With a cold front hitting much of the country, and snow blanketing many cities, it’s a great time to be outside with your favorite fur friends for play time in the fluffy white stuff! But, with the cold weather, one potentially lethal substance seems to be everywhere: antifreeze.
It’s in windshield wiper fluid and coolant, which I know I personally seem to be buying in droves these days. If your car is leaking coolant, it can be dripping on your sidewalk, or you may store your extra bottles in a corner in your garage. Please, be extremely careful. Do not let your dog lick your driveway, or anywhere antifreeze may have leaked from a car, and make sure to keep products containing antifreeze far from reach of pets (and children), and your garage locked. Should any spill, clean up every last drop.
Antifreeze has a very sweet taste, which makes it particularly attractive to dogs, who do not realize the substance is toxic. Ethylene Glycol is added to antifreeze to lower freezing points, and is the sweet smelling and tasting chemical making antifreeze lethal. Just a teaspoon of antifreeze can quickly cause a small dog to go into kidney failure and be lethal, and not much more is needed to kill a large dog.
I know when I think antifreeze, I automatically think of its uses in automobiles, but we can’t forget our holiday decorations that may contain it, too. Snow globes are very popular this time of year, and these tend to be manufactured in China. Like many products from China, snow globes are transported to this country on large cargo ships. To prevent the liquid inside of the globes from freezing (which would cause the glass globes to break), antifreeze is added during manufacturing. Keep your snow globes out of your pet’s reach this holiday season, and should one break, make sure to thoroughly clean up not just the broken glass, but the liquid as well.
Remember, with all of our decorations and holiday treats, dogs are tempted to counter surf or jump on tables this time of year. Because of this, it is extra important to never leave a dog unattended in a room, or within reach of a surface holding a snow globe. The sweet scent and flavor of antifreeze is just too good for many pets to pass up, and the results are almost always lethal.
Should your dog show signs like staggering and vomiting, immediately check out your veterinarian. For extra precaution, companies like Sierra produce less toxic propelyne-glycol-based antifreeze.