Q: I’m confused about antifreeze? Some say it poisonous to pets but the newer antifreeze products are not. What is true?

A: CAUTION: Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol can be deadly to pets. It has a sweet taste that is attractive to animals. But even small amounts can kill your pet or a small child.

Be careful; my dog licked up a little antifreeze a few years ago. We had a visitor with a leaking radiator. Unbeknownst to us, there was antifreeze in the driveway, and our dog enjoyed a quick taste. Thankfully I caught her licking it and was able to treat her right away. It was a terrifying event for her and me.

Because of the sweet taste but deadly toxicity of ethylene glycol, some manufacturers have started putting bitter agents in their antifreeze products to deter the attraction. Hopefully, this will help, but this does not change the toxicity of the product.

It is true there are newer, safer antifreeze products available containing propylene glycol. However, even propylene glycol can be dangerous to your pet. Bottom line all antifreeze is bad for pets. Store safely out the reach of your pet.

If you suspect your pet has ingested even a slight amount of antifreeze, get them to a veterinarian right away. IT IS AN EMERGENCY!

Q: When is it too cold for my pet to be outside?

A: This is a good question especially after the recent cold spell we had in January. The answer depends on many variables. But anytime the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit the issue becomes more pressing.

The overall health of the pet, the pet’s coat type and of course the temperature are all variables to consider when taking your pet outside in cold temperatures. To me, if I am cold with my coat on, my pet is probably cold too.

If you have an outdoor pet, provide shelter, unfrozen food and water and by all means bring them inside when it gets extremely cold.
One more thing, keep your pet away from frozen bodies of water, ponds, lakes, streams etc.

Q: This winter my dog’s nose turned from black to a little pink, should I be worried?

A: There are several reasons a dog’s nose may turn a little pink. De-pigmentation or loss of pigment is usually harmless. It typically occurs in the winter and is called “snow nose”. We are not exactly sure, but experts believe it is due to the breakdown of tyrosinase – a temperature-sensitive enzyme responsible for producing melanin. Melanin is what is responsible for our skin, hair, and eye color. Some breeds are more prone to snow nose than others such as Bernese Mountain Dog, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Husky, and Shepherd.

Other things such as old age, allergies, injuries, and infection can cause changes in the color of the nose. If it is weather related, the nose will usually become darker in the summer. If you are unsure, call your veterinarian.

Q: My kids like to give our kitten a little milk. She loves it and quickly laps it up, but I’ve heard milk isn’t suitable for cats. Is that true?

A: After a cat has weaned at 4-8 weeks they no longer need milk. Your cat may love milk but your carpet will not. Cow’s milk can cause diarrhea in cats. Cow’s milk has a different nutritional makeup than cat’s milk, one that’s hard for felines of any age to digest. I’d skip the serving of milk and if the kids keep feeding the cat milk assign them to carpet cleaning duty!

If you have any questions please give us a call. 937-748-1378.

Gary Beall DVM
Gary “Chip” Beall, Senior Veterinary Student at OSU
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