During the colder months, you might be stocking up on antifreeze in case you need an emergency supply on an icy morning.

Antifreeze is used to stop the water in cooling systems from freezing inside your car's engine.

But if you have any fluffy pets wandering around, it’s important to keep it away from dogs and cats as it can be very dangerous if they drink it.

Here’s some advice on what to do if your furry companions do consume it and when they should see a vet.

South Wales Argus: Drinking the smallest amount of antifreeze can cause kidney failure in catsDrinking the smallest amount of antifreeze can cause kidney failure in cats (Image: Getty Images)

What to do if your dog consumes antifreeze – how harmful is it?

It only takes a small amount of antifreeze to be harmful to dogs.

The Kennel Club website explains: “Once antifreeze has been consumed, it’s broken down by the body into highly toxic chemicals.

“These chemicals bind to calcium in the body and make crystals that form deposits and cause damage to many different parts of the body, including the lungs, brain and most notably, the kidneys.”

There are some symptoms to look out for if your dog has consumed antifreeze, such as if they become wobbly on their feet, and start dribbling or vomiting.

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The Kennel Club adds: “After around 12 hours, dogs may seem to recover, but from around 2-3 days their kidneys may stop working properly and they may become very tired, be sick, go off their food and they can develop fitting or go into a coma.”

If you think your dog has drank antifreeze, you must contact your vet as soon as possible.

“Do not wait for your dog to become unwell, as delayed treatment may not be as effective,” suggests the Kennel Club.

“Even if your dog drank antifreeze and seems ok it’s important you contact your vet straight away.”

What to do if your cat consumes antifreeze

Similar to dogs, if you are concerned your cat has come into contact with antifreeze or leaked water coolant, you must get them to a vet immediately, reports the RSPCA.

Drinking the smallest amount can also cause kidney failure in cats.

Some of the symptoms owners need to look out for if their feline friend has drank antifreeze, include:

  • Vomiting
  • Seeming depressed/sleepy
  • Appearing drunk and uncoordinated
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Difficulty breathing

The RSPCA comments: “If left untreated, antifreeze poisoning can cause pain, suffering, distress and ultimately death.”