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Canine Antifreeze Poisoning

Twice a year as the seasons are changing toward the Summer and Winter, our thoughts turn to automobile preparations for the hottest and coolest seasons. One of the tasks people routinely do at these times of the year is to add antifreeze to their vehicles. While antifreeze works well for cars, it is deadly to dogs and other animals. A small amount left on the ground can prove to be disastrous to man's best friend if he happens to lap it up.

Antifreeze has a sweet taste that is appealing to dogs and it only takes a small dose of antifreeze to be lethal. Five teaspoons can kill a 10-pound dog and it is also very dangerous to children. The initial symptoms of antifreeze poisoning may include excessive thirst and urination, lack of coordination, weakness, nausea, tremors, vomiting, rapid breathing and heart rate, convulsions, crystals in urine, diarrhea, paralysis, depression, thirst and frequent urination. These symptoms can begin as soon as 30 minutes after the antifreeze has been ingested and may last for 12 hours at which time the symptoms will disappear. At this point, the liver will have broken down the ethylene glycol (EG), the active ingredient in antifreeze. Toxicologists report that EG antifreeze, once inside the body, is changed into a crystalline acid which attacks the kidneys. Further symptoms may not be noticeable for days and irreparable damage may be occurring. Vomiting may reoccur, as well as loss of appetite, dehydration, inability to urinate, salivation, seizures, mouth ulcers, coma and death.

If you see or suspect your dog has ingested antifreeze, take your animal to your Veterinarian immediately. Veterinarians suggest treating animals suffering from antifreeze poisoning by inducing vomiting and feeding the pet activated charcoal to absorb and neutralize the EG. If your dog has proper treatment within the crucial first 12 hours, complete recovery is possible. In order to prevent the ethylene glycol from being absorbed into the liver, the Vet will administer an IV of ethanol which counters the affect of the deadly ethylene glycol. Pets rarely survive EG poisoning, the veterinarians say, because pet owners may not recognize that their pets are seriously ill until it is too late. There is also a new drug that can be administered soon after a dog ingests the antifreeze (and has had pretty good success so far), but again, it must be administered shortly after ingestion to be effective. Ask your local vet whether he/she carries it for such emergencies. Prevention, therefore, is the best antidote.

When changing or adding antifreeze to your car care should be taken to avoid spilling any or allowing any to remain in a puddle on the ground. Empty antifreeze containers and any rags used should be disposed of properly and containers of antifreeze should be wiped clean and stored out of the reach of pets. There are several types of antifreeze on the market now that are advertised as "pet safe" and serve as an alternative to standard antifreeze. When purchasing and using antifreeze always keep the welfare and health of your pet in mind. SIERRA - is one of the safer alternatives. It’s Not Just Antifreeze. It’s Safety Freeze.

SIERRA Antifreeze and Coolant is a new, safer antifreeze formulated with propylene glycol (PG) instead of ethylene glycol (EG). Unlike EG antifreeze, PG-based SIERRA is essentially non-toxic and safer for children, pets and wildlife in the environment. Unlike EG, PG is classified as "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Propylene glycol is used in small quantities in the formulation of many consumer products including cosmetics, medications, and snack foods. It is even used as a moisturizing agent in pet food.

You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Performance for Safety. SIERRA protects against freezing, overheating and corrosion the same as premium brands of conventional antifreeze. It has passed the automotive industry’s most grueling performance and corrosion tests. And SIERRA is phosphate-free. SIERRA should not be mixed with toxic EG-based antifreeze brands, because its safety advantages for your pet will be lost. SIERRA’s freeze point can be tested with SIERRA Freeze point test strips or PG refractometers. A 50/50 blend of SIERRA and water has a freeze point of -26 F. Greater protection can be obtained by increasing the ratio of antifreeze to water.

For more information about where you can purchase SIERRA Antifreeze and Coolant, call Safe Brands Corporation 1-800-289-7234. (Please note: BEAGLES UNLIMITED is not endorsing or in any way connected to Sierra Antifreeze or its production. We are providing this tidbit about SIERRA antifreeze as a canine safety information tip.)

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).