk, but those younger than three years old are affected most often, probably because of the curious nature of youth. Most poisonings take place during the fall, winter, and early spring when we use more antifreeze.

Your pet’s survival depends on quick treatment. The pet’s body rapidly absorbs the toxin. Peak blood concentrations happen within one to three hours after ingestion. You’ll notice the first symptoms one hour after poisoning. Pets can die from kidney failure in as little as four to eight hours.

symptoms of antifreeze poisonAntifreeze Dog Poisoning Symptoms (Cats, too!)

One of the earliest signs is an increased thirst. That results in urine output of approximately six times the norm, within three hours of ingestion. The pet may develop sudden potty accidents when that happens. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, the poison enters the brain and spinal fluid, causing neurologic signs. You can see:

  • Staggering as though drunk
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • loss of appetite
  • panting
  • excessive drooling
  • rapid heart rate

Convulsions, though rare, can also be a sign of poisoning. Although the substance is not particularly irritating to the gastrointestinal tract, sometimes pets vomit. The more antifreeze the pet passes in the urine early on, the better, because the substance is at first relatively harmless.

But within only a couple of hours, the body changes ethylene glycol into oxalic acid. This extremely toxic substance used as a bleaching and cleaning agent destroys the urinary tract and severely damages the kidneys. It’s not the antifreeze itself, but the oxalic acid that kills pets. Oxalic acid can combine with calcium to form crystals which block the flow of urine.

Don’t be fooled when your pet acts recovered in about 12 to 18 hours. Although symptoms fade, kidney damage continues, sometimes over a week’s time. The pet eventually stops peeing, and renal failure causes coma and death.

puppy antifreeze poisonHome First Aid for Antifreeze Poisoning

If you see your pet drink antifreeze, or if you can’t get to the vet within two hours, make him vomit out the poison immediately. Then get him to the vet. Beyond this two-hour window, the poisoning will already be in his system and vomiting won’t help. Don’t induce vomiting if your cat or dog acts depressed, is not fully conscious, or acts drunk.

To induce vomiting, give 3% hydrogen peroxide to your pet in a dose of one teaspoon per five pounds of body weight. For big dogs, give no more than three teaspoons at once. If the pet doesn’t vomit, you can repeat the same dose up to three times, given 10 minutes apart until the dog vomits. Then get him to the veterinarian.

Administering activated charcoal, available from your drugstore, also improves your pet’s chance of survival. After you’ve induced vomiting, or if you’re unable to get him to vomit, give him the crushed tablets mixed with water. Charcoal binds the poison to prevent its absorption in the intestinal tract. Follow up any first aid by a veterinarian’s evaluation as soon as possible. Treatment begun after 24 hours following poisoning offers only a slim chance of recovery. Refer to more pet first aid information here.

antifreeze poisoningHow to Cure Antifreeze Poisoning

Your vet offers the best options for how to cure antifreeze poisoning. Dogs need to receive treatment within five to eight hours, but cats are more susceptible to toxins and need treatment within three hours. Treatment prevents further absorption or metabolism of the poison, and increases urination to get rid of it. Up to three hours following ingestion, the veterinarian will flush the dog’s stomach with a saline/charcoal solution. Intravenous fluid therapy helps head off dehydration and also encourages your dog to urinate as much antifreeze as possible before it’s changed into its more lethal form.

For a while, veterinarians used an effective antidote called fomepizole aka Antizol. Because of problems getting the ingredients, it’s no longer available. That makes prevention of poisoning, and early supportive treatment even more important for your pet.

Perhaps you’ve heard about and wondered, can you treat antifreeze poisoning with alcohol? Yes! Treatment comprises hospitalizing the pet to administer 100 proof ethanol alcohol intravenously over several days. This forces the liver to deal with the alcohol instead of metabolizing the antifreeze into oxalic acid. That also gives the pet more time to urinate out the unchanged antifreeze. The treatment, though, poses additional risks to pets, so prevention remains the best policy.

dog antifreeze treatmentDialysis for Pets?

What if your dog suffers kidney failure? People suffering from kidney failure benefit from dialysis machines, but this luxury is rarely available for our pets. Major veterinary schools may have the specialized equipment.

But peritoneal dialysis offers an effective, low-tech alternative your vet may perform. THe doctor pumps fluid into the pet’s abdominal cavity where it absorbs waste the damaged kidneys can’t process. Then the veterinarian draws the waste-filled fluid back out. Peritoneal dialysis gives the kidneys more time to heal, so that normal function can return. It takes three to four weeks for kidneys to return to normal or near normal function. That can require aggressive therapy, including hospitalization.

Severe kidney damage won’t respond to treatment. Kidney transplants work extremely well in cats, with the procedure offered at some specialty vet clinics. But dogs aren’t great candidates for transplant. A dog’s body rejects a donated kidney that doesn’t closely match their own tissue. Littermates are the best chance of a match. Take steps now to prevent poisoning by antifreeze and save your pets and you the expense and heartbreak of treating antifreeze poisoning.

Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning with Pet Safe Antifreeze

Prevent the possibility of poisoning by keeping antifreeze out of your pet’s reach. Make garages and storage areas off limits to your pets. Dispose of drained radiator fluid in a sealed container and be sure to clean spills immediately. Cover the liquid with cat litter, sand, or baking soda to absorb the mess, and make it less appealing to curious pets.

Today, many manufacturers throughout the United States add a bitter flavoring agent called denatonium benzoate to antifreeze. That makes them less attractive to pets and kids. Look for alternative antifreeze products that use less-toxic chemicals such as propylene glycol. You’ll still need to remain vigilant, of course. Here are a few veterinarian-recommended brands that are safer for use around pets and wildlife, and ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.:

Keep a good first aid reference on hand for peace of mind, like The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats. But always make your vet the first call, for the sake of your pet.

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

0 Comments

Categories:

Recent Posts

How to Prepare If Pets Outlive You

We often lament the fact that dogs and cats don’t live as long as we do. But what about the reverse—what if your pets live longer than you do? Are there legal protections you can take in planning for when your pets outlive you? We loved them dearly while alive, and must also care for them when we’re gone with proper plans. And yes, it can happen totally out of the blue.

The unthinkable happens, even to animal professionals. Back in 2014, in the same week, our pet community felt rocked by the tragic and sudden deaths of two heroes, animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin and Cat Writers Association president Dr. Lorie Huston. Dr. Yin left behind her beloved dog Jonesy, while my friend Lorie left six special needs rescue cats. CWA members networked to re-home Lorie’s cats. More recently, the Cat Writers’ Association again lost a beloved leader when president Paula Gregg passed away suddenly. She had time to make plans for her beloved Persian cats, Truffle and Brulee.

None of these wonderful pet lovers expected to have their pets outlive them. Do you have plans for your special pets? Here are tips for planning for when your pets outlive you.

Old Pets? 7 Cheap DIY Help for Old Fogey Dogs & Cats

Like older pets, I also move a wee bit slower than in my youth. Shadow-Pup helps keep me active and young, as well as chasing and engaging the more mature Karma-Kat. Aging dogs and senior cats rock!

I’ll admit that senior pets have a special place in my heart, even if they suffer from senility. Maybe in part because I can more easily relate to them. Do you love old pets? Are you ready for some old dog and/or old cat love? Oh, here are 7 cheap DIY tips to help your old pets.

Counting Thanksgiving Blessings, the Pet Writer Way in 2022

Time for my annual Count My Blessings post. The past year has meant change, change, and more change, and that’s good and also challenging. But some things never change…I’m thankful to you—yes, those who read this blog, my newspaper column, the cat book lovers, and the dog book lovers, and folks who have “adopted” my thriller series. And those who offered awesome applause and support any of the other venues mentioned…

8 Common Old Dog Health Conditions & What To Do

When November rolls around each year we take time to celebrate the many blessings we’ve enjoyed, including our old dogs. Pet people, of course, give thanks for their animal companions, and November traditionally is Adopt A Senior Pet Month. Do you share your life with an old fogey dog? Maybe your old girl dog leaks urine when lying down—is that common, and what can you do about it? My current doggy companion, Shadow-Pup, has reached teenager status. Bravo-Dawg lost his life to cancer before becoming a senior doggy. But his predecessor, Magic, still lives on in my heart. During his final years, we battled several old dog health conditions.

Celebrating Old Dogs: What Is Old?

Each November, we celebrate old dogs during their “official” month. But when is your dog considered old? We love our senior citizen dogs for the special joy they bring every day. But once a year, we celebrate old dogs during November Adopt A Senior Pet Month.

What is considered “old?” There are individual differences between pets, just as there are for people. While one person may act, look and feel “old” at fifty-five, another fifty-five-year-old remains active with a youthful attitude and appearance. Aging is influenced by a combination of genetics, environment, and health care over a lifetime. The oldest dog on record was an Australian Cattle Dog who lived for twenty-nine years and five months…

I’ve written about how to care for an elderly dog before, but this post addresses how to know when your canine friends become old dogs.

Celebrating Old Cats: What Is Old?

Every year, I write about our old cat needs. While Karma-Kat has just reached middle age, cats age at different rates. When do you consider your cat old? Is your old cat a senior kitty by age 8, or 13, or…when? For cats, what is old? Here’s how the experts define ‘old age’ in cats…

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer. We whisper the word, fear the consequences, and our hearts break when cancer touches loved ones, including furry family members. But according to veterinary specialists, cancer is the most treatable—and curable!—of any chronic pet disease.

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. We lost our Bravo-Dawg in the winter after a valiant fight, and you can read the first post here. The amazing folks at Morris Animal Foundation address many kinds of cancer and have funded numerous studies and even trained researchers to continue the search for the cure.

According to Dr. David Haworth, president and CEO of Morris, “One in 2 dogs will develop cancer, and 1 in 4 dogs will die of the disease.  The Foundation leverages the best minds in veterinary medicine and science to work on understanding the cause (funding over 40 studies on cancer in dogs at any given time…).” Read more about what you need to know …

Pet Veteran Love: 8 Reasons to Adopt Senior Cats & Dogs

There’s a good chance if you visited your local shelter today, you’d meet a pet who prefers couch cuddling to counter surfing, knows that shoes aren’t for chewing and is eagerly waiting to show you how to slow down and soak up life. I’m talking about senior pets!

November is #AdoptASeniorPetMonth, so if there is room in your 🏠 and ❤️, now is the perfect time to head to the shelter to find a grey-muzzled pet with plenty of love left to give!

How to Read Dog Poop: Normal Dog Poop to Dog Poop Problems

How to Read Dog Poop: Normal Dog Poop to Dog Poop Problems

Everyone who shares a home (and heart) with a dog at some point must deal with dog poop problems. Learning what’s normal, to yellow colored stool, or learning how serious blood in dog’s stool diarrhea may be helps get your dog help. While it may not be the most appealing topic, learning about your dog’s “creativity” offers important insight into his health.

Not only his food, but also your dog’s environment and emotional state, affects how his body works. Fear, anxiety, and stress can change a dog’s behavior, but also can disrupt digestion and cause enteritis. That in turn affects his poop.

Recognizing healthy elimination helps pet owners alert to abnormal eliminations. That way, when necessary, you can get your dog prompt medical help to diagnose and treat problems before they become worse.

Visit Amy's Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships