With all the heavy snow storms hitting the United States this season, Americans are doing all they can to combat the cold. One of the most common ways to keep your pipes, vehicles, and other utilities at home safe from the harsh winter winds is by using antifreeze. While these additives are definitely handy, they pose a hazard to your dog.
Direct consumption is not the only way dogs ingest antifreeze; if they happen to have licked your car that has it or drunk from a toilet with winterized pipes, poisoning is still very much possible. Like most household cleaners, these products are extremely hazardous to animals.
You might be wondering, “Why would my dog eat antifreeze in the first place?” According to statistics, antifreeze is one of the leading causes of poisoning among domestic and wild animals. Animals may have a strong instinct for avoiding poisonous foods, but because of the sweet taste of ethylene glycol (a syrup derived from alcohol), it can draw them to antifreeze.
Today, you’ll be learning the signs of dog antifreeze poisoning to look out for so you can seek immediate help and save your pet. Remember, even the smallest doses can be lethal, so it is best to be prepared and well-informed about the problem.
7 Most Common Signs of Dog Antifreeze Poisoning
Sign #1: Drunken Behavior
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As mentioned above, ethylene glycol is an organic compound associated with ordinary alcohol, so grogginess and drunken behavior may be observed in a dog that had ingested antifreeze. If your usually agile dog begins stumbling, swaying, and losing their balance, it may be a cause for concern.
Sign #2: Delirium
Spotting delirium can be quite tricky. Everyone knows that dogs don’t have the same level of thinking as humans, so they can easily mistake an object for something else. For example, they can regard a harmless toy as a threat and start barking. This is all just common dog behaviors.
However, the minute your dog starts seeing things that aren’t there and acting aggressively in reaction to it, your pet can be having hallucinations or is in a delirious state of mind.
Sign #3: Vomiting and Diarrhea
Dogs are like babies, they discover the world with their sense of smell and taste. So like any eating machine, they could end up throwing up when they eat something that upsets their stomach. In the event of antifreeze poisoning, your dog won’t just be gagging, they’ll start vomiting over and over again. This is their body’s attempt to get rid of the poison.
Sign #4: Peeing Too Often
Frequent urination or urinary incontinence is one of the surefire signs of dog antifreeze poisoning. After they’ve ingested the antifreeze, the chemicals from this household cleaner could immediately damage the kidneys, the organs responsible for getting rid of toxins through the bladder. Because of the high volume of toxins present in the body, the kidneys may start working double time to excrete these foreign elements.
Sign #5: Sudden Depression
Everyone knows that dogs are happy creatures, so when they suddenly have no energy to do anything at all, it could be a sign that something’s wrong. Due to all the physical pain and changes in their body, the dog may grow anti-social and would retreat away from his or her own family.
Sign #6: Lapsing In and Out
Lapsing in and out of consciousness is also one of the signs of dog antifreeze poisoning. It is normal for sick dogs to lie down, but if they accidentally ingested ethylene glycol, they might have trouble just staying conscious. This could be an indication that the poison has affected the organs.
Sign #7: Seizures and convulsions
At this stage, the toxins from the antifreeze may have infected the brain. These advanced symptoms include seizures and convulsions, ultimately leading to permanent brain damage and death.
What you can do when you suspect antifreeze poisoning
Even a small amount of antifreeze is lethal for animals, so every minute is critical. Like most emergency situations, do contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center or the emergency line of your vet or head to the nearest animal hospital. You may also give your dog a few spoonfuls of hydrogen peroxide to help induce vomiting, but only do this if and only if the dog is conscious and if they have consumed the antifreeze in the past two hours.
Dogs that have consumed a very small amount of antifreeze may survive, but they are likely to develop kidney failure within days of ingestion. Unfortunately, kidney damage is the most common cause of death among animals that experience antifreeze poisoning.