Antifreeze is used to keep cars in good working order, and it is scientifically called ethylene glycol. It has no color, no odor, a syrupy texture, and a slightly sweet taste, and it is poisonous to both dogs and cats. If you keep antifreeze in the garage, keep it capped and out of the reach of your animals. Be familiar with the signs of antifreeze poisoning in your animals, and rush your dog or cat to the emergency veterinarian if you detect them.
Because antifreeze has alcohol in it, the animal may appear drunk after consuming it. Depending on how much the animal has consumed, this type of symptom may range from a lack of coordination to severe depression. Watch for the dog or cat to stumble over nothing, to stagger or to suddenly turn bored and unresponsive.
Drinking antifreeze may cause your dog or cat to fall over into a seizure. A seizure is characterized by sudden muscle spasms and the animal paddling their legs. They may whimper and whine or their body may suddenly go rigid. A seizure only lasts for a minute or so, but it can be very alarming, particularly if you have never seen one before. After a seizure, take the animal to the vet immediately.
Animals who have drunk antifreeze typically express heavy thirst and a strong urge to urinate. This can continue repeatedly over the course of just a few hours. The antifreeze is working in their system and causing this behavior, and in turn, this behavior may lead to violent vomiting, where they bring the water back up.
As the ethylene glycol starts to break down in the animal’s system, the animal starts to have problem breathing. This is something that will come and go, making it hard to track down. The dog or cat will start to pant or to breathe heavily, or it will start to gasp for breath. The problem with this symptom is that it sometimes stops and the pet seems fine.
In the very late stages of poisoning from antifreeze, the animal begins to exhibit signs of being in great pain. It may hide and when it walks around, it stays close to the ground, moving very slowly, with its tail tucked close to its body. During this time, a previously friendly animal may be aloof and nervy or a previously aloof animal may be cuddly. A change behavior and signs of pain are indications that you need to take the animal to a veterinarian.
Immediate action is necessary to save an animal’s life if it has ingested even a small amount of antifreeze, so don’t hesitate. If your animal is expressing any of these symptoms, take them to the veterinarian immediately.