Beware of antifreeze and pets, toxic plants

Antifreeze and pets don’t mix. Antifreeze is one of the most dangerous hazards for pets. As we maintain the cooling systems in our vehicles, we must make sure we have no antifreeze leaks, or open antifreeze containers, and that we are using more animal safe antifreeze like Sierra brand. Safer products like Sierra combine the benefits of biodegradability, low toxicity, and all-climate protection. Instead of deadly ethylene glycol, its main ingredient is propylene glycol, which is safer for both animals and children.

Antifreeze poisoning can be fatal before animal guardians even know what has happened. More than 10,000 dogs & cats are accidentally poisoned each year by antifreeze ingestion. Click To Tweet

Animals are especially attracted to antifreeze because of its taste. A cat can ingest a fatal quantity by licking its paws after walking through a puddle of leaked antifreeze. Four ounces of antifreeze in a 60 lb. dog can cause kidney failure and/or death, while a 1.5 teaspoon dose is fatal to a 10 lb cat. Within 30 minutes to 12 hours after an animal drinks antifreeze, s/he will act as if drunk. The animal may be wobbly, depressed, vomiting, develop muscle twitching and seizures, and go into a coma.

Dogs may appear to recover but die within 24-72 hours of ingestion. Cats often mask their illness until treatment is too late. Cats metabolize antifreeze rapidly and must be treated immediately to have even a slight chance of recovery. If you suspect antifreeze ingestion, seek help immediately!

Another common cold weather problem is the toxic houseplant. Click To Tweet

When people bring their plants indoors, animals may decide to take a nibble or two. Some poisonous houseplants cause only mild gastrointestinal upset; others cause kidney damage and eventual death. Ingesting azalea, oleander, mistletoe, poinsettias, sago palm, Easter lily, or yew plant material by an animal could be fatal. Dieffenbachia, caladium, English ivy, and philodendrons are also poisonous. Signs that your animal may have ingested poisonous plant material include nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties, disorientation, or any changes in behavior. See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect toxic plant ingestion. Visit www.aspca.org. for a comprehensive list of poisonous plants.

If your cats are particularly insistent on chewing up houseplants, make an indoor garden just for them. Click To Tweet You can grow cat grass, catnip, and a number of other indoor plants that kitties can chew safely.

Note: This article is a compilation of information from the veterinarians at R.E.A.C.H (Regional Emergency Animal Care Hospital). Visit www.reachvet.com or call 828 665-4399 for more information.

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