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12 Days of Holiday Hazards...Day 8

12/07/2008

 On the eigth day of the holidays, my true love gave to me...ANTIFREEZE

OK, so if your true love actually gave you antifreeze as a holiday gift, they probably wouldn't be your true love for much longer. But this does give me a chance to remind everyone, once again, about the danger of antifreeze. I realize that no sane pet owner is intentionally allowing their companion access to antifreeze; by now everyone knows just how incredibly toxic this stuff is to pets (and people, for that matter).

But we do need to be proactive about protecting our pets from inadvertent exposure to antifreeze, whether it occurs on our own property or elsewhere.

As temperatures drop, lots of folks are reminded that it's time to top up their car's antifreeze. The truth is that this job should really be left to professionals; even if you are the most avid do-it-yourself mechanic, there is no reason to expose your family, furry or human, to this poison. It's pretty hard to avoid spills, and you just don't want even a drop of antifreeze on your driveway or in your garage.

Keep in mind that neighbors or others may be less careful than you, and realize that any puddle on the street could contain this toxin. Pets who run loose are at particular risk, as you can't control what they may decide to lap up. Every time I see one of those telltale green puddles,  I shudder.

So- don't let your pet run loose, don't allow your pet to drink from anything other than his or her own water bowl, and if you do have antifreeze around, keep it locked up tighter than Fort Knox.

Antifreeze causes fatal kidney failure, among other life-threatening issues, so if you ever suspect your pet may have been exposed to it, get to a veterinary emergency clinic RIGHT AWAY. Time is of the absolute essence with antifreeze ingestion; there are antidotes that can be given, but the time window to do so is fairly short.

As always, if you have questions about antifreeze or any other toxin, you can call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435.

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