Antifreeze is Poisonous to Pets


antifreeze killsDid you know that antifreeze is poisonous to cats, dogs and other animals. Not only that but they think it tastes pretty good too, so it is a big danger to our pets.

Ethylene glycol toxicosis is a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion of antifreeze or other fluids containing the ingredient ethylene glycol. Antifreeze is the most common source of ethylene glycol.

Animal poisoning by antifreeze is worryingly common as antifreeze is often accessible to pets and animals and it tastes sweet.

Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not treated within a few hours of ingestion and even then it will likely prove fatal to your pet.

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning

Antifreeze poisoning is not easy to spot until it is too late. Initially, if anything, the pet may seem quiet or a little unsteady (tipsy). Once this passes the danger really begins as irreversible kidney damage has probably already occurred, often much later after the actual ingestion of the antifreeze. Pets do not often survive Ethylene glycol poisoning. The initial symptoms are simply too subtle until it is too late and kidney failure has already occurred. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze you must go to the vet immediately.

What can be done?

As ethylene glycol is a cheap and effective antifreeze, banning it may be a step too far for some. Another solution is to request that all ethylene glycol based antifreeze is made bitter and therefore less likely to be ingested by pets.

In the mean time you can check the ingredients of your antifreeze and avoid ethylene glycol based antifreeze or look for one that it non-toxic. You can buy an alternative such as propylene glycol based antifreeze, which is less toxic and less attractive to pets too.

You are responsible for keeping your dog safe so make sure they don't accidentally ingest antifreeze. Keep them away from any puddles on roads, driveways and anywhere else antifreeze may have been used such as toilet bowls, outside ornamental water fountains and so on.

Please also use antifreeze responsibly. Store it in secure containers, safely dispose of used antifreeze containers, mop up any spills quickly and thoroughly, check your car radiator regularly for leaks and don't use or dispose of antifreeze anywhere that animals or pets can lick it.

Recent antifreeze poisonings

Actor Daniel Radcliffe revealed how he almost poisoned himself from accidentally drinking antifreeze on a movie set. He was unaware that the toxic substance had been added to the water to ensure it wouldn't freeze. Luckily he suffered no lasting damage.

In November 2014 it was reported that MPs were to debate the control of antifreeze products following the suspected poisoning of up to 22 cats in the village of Calverton, Nottinghamshire. The deaths appeared to be linked and could have been malicious.


ban antifreeze petitionBlue Death Org UK have started a petition and antifreeze awareness campaign. The aim is to promote awareness about antifreeze poisoning and have it banned unless it contains something bitter that will make it less appetising to animals.

You can help by writing to your MP, visiting the Blue Death Org UK website to learn more, print off posters and leaflets, and sign the petition. Please also help spread the word via social media #‎antifreezekills‬

By Jenny Prevel

© D for Dog
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Sally Carter
16 May 2015  |  12:25

Why is the one that's sweet still on the market when you can get the other one that they don't like the taste of?

Leann Mudd
06 August 2015  |  21:34

Because the UK government are yet to care about the problem & make it law to change it. This is why Blue Death Org UK are fighting hard petitioning the government to ban antifreeze unless it contains bitterant to help save lives. USA have recently brought in legislation in all 50 states all manufacturers must add bitterant acknowledging the problem & taking steps to help stop the death toll. In 1972 Switzerland (“Swiss Poison Law”) banned the sale of Ethylene Glycol based coolants in Supermarkets, Accessory Shops, and generally across the counter to the public.

UK Ministers have intervened after spate of cat poisonings. MP's have complained that not enough is being done to deter offenders. MP's call for tougher sentences for people who deliberately poison pets, that has to be a custodial sentence handed down to people who are convicted of this horrendous crime. The maximum penalty is six months in the UK – compared to five years in Australia, three years in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

You can help here