At this time of year, if you drive any kind of motor vehicle, using antifreeze is unavoidable. Unfortunately, the active ingredient, ethylene glycol, tastes sweet, making it incredibly attractive to cats and dogs BUT it is incredibly toxic to them – just a tablespoon of antifreeze is enough to kill a dog and a teaspoonful will kill a cat.
Some companies are now adding a bitter taste to products containing ethylene glycol to make them unappealing to animals. These, clearly labelled, (as all Halfords antifreeze and screenwash products are now) are the preferred option for both pet and child safety.
Accidental poisonings happen every year, so please ensure that antifreeze is kept in clearly labelled, robust, sealed containers, away from pets and their environment and clear up any spills straight away, before any pets have access to the area. Any that you don’t intend to use should be taken to the local recycling centre for safe disposal.
No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. If you suspect your pet has come into contact with antifreeze, leaked water coolant or if they show any of the following signs get them straight to a vet:
• Appearing drunk and uncoordinated
• Seeming depressed or sleepy
• Seizures (fits)
• Difficulty breathing
• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
Signs of antifreeze poisoning can show as soon as 30 minutes after ingestion, though it can be two or three days before signs of kidney failure are seen. The sooner your pet receives treatment, the better their chances of survival. Left untreated, antifreeze poisoning can cause pain, suffering, distress and ultimately lead to the death of your pet.