Antifreeze Poisoning in Pets | PetFirst Pet Insurance
Pet Care & Health

Antifreeze Poisoning in Pets

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 years ago

Antifreeze poisoning is very common in dogs and cats. Why is antifreeze so fatal? Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol. Less than three ounces of antifreeze could be fatal to your pet and immediately affects the brain, liver and kidneys. Ethylene glycol may also be found in engine coolant and hydraulic brake fluid.

A cat prowling around a container of antifreeze

Common symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive urination
  • Weakness

These symptoms appear in three stages.

The first stage occurs within 30 minutes to 12 hours. In the first stage, your pet may appear drunk. He may also experience vomiting, seizures, diarrhea, and/or excessive drooling. In stage two, which occurs within 12-24 hours, your pet may appear to be doing better but, his internal organs are beginning to fail. The third stage is 36-72 hours following ingestion, severe kidney failure will begin. Symptoms found in the third stage include lethargy, coma, vomiting and/or seizures. This is why immediately following ingestion, you must seek treatment.

If you suspect your dog may have ingested antifreeze, you should consult with your veterinarian immediately. Your doctor may instruct you to induce vomiting immediately by providing your dog with one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per five pounds of body weight. He may also instruct you to take your dog to an emergency clinic immediately. Your veterinarian will likely draw blood and collect a urine sample to ensure your dog’s body is safe from harm.

To prevent antifreeze poisoning:

  • Clean up any antifreeze you notice immediately
  • Ensure you dispose of antifreeze containers immediately
  • Do not allow your dog or cat in any area where antifreeze may be left

The average cost of a vet bill for antifreeze poisoning is $1,080.58. We’ve received claims for vet bills due to antifreeze ingestion as high as $2,700. This is why pet insurance for dogs and cats is so important. PetFirst pet insurance can help reimburse the costs associated with diagnosing and treating antifreeze poisoning.

Download our Antifreeze Poisoning in Pets infographic to educate other pet parents about the dangers of antifreeze.


Amber Drake, professional canine behaviorist and write of this PetFirst PetInsurance blog onantifreeze poisoning in pets

Amber L. Drake, a Professional Canine Behaviorist and Adjunct Professor of Biological Science, has extensive experience in the Animal Science Field. She has worked with dogs professionally for over ten years. Her clients range from private pet parents to large canine rescue organizations. In addition to accepting clients on a regular basis, Drake serves as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College and Kaplan University. Drake has earned a Doctor of Education (ABD), Educational Specialist Post-Masters, Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has completed coursework at Cornell University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster and a number of Continuing Education courses to remain up-to-date in her field.

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