Symptoms of Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

Is there a chance your dog has ingested antifreeze? Did you see her do so, or do you think there’s a strong possibility? If so, it’s crucial that you learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of antifreeze poisoning. In the article below, we’ll give you some basic information about the most common symptoms of antifreeze poisoning in dogs so you can recognize when your pet may be in an emergency situation.

Dog antifreeze poisoning symptoms

Antifreeze poisoning is a serious and life-threatening condition in dogs. If you suspect your dog is suffering from antifreeze poisoning, contact the emergency vet right away.

Stages of Dog Antifreeze Poisoning Symptoms

The symptoms of antifreeze poisoning come in stages and get worse as the condition progresses. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned below, take your dog to the emergency vet immediately so they can get the care they need. The earlier you spot these symptoms and get your dog veterinary care the better.

Below are the different stages of dog antifreeze poisoning symptoms:

Early Symptoms

Early symptoms of dog antifreeze poisoning include:


Vomiting is one of the first signs of antifreeze poisoning in dogs. You may notice the color of the vomit looking slightly green, and if so, you can be sure your dog has ingested antifreeze. However, the color of the vomit is not always an indication of what’s going on with your dog.

Confusion and Lack of Coordination

Within the first half hour of ingesting antifreeze, dogs will become confused and disoriented. They may wander around and may also have trouble coordinating their bodies. They may stumble and fall easily.

Excessive Urination and Thirst

Antifreeze poisoning causes excessive thirst within the first 30 minutes of ingestion. This excessive thirst then leads to excessive, uncontrollable urination. These symptoms are some of the telltale signs your dog is dealing with antifreeze poisoning, especially if the symptoms are sudden and acute.


Some dogs may start having seizures within the first hour after ingesting antifreeze. Seizures can be symptoms of a variety of other dog health conditions, but if you see them in conjunction with other symptoms on this list, you should be concerned about the possibility of antifreeze poisoning.

Progressing Symptoms

As antifreeze poisoning progresses, your dog may start experiencing the following symptoms:

Severe Dehydration

The longer the poisoning progresses, the more the dog will become dehydrated from antifreeze poisoning. Since dehydration is more of a silent symptom than those listed already, some pet owners may not recognize that their dogs have reached this second stage of antifreeze poisoning and may mistakenly believe the symptoms are easing up.

Increased Heart Rate

During this stage, the dog will also suffer from an increased heart rate. The dog may be unable to rest well because of this, and may be anxious, frightened, or weak as a result of the heart rate issues as well.

This symptom usually occurs about 12 hours after the dog ingests antifreeze.

Difficulty Breathing

Difficulty breathing or an increased breathing rate can occur along with antifreeze poisoning as well. Although these symptoms are slightly less common than the others listed here, they are still potential signs that your dog is dealing with antifreeze poisoning.

Breathing problems usually begin about 24 hours after the dog ingests antifreeze.

Advanced Symptoms

Once your dog has reached the advanced stage of antifreeze poisoning, the following symptoms may begin to occur:

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is likely to occur in dogs with antifreeze poisoning about three days after the ingestion of the antifreeze. As the kidneys shut down, they will become painful and may cause the dog to show signs of serious pain as well.

They will stop producing urine, which means the dog will not be able to urinate anymore. This, in turn, will cause the dog to become much sicker much more quickly, and will also lead to severe weakness and lethargy as the kidneys continue to shut down.


Dogs who are in the last stages of antifreeze poisoning are likely to suffer from frequent seizures. They may also go into a coma as a result of the effects of the poisoning on the nervous system. Seizures and coma can occur at any time during the poisoning, but are more likely around three days after ingestion.

Lethargy and Weakness

By this stage, dogs will become extremely lethargic and depressed. They will be unable or unwilling to get up and move around, and they may be so weak that they cannot even sit up. Dogs may simply stay in a resting position without moving.


Finally, the dog will die from antifreeze poisoning if it is left untreated. If a dog is treated within eight hours of ingesting antifreeze, she has a good chance of surviving. If not, however, there is very little vets can do for a dog suffering from antifreeze poisoning.

Get Immediate Help for Any Sign of Dog Antifreeze Poisoning Symptoms

If you notice some of the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning in your pet, don’t hesitate to take her to the emergency vet. The sooner you take your pet to the emergency vet, the more likely she will be to survive this condition. Antifreeze poisoning is almost always fatal to dogs if left untreated.

Protect your dog from antifreeze poisoning by always storing antifreeze on high shelves well out of the reach of your pet (and children). You may also consider keeping antifreeze and other dangerous household substances in a locked cabinet for the safety of your pets and little ones.

If you think your pet may have ingested antifreeze, or if she’s showing signs of any of the dog antifreeze poisoning symptoms mentioned above, bring her in to our team at The Village Vets immediately. Our emergency animal hospital is open 24/7 with a team who’s dedicated to caring for your pet. Call us at (404) 371-9774 to make sure your pet gets the care she needs as soon as possible.

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