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Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

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Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

Antifreeze, which is also known as ethylene glycol, is among the most common liquids to poison dogs and other animals, both wild and domestic. Cases of this toxicity are more apparent in the northern areas where extremely cold winters are more often experienced. Antifreeze has a sweet taste, which is why so many dogs lap up the liquid whenever they have found some that has spilled.

Cats and dogs can suffer from Antifreeze poisoning.


Dogs are more likely to be poisoned by antifreeze than cats, due to the fact that cats are less prone to drinking unknown liquids found outdoors. A teaspoon of the liquid is all that is required to poison a cat; whereas for dogs, a tablespoon may be all that is needed.

Stages of Antifreeze Poisoning

There are three critical stages of antifreeze poisoning in dogs:

Stage One

The first stage of poisoning involves the absorption of the toxic liquid in the body of the dog. This may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours. The dog may appear drunk and display any of the common signs related to intoxication, such as stumbling and lack of coordination. Nausea, Dog Vomiting, and frequent urination are also seen during this stage. Some dogs experience this phase while sleeping, which makes their owners unaware that this poisoning has happened. Toward the end of this phase, most of the symptoms have been eliminated and the dog may even look as if he or she has recovered.

Stage Two

The second phase of antifreeze poisoning is almost undetectable in most cases. It typically occurs 12 to 24 hours after the dog has ingested the antifreeze. The heart and breathing rates of the affected dog increase rapidly. With this being overlooked without close inspection of the dog, most poisoning cases are not noticed until the very last stage.

Stage Three

Kidney damage and failure becomes obvious in the final stage. Symptoms of the damage include Dog Depression, Dog Diarrhea, and vomiting. The stage progresses as the liver converts the harmful substance into even more toxic material, which injures the tissues of the kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs. Once the kidneys stop functioning, toxins accumulate in the dog’s body, making the antifreeze poisoning a life-threatening emergency.

Treatment Options

Successful treatment of antifreeze poisoning in dogs comprises eliminating the absorption of the toxic material in the body of the animal. If ingestion of the antifreeze is seen, inducing vomiting immediately will help rid the dog's body of the harmful substance. Seeking veterinarian assistance as soon as possible is also necessary. The vet can clean out the stomach with charcoal and provide the animal with fluids intravenously. If kidney failure has not occurred, medications can be given to stop the breaking down of the ethylene glycol by the liver.


The prognosis for dogs to recover from antifreeze poisoning depends largely on how quickly the diagnosis is made. Recovering from kidney failure is difficult, but is improving due to hemodialysis, a medical treatment that aids in kidney function while they heal.

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