Winter can be great fun for pets and their owners – who doesn’t love playing with their pet in the snow? However, the winter months also come with a few dangers you should be aware of – including antifreeze poisoning.
Many pet owners are unaware of the dangers of this essential winter product, but unfortunately many cats and dogs across the country suffer from antifreeze poisoning every winter. The liquid, which is commonly used to protect car radiators, plumbing or even toilet bowls from low temperatures, has a distinctive sweet taste to animals, but if ingested it can be fatal. Pets are most likely to come into contact with antifreeze if it’s leaking from pipes or from a can, or if it’s spilled on the ground. If a your pet licks it up, or even cleans its paws after stepping in it, you must consult a vet immediately.
Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include drunken behaviour, wobbly or uncoordinated movement, vomiting or diarrhoea, weakness, rapid heartbeat, seizures and fainting. Ultimately, antifreeze poisoning can be fatal, so even if you only suspect that your pet may have come into contact with the liquid, it’s wise to visit the vet, where your pet can be tested for poisoning and treated if necessary.
Antifreeze poisoning can be easily avoided with a few simple tips:
- Be careful how you store antifreeze – keep containers tightly closed and out of reach of pets.
- If you spill any antifreeze, make sure to keep pets away from the area and clean it up immediately!
- Be careful how you dispose of used antifreeze containers
- If you think your pet has antifreeze on their paws or fur, make sure to give them a bath immediately, or wipe them down with pet wipes. If there is any possibility that your pet has ingested antifreeze, go to the vet immediately.
- The poisonous ingredient in antifreeze is ‘ethylene glycol’ – look for antifreeze products that contain ‘propylene glycol’ instead. This chemical has been certified safe by the FDA, and is less dangerous for your pet.
On the whole, it’s very unlikely that your dog or cat will suffer from antifreeze poisoning, so don’t worry too much! However, if your pet loves playing outside in the snow and ice it’s better to be safe than sorry – so stay safe!