Antifreeze poisoning is a very serious threat to your dog’s health. In fact, every year thousands of dogs die because of accidental ingestion of antifreeze and since it requires very little antifreeze to kill your dog you need to take the necessary precautions to protect your dog from antifreeze poisoning. Obviously, prevention is the best way to keep your dog safe. Store antifreeze on a high shelf, well out of the reach of pets, and where it cannot easily be knocked over. In addition, be sure to clean up any antifreeze spills immediately.
There are a number of clear signs that your dog has ingested antifreeze. In the early stages of antifreeze poisoning your dog will likely begin staggering and vomiting. He will probably be confused or disoriented and lethargic and may even begin drinking or urinating excessively. These symptoms will first be noticed about 30 minutes after ingestion and many owners whose dogs have consumed antifreeze describe these early symptoms as very similar to drunkenness. Over the next several hours these symptoms will persist and eventually you will notice diarrhea, convulsions, and unconsciousness. These second stage symptoms will appear after a period of apparent recovery but over the next day or so the toxins will cause permanent damage to the liver and kidneys as the antifreeze is metabolized.
If you suspect your dog has accidentally ingested antifreeze, visit the veterinarian immediately. If you can collect some of your dog’s vomit, take it to the vet for analysis. While inducing vomiting or activated charcoal will remove poison from your dog’s system, it is not a cure for antifreeze poisoning in dogs. As such, it is much more important to take preventative actions. Propylene-glycol based antifreeze is a much safer alternative to ethylene glycol forms. Also, don’t let your dog roam the neighborhood without supervision as he will be more likely to suffer antifreeze poisoning.