Antifreeze Poisoning In Dogs: Prevention, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Your dog may have just taken a big gulp of antifreeze. What should you do? 

Antifreeze poisoning is not as uncommon as you might think, and it can be deadly if left untreated. You need to act quickly!

The sweet taste of antifreeze can be tempting to a dog, but it should never be given any as it is toxic. If your pet has ingested the substance, you need to take them to see a veterinarian immediately.

This article will provide you with some helpful information on how to treat your dog’s accidental antifreeze poisoning, what the symptoms are, and how to prevent this from happening again in the future.

How Much Antifreeze Will Kill A Dog?

The amount of antifreeze that will kill a dog depends on the size of the animal and how long it took for them to ingest the toxic substance. 

The smaller your pet is, the more they need to drink before it becomes fatal. 

For example, if your small-sized dog has drunk one teaspoonful in an hour or less then there is a good chance you’ll be able to get them help at home because this isn’t enough time for the poison to work its way through their system yet.

What Should I Do If My Dog Drank Antifreeze Accidentally?

So your dog drank antifreeze accidentally. Right now, take him/her straight away to see a veterinarian as soon as possible!

It’s crucial not only because he might need treatment, but so that he can be monitored to make sure the poison doesn’t do any more damage and as a preventative measure.

What Is Antifreeze Poisoning?

Antifreeze poisoning is what happens when your dog drinks antifreeze which contains ethylene glycol (the active ingredient). 

This substance breaks down into toxic substances in their stomach like oxalic acid and formaldehyde. 

It’s usually ingested from either licking it or drinking it accidentally; this then leads to depression, vomiting, kidney failure, and seizures among other symptoms such as constant thirst because of the burning sensation in their mouth.

What Are The Symptoms Of Antifreeze Poisoning?

dog sick due to antifreeze poisoning

Dogs with antifreeze poisoning might exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, depression, irregular heartbeat, and high body temperature. There may be unusual smells coming from the dog’s mouth too.

Symptoms of poisoning in animals can be broken down into three stages: Stage 1, which occurs 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion. 

Pets will experience wobbly movements and a drunken walk accompanied by euphoria, nausea, drooling, or vomiting followed shortly thereafter by excessive thirst and urination. 

Stage 2 is reached at about 12-24 hours post-ingestion where the symptoms may resolve but more severe internal injury has occurred.

Stage 3 is evidenced by the dog’s acute kidney failure occurring 36-72 hours after consumption while cats reach this stage within 24hr period following exposure.

Dogs also display lethargy among other signs that typically accompany these conditions like lack of appetite (which should not be confused for one another), drooling from uremic halitosis.

How To Diagnose Antifreeze Poisoning?

If you suspect that your dog has antifreeze poisoning then take him to a vet right away so they can do tests like blood tests for kidney damage or urinalysis which will reveal how much of the poison was ingested (usually detected by smell).

They might also order x-rays if it hasn’t been long since ingestion occurred – this is usually done so that they can make sure no other organs were damaged during these few hours when vital signs could change quickly.

How To Treat Antifreeze Poisoning In Dogs?

Treatment for antifreeze poisoning in dogs depends on a number of things like how much poison was ingested, the time since ingestion occurred, and whether or not there are any other symptoms.

People are often tempted to try home remedies for antifreeze poisoning in dogs but this can be dangerous because it could delay treatment.

If your dog has ingested any type of poison you should contact a veterinarian or animal emergency clinic right away – even before symptoms show up which will make them easier to treat.

You can also induce vomiting at home with hydrogen peroxide mixed half-and-half with water but only give one teaspoonful every 15 minutes as too much may cause damage to their esophagus and stomach lining; however, check first with your vet if you have questions about whether or not inducing vomiting is appropriate in your case.

If this is unsuccessful after fifteen minutes repeat again every 15 minutes for two hours before giving up on inducing vomiting since some animals are just not able to vomit no matter what we try. 

Bring your pet to the vet or emergency animal hospital immediately. 

Antifreeze poisoning can be fatal if not treated very quickly; waiting too long may cause liver damage and kidney failure among other complications!

In addition, there are some steps you can take at home during this time: offer a small amount of water (not antifreeze) every fifteen minutes in case he’s thirsty but vomited up all his stomach contents.

Offer him small amounts of food that won’t upset his stomach like cooked rice soaked in chicken broth or boiled plain white rice as well as several teaspoons of pumpkin puree per day until you know how much fluid intake has been tolerated without vomiting – these foods will also help keep down any stomach contents.

If he vomits again, call your vet or veterinary emergency hospital for further instructions.

Antifreeze poisoning in dogs is a serious and potentially life-threatening occurrence that can lead to severe organ damage if not treated quickly enough!

How To Prevent Your Dog From Drinking Antifreeze?

The best way to prevent your dog from drinking antifreeze is by preventing access to it by storing it up high or using an appropriate container that’s designed to be spill-proof so they can’t get into it.

You should also keep all open containers tightly closed when you’re not actively pouring something out of them – this includes old jars and bottles as well.

If you do have antifreeze around then make sure children (or pets) don’t play with these objects, don’t drink from the container, and if they do then get medical help immediately.

Keep your dog indoors and away from roads where they may encounter antifreeze spills.

Never allow a pet to drink any type of coolant or alcohol-based liquids, even if it smells good!

Is There An Alternative To Antifreeze?

If you’re not sure about the antifreeze that’s in your car, then talk to a professional and get your cooling system flushed out.

Otherwise, it may be possible for people who are looking for an alternative coolant to use something like propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol – this really needs more testing before we can guarantee its safety.


Keeping your dog away from the antifreeze is the safest way to avoid a poisoning accident.

Prevent access by storing up high or using an appropriate container that’s designed to be spill-proof so they can’t get into it, keep all open containers tightly closed when you’re not actively pouring something out of them – this includes old jars and bottles as well, never allow a pet drink any type of coolant or alcohol-based liquids even if it smells good, and finally, try to prevent spills on roads where pets may encounter them.


  1. “Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs: Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment.” WebMD Professional Version (accessed March 24, 2016). WebMD Inc.
  1. “Dog Drinking Antifreeze?” Quora Question (March 15th, 2013) – Q/A website where you can ask the question or answer questions.
  1. “What Should I Do If My Dog Drank Antifreeze Accidentally?” The Spruce Pet Health Expert Site- Independent pet care information since 2006.

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