Is Windshield Washer Fluid Antifreeze Dangerous To Pets? From Your Carmel Veterinary Hospital


When it’s cold and snowy, your windshield can often get frozen over very quickly.  Windshield wiper fluid antifreeze is a necessity for travel during the winter months.  But is it safe to use around pets?  At our Carmel veterinary hospital, we often see dogs and cats that have been poisoned.  One horrible toxicity is antifreeze poisoning.  Antifreeze wiper fluid usually contains varying amounts of methanol (or methyl alcohol).

Methanol can cause a long list of symptoms depending on the route of exposure.  Methanol can cause problems to the skin, eyes, GI tract, and nervous system in people and pets.  Symptoms can include minor skin irritation, nose irritation, and vomiting to blindness, organ failure, seizures, and death. A very small exposure usually causes GI upset but ingesting over 3 ounces of methanol can be fatal to a dog.  Always take the proper precautions for yourself and your pets to prevent exposure to antifreeze and save a trip to your Carmel veterinary hospital.  Dogs and cats are very curious and often investigate anything spilled on the floor as a potential food source.

If you think your dog or cat has been exposed to windshield washer fluid antifreeze, take the following steps.  First, ventilate the area to reduce exposure to the lungs.  Put kitty litter or paper towels to soak it up, then use gloves to remove it and wash the area with water.   If any windshield antifreeze got on to your pet’s skin, rinse off any antifreeze out of their coat with water for several minutes.  If any windshield antifreeze came into contact with your pets eyes, rinse it out with eye irrigating solution, contact solution, or water if these are unavailable.  If your dog or cat ingested windshield antifreeze, go to your Carmel veterinary hospital right away and bring the bottle of washer fluid antifreeze with you for immediate veterinary care.

Keep your family and your pets safe this winter.  Keep your pets away from the windshield washer antifreeze.  Read the label carefully so you know how to handle any that might get spilled.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on the link to your Carmel Veterinary Hospital.

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