A hint of antifreeze can cause major problems

Winter weather is almost here, and Halloween has past, but there is probably some left-over Halloween candy around. What I am getting at is there will be lots of dangerous items around over the next few months that can cause your dog harm. Although most of the newer cars today have fewer leaks and do not need coolant changed on a regular basis, there are still lots of cars that do.

On Dec. 13 the Consumer Specialty Products Association and the Humane Society Legislative Fund announced that all major marketers have voluntarily agreed to add a bitter flavoring agent to all antifreeze and engine coolant products manufactured for sale in the United States to deter animals and children from ingesting them. This is a great change that will save many lives.

Each year, up to 90,000 pets are poisoned by ingesting antifreeze that drips onto our garage floors and driveways or is left in open containers. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that makes it attractive to pets, livestock, wildlife and small children. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can kill the average cat. The minimum lethal dose in dogs is about 2 milliliters (less than half a teaspoon) per pound of body weight. In other words, it doesn’t take much but the consequences are great. Be careful. If there is a hint of antifreeze on your garage floor, clean it up. It doesn’t take much to cause a major problem.

Be careful with all that extra chocolate. This is the time of year that we all have more candy around than usual (at least I do, and Karma loves it). A few years ago, Carolyn’s dog, Belle, ate 2 pounds of chocolate she managed to get off of the table where we thought it was safe. Luckily, she ate so much she vomited most of it up right away, but she still needed some IV fluids to get her back to normal.

Watch out for chicken bones, turkey bones and all sorts of other goodies around that are bad for our furry friends. It can be very tempting for children to give their best friend a little treat. The next two months are fun times for all. We don’t want to spoil all that fun rushing our pet (or our children ) to the emergency room.

Have a great and safe holiday season.