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Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Summer Warning: Antifreeze In Unusual Places

By June 21, 2011

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Radiator Antifreeze by evelynishere on FlickrMost people are aware that antifreeze is toxic to animals and humans. Despite the name antifreeze, this chemical is also used to keep engines from overheating in the summer among other uses. Caution is advised when engines overheat, often spilling this toxic fluid in driveways and parking lots.

More facts about antifreeze:

  • Animals (and children) are often attracted to antifreeze because of its sweet taste.
  • Traditional antifreeze is ethylene glycol. A less toxic alternative, propylene glycol, is also available. Learn more: Ethylene vs. Propylene Glycol.
  • While cars and garage or parking lot spills are the most common source of antifreeze, boats, "winterized" cabins, and similar situations must also be remembered with pets are around.
  • Antifreeze may be used to add weight to anchoring devices so the liquid won't freeze and break the plastic housing.

This forum post sadly illustrates the last point.

ForRiley writes: "Last week we lost our beloved puppy, Riley, to antifreeze poisoning. The source of the antifreeze was a portable basketball hoop  in our driveway. The previous owners of the hoop had filled the base with water and antifreeze according to directions, to weigh the base down and keep the water from freezing.

Small holes manufactured into the top of the base allowed tiny drops of antifreeze to leak out. Riley was drawn to the sweet taste of the antifreeze, and ingested a very small amount of it as it leaked out of the holes.

Within hours she started to turn away from her food, the next day was vomiting, and the next day she went into shock. She passed away despite our efforts to save her at the emergency clinic." Read full post

To be honest, I had not considered a portable basketball hoop as a potential source of antifreeze. I would have been inclined to use sand or small gravel for weight. I appreciate this info, and I have added it to the antifreeze FAQ article.

Do you know of "unusual" uses for antifreeze? Please add your comment below. Let us know to help keep our pets safe! And if your pet has consumed antifreeze or other bad things, please share your story to help increase awareness of the icky things pets eat.

Related Reading

Photo: Radiator Antifreeze by evelynishere on Flickr

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March 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm
(1) Andy caufield says:

We just lost our beloved Shollie named Shelby 2 days ago due to poisoning from PRESTONE WINDSHIELD WASH FLUID DE-ICER…..

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Share this as NO one knows that this WASHER fluid that drips on your driveway IS DEADLY just like engine coolant!!!

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