As winter is slowly creeping upon us, many of us will “winterize” our automobiles, including a change of antifreeze. Antifreeze is quite tasty to our canine and feline friends, however it is EXTREMELY TOXIC, causing kidney failure that is often fatal in just a few days.
It only takes a very little amount of lapped up antifreeze for it to be fatal. If a cat walks through a puddle of antifreeze and then licks its paws, it can ingest enough antifreeze to cause death. And as little as 5 tablespoons can kill a medium sized dog.
If you are at all suspicious that your pet may have ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately. Signs of antifreeze poisoning depend upon the time after ingestion. In the first few hours after ingestion the pet may be depressed and staggering and may have seizures. They may drink lots of water, urinate large amounts, and vomit. Signs of kidney failure include depression and vomiting. Treatment for antifreeze poisoning needs to be started as soon after ingestion as possible to be effective. The earlier the treatment is started, the greater the chance of survival. Once kidney failure develops, most animals will die.
Prevent Antifreeze poisoning
- keep new and used antifreeze in a sealed, leak proof container
- take used antifreeze to a service station for disposal – don’t pour it on the ground
- check driveways for puddles of antifreeze that may have leaked from the car
- consider the use of alternative antifreeze products that are less toxic to pets
- if antifreeze is placed in toilets make sure the lid is down and the door to the room is closed.
Cold Weather Pet Tips
Unseasonably cold weather is slowly approaching, so make sure you give special attention to your pets, if they live indoors or outdoors.
When you take your inside pooch out for a “bathroom break”, stay out with them. If you’re cold enough to go inside, it probably is too cold for the pet to stay out much longer as well.
When your pet comes back to the comfort of the indoors, make sure to wipe its paws and belly to ensure there are no ice pebbles clinging between the toes or on the soles of the feet.
Outdoor cats will seek warmth and sometimes this includes near or on a car engine. This means that if they don’t move when you go out to start the engine the next time, they can be seriously injured or killed. Before starting the engine, rap on the hood a couple of times to chase them off from beneath the hood.
Pets that move about on sidewalks, driveways or streets run the risk of picking up rock salt, ice pellets, and other chemicals in their foot pads. Each time they are brought in, make certain to wipe all four feet thoroughly – in between each toe and on the sole. There is a tendency for them to lick the salt off their feet, which can cause some gastro-intestinal irritation. Excessive licking can also irritate the delicate tissue between the toes. You may try “winter booties” to protect your pets’ paws – but it may take some time for your pet to get used to them on their feet.
For short coated breeds like French Bulldogs, Greyhounds, Boston terriers and Chihuahuas, you might want to put them in a protective sweater before taking them outside.
Be particularly careful when escorting elderly, arthritic pets outside. They will become stiff and tender quickly and may find it difficult to move about in the snow or on ice. Keep them tethered tightly to your side if the route to the yard is icy. A bad slip can cause a ruptured disc, broken leg, or other major injury.
If you live near a pond or lake, don’t allow your pets to run loose. They may head for thin ice and fall through if they are not familiar with icy ponds. It is very difficult to escape and equally challenging for you to reach the site safely.
Let’s face this winter head on, being proactive and preventive for our pets!!