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Help! My Dog Ingested Antifreeze. What Should I Do?

Antifreeze Is Poison

Antifreeze poisoning is a frequent occurrence in dogs, largely due to how common this substance is in our homes and garages. Today, our Somerset County emergency vets explain why antifreeze ingestion is an urgent veterinary emergency, and what to do. 

What To Do If Your Dog Drinks Antifreeze

If you think your dog has ingested antifreeze, get to the veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will be able to safely administer antidotes to the poison to prevent further absorption of the toxin.

Antifreeze poisoning can be treated effectively if given shortly after the consumption of the antifreeze. 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, and by then, it's too late.

It only takes a small amount of ethylene glycol to cause fatal damage to the brain, liver and kidneys. In fact, less than three ounces of antifreeze is enough to poison a medium-sized dog. 

How can I prevent antifreeze poisoning?

To help prevent your dog 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. 

Has your dog swallowed antifreeze? Contact our Somerset County emergency veterinarians right away for urgent care.

Caring for Pets in Somerset County

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