Month: March 2022

Winter Weather Warning: Antifreeze Dangers

By Joan Eve Quinn, Program Director Old man winter packs a punch of frigid weather risks for pets and antifreeze poisoning is among the worst of them. Guardian HEALS wants everyone to know that when a pet ingests antifreeze (ethylene glycol or EG) it’s a medical emergency that can result in acute kidney failure and death. “Time is of the essence! Antifreeze is rapidly absorbed in the pet’s body and causes irreversible damage in hours,” warns Dr. Jason Berg, HEALS Chairman of the Board. EG is a toxic chemical most commonly used in car radiators. However, it can also be found in some household items, including snow globes, eye masks, inks, and certain paints. Unfortunately, EG has a pleasantly sweet taste and may even create a warm feeling when it’s swallowed. Pets may be attracted to its flavor, because they’re curious, or if their water bowls are frozen over. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the first signs of antifreeze poisoning occur within 30 minutes to 12 hours and include:
  • “Walking drunk”
  • Drooling
  • Hyper-salivating
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive thirst and urination
Twelve to 24 hours after a dog or cat has gotten into antifreeze, the initial signs appear to resolve, but underlying internal damage continues. Elevated heart rate, increase breathing effort, and dehydration may start to develop. In cats, the following stage occurs 12-24 hours after getting into antifreeze. In dogs, this stage occurs 36-72 hours after severe kidney failure secondary to calcium crystals forming in the kidneys. Severe lethargy, coma, depression, vomiting, seizures, drooling, and lack of appetite may occur, states the Pet Poison Helpline. Even a very small amount of antifreeze can be deadly. Because the first signs of toxicity appear to resolve after a while, this serious illness can initially be misdiagnosed or not taken seriously enough. According to MSPCA-Angell, cats are more susceptible than dogs. The minimum dose that’s lethal in cats is roughly 3 milliliters (mls) per pound body weight. For dogs, 9-14 mls per pound body weight may cause death. Fatality rates for EG intoxication reported by top veterinary schools range from 44–70% for dogs and 78-96% for cats, states MSPCA-Angell. Fortunately, you can protect your pets by taking the following steps: 
  • Close all antifreeze containers tightly and keep them out of sight.
  • Be aware of any spills, big or small, and clean them up promptly and completely.
  • Purchase pet-safe antifreeze, which is somewhat safer, but it’s still best to keep pets away from any and all chemicals.
  • Keep cats safely indoors!
  • Keep dogs on a leash or in a safely fenced-in area.
  • Be aware that pets can easily find antifreeze leaks in parking lots, driveways, and garages, on streets and curbs where cars are parked, and on farms and near garbage dumps.
  • Make sure outdoor pets always have non-frozen water available.
HEALS advises you to learn where your nearest 24/7 veterinary emergency facility is located and keep the phone number handy. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, seek veterinary medical attention immediately. For more information, you can call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. Guardian HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community.

Stay Safe on St. Patrick’s Day: Keep Alcohol Away from Animals!

By Joan Eve Quinn
HEALS Program Director

Four-leaf clovers, luck, and leprechauns lurk on the horizon as we march towards St. Patrick’s Day. A bright kelly-green break from the winter doldrums, parades, and parties are heading our way. For many, the cheerful celebrations historically include the alcoholic beverage of your choice. Party in style and with good sense!

While you’re looking for that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow, be sure to keep your pets away from all alcoholic beverages. They can become seriously intoxicated and get very sick very fast from drinking even a small amount! This is called alcohol toxicity.

Alcohol toxicity can result from consuming many substances, including:

  • Ethanol (found in alcoholic beverages)
  • Cough syrup
  • Raw bread dough
  • Isopropanol (found in rubbing alcohol)
  • Methanol (found in windshield wiper fluid)

These alcohols are quickly absorbed in the pet’s body within 20-30 minutes. Such ingredients can even be absorbed through the skin of small pets when alcohol-based sprays are used.

Signs of illness caused by alcohol intoxication generally occur within just 30-60 minutes of intake and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Ataxia (manifesting as a “drunken” gait)
  • Disorientation
  • Dull mental status
  • Difficulty breathing

In severe cases, the following serious conditions can occur:

  • Coma
  • Hypothermia
  • Seizures
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Death

Veterinary care must be sought immediately as a medical treatment for decontamination is usually only effective in the first 20-40 minutes after the alcohol is consumed. The good news is that prognosis can be very good with aggressive treatment, depending on the amount swallowed.

If you believe your pet has ingested alcohol, please seek veterinary emergency help right away. Know where your nearest 24/7 veterinary emergency clinic is located and keep the phone number handy. You may also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

This St. Patrick’s Day, kissing the Blarney Stone may not be practical for everyone. But kissing your pet is! Guardian HEALS wishes you a safe and happy celebration and may the luck of the Irish rise up to meet you.

Guardian HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help to pay for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email

Alyne and Miyuki – Another HEALS Success Story!

Miyuki is a seven-month-old Pomeranian that means the absolute world to her mom, Alyne. Unfortunately, Miyuki broke her femur while playing at home recently. The break was so severe that surgery was required to ensure a full recovery. With veterinary bills and the cost of surgery mounting up, the situation wasn’t looking too hopeful for Miyuki. Thankfully, we connected with the two of them and were able to help out with some of the bills.

Miyuki, Alyne’s emotional support animal, is such a young and playful dog, full of energy and love. It means a lot to us to be able to help her get the care she needs to live her life to the fullest.  

We spoke with Alyne and she has reported that the operation went as planned and Miyuki is already at home and back to her normal self. Though the healing process will take some time, Miyuki is expected to make a full recovery, and the two can enjoy each other’s company in the meantime. 

Miyuki and Alyne have a very special bond. Miyuki has helped Alyne through some tough times. In return, Alyne would do anything for her beautiful little pup. We’re humbled to be part of this life-saving process to keep people and pets together longer. We’re incredibly thankful to everyone who has donated to us. Your donations go directly towards helping families just like this one.