PET HEALTH CORNER: Dangers of Antifreeze

by | General Pet Care |

During the winter, a serious danger to pets is antifreeze, which acts like a poison if ingested by animals. Here are some of the dangers with antifreeze and how to prevent them. 

What is antifreeze and where is it found? 

Antifreeze is a chemical that can be found in standard vehicles like cars and trucks, but also in tractors or other machinery. It’s designed to work in the engine as one of the fluid components. 

Typically, people change their antifreeze routinely, or they top it up. The danger is if the substance is spilled while being changed. 

The chemical in the antifreeze tastes sweet, and animals can be drawn to it. 

There are several ways the poison can get into the animal’s system, they can lick it, or walk on it and lick themselves. Because of the sweetness, the animal won’t know to stop and may lick or even drink it. 

The chemicals in the antifreeze go to the pet’s kidneys and act like tiny, microscopic razor blades that slice up the kidney cells. It can cause permanent kidney damage. 

Pet-Friendly Alternatives 

There are pet-friendly antifreezes that exist. Normal antifreeze has ethylene glycol, and the pet friendly alternative uses propylene glycol.  

Though still poisonous, it isn’t as harmful as the original ethylene. 

Regardless of the type, if you think your pet has ingested any antifreeze, they should be taken to a vet immediately. 


If you’re going to be topping up your radiator or changing your antifreeze, make sure your pets are far away. 

Before your furry friend is allowed back into that area, it’s important to have a good look under the vehicle to make sure nothing has spilled. 

If there is spilling, clean it up carefully with detergent to rinse it and wash it away. If the spill is on gravel, the best option is to scoop and throw away the gravel, then pour water and detergent on the dirt left behind. 

After using the detergent water, wipe it and dry it up, doing your best to ensure there’s no residue left behind. 

Again, if your pet has been exposed to antifreeze, bring them to a veterinarian immediately. 

Check out our blog for more pet care tips.