Dear Daisy Dog
My friend’s dog died of anti-freeze poisoning. Why is anti-freeze so toxic?
Most anti-freeze products contain ethylene glycol, which imparts a sweet taste and yellow-green hue attractive to dogs, cats, and youngsters.
Ethylene glycol is so toxic to the kidneys that even tiny amounts can be fatal. A dose as small as 3 tablespoons is lethal to a 25-lb dog, while a cat can die simply from licking anti-freeze off her coat.
Ethylene glycol so quickly damages the kidneys that once a pet shows signs of kidney failure (vomiting, increased drinking, or even lack of urination), treatment is usually unsuccessful.
To prevent ethylene glycol poisoning:
- check your vehicle’s radiator and hoses monthly for leaks;
- clean up any anti-freeze spills with cat litter (to absorb the liquid) and rags;
- the next time you change your anti-freeze, use a less toxic propylene glycol anti-freeze like Sierra;
- don’t let your pet run free;
- if you suspect anti-freeze ingestion, call your vet immediately. Don’t delay until you see signs of illness. A blood test will show whether your pet ingested anti-freeze, and treatment can be initiated before kidney damage becomes irreversible.