Every year thousands of animals die from ingesting antifreeze. The sweet taste of the product draws in unsuspecting animals and is often fatal for them.
One small teaspoon of antifreeze can kill an average sized cat. Ethylene glycol can cause nausea, vomiting, central nervous system failure, build up of fluids in the lungs, heart and kidney failure, coma and rapid death.
Over the years I have seen less cases of pets that have ingested antifreeze, hopefully because people are more aware that this product can be deadly and they take necessary precautions, but I have seen a handful of pets die from consuming a small amount over the past seven years and many wildlife animals are exposed to antifreeze when people dispose of the product in unsafe ways.
Hopefully the numbers of those incidents will continue to decline since last week the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) and the Humane Society Legislative Fund jointly announced that animal protection groups and manufacturers of antifreeze have come to a landmark agreement with seven major corporations agreeing to add a bitter flavoring agent to their products for the consumer market in all 50 states. The manufacturers are adding bitter-tasting denatonium benzoate to antifreeze and coolant sold directly to consumers across the country.
Seventeen states currently require the addition of the bittering agent to antifreeze and engine coolant: Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
While this a huge step forward it should be noted that antifreeze is still extremely toxic to pets, wildlife animals and children and proper storage and disposal of the product should still be taken. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze you should contact your vet immediately.