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Dogs and Antifreeze: Should I Go To the Pet ER?

Dogs and Antifreeze: Should I Go To the Pet ER?

Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning in dogs because it is commonly found in households. Here, our Blountville emergency vets explain why you need to get the vet right away if you think your dog has ingested antifreeze, and how to help prevent if from happening in the first place. 

What should I do if my dog drank 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 dogs, and it typically results from radiator leaks. Dogs are drawn to the antifreeze's flavor and will lick it off the ground. Antifreeze may also be ingested through the toilet bowl in homes where it is used to prepare pipes for winter.

Why is antifreeze lethal for dogs?

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 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 in my dog?

The best way to avoid antifreeze poisoning in your dog, is to 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).

If you think your dog may have ingested antifreeze, contact our Blountville emergency vets right away.

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Airport Pet Emergency Clinic is open weekday evenings, overnight, weekends and holidays to provide your pet with urgent care when needed. Our experienced Blountville vets are passionate about caring for companion animals.

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