Antifreeze Poisoning: What you need to know!

Most people are unaware of the danger to pets from antifreeze poisoning - Ingesting the smallest amount can cause kidney failure and death, especially in cats. Sadly cats are likely to drink the Antifreeze if given the opportunity too as it has a slightly sweet taste.

Keep pets safe

Accidental poisonings from spills/leaks, as well as leaking water coolant from cars happen every year, leading to pet death. Regularly check your car to ensure it isn’t leaking water coolant. Take care storing, using and disposing of antifreeze and water coolant. Most accidental deaths are avoidable.

  • Always keep antifreeze in clearly labelled, robust, sealed containers, away from pets and their environment.

  • Clean up spills immediately, no matter how small. Ensure pets cannot access the area until it’s clean and safe.

  • Always dispose of antifreeze and water coolant safely and responsibly. Contact your local authority for advice.

If you suspect antifreeze poisoning

If you suspect your pet’s come into contact with antifreeze, leaked water coolant or if showing any of these symptoms get them to a vet immediately:

  • Vomiting

  • Seeming depressed/sleepy

  • Appearing drunk and uncoordinated

  • Seizures (fits)

  • Difficulty breathing

Even if your pet is not yet displaying symptoms, but you know they have come into contact with Antifreeze, take them to your vet immediately. The sooner treatment is started, the better your pet's chances of survival. Signs of antifreeze poisoning can show 30 minutes after ingestion. It can be two/three days before signs of kidney failure are seen. If left untreated, antifreeze poisoning can cause pain, suffering and distress and ultimately death.

Recent antifreeze poisonings of cats

The RSPCA and International Cat Care are deeply concerned and saddened about antifreeze poisonings in cats across Britain. Antifreeze poisoning can cause pain, suffering, distress and ultimately, death. Poisoning cats can constitute a criminal offence; under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the maximum penalty for anyone found guilty is up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a £20,000 fine. Please take care when using antifreeze and be sure not to leave lids off cartons or leave spills. Your own pet or a friend's/neighbours could be at risk by doing so.

Rock salt advice

Rock salt (used to grit roads in winter) can be toxic to animals. Click HERE to download a leaflet from the RSPCA about rock salt.

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Updated April 2020