Is RV Antifreeze Toxic to Animals?

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It might not have been until your dog licked RV antifreeze before you thought to ask: Is RV antifreeze toxic to animals? Or, is pet-safe antifreeze is available? Fortunately, the manufacturers of these products are way ahead of you.

Is RV antifreeze toxic to animals? RV antifreeze made from Propylene Glycol is designed to be non-toxic. Despite this, RV antifreeze can be unsafe or deadly to dogs, cats, birds, poultry, and other animals in sufficient quantities. Cats are more vulnerable to it than dogs, but both are at risk from even a spoonful of the sweet liquid on the ground or sticking to their paws and eagerly licked up. RV antifreeze made from Ethylene Glycol should be avoided at all costs.

Read Also: Is RV Antifreeze Toxic to Plants or Grass?

Read on to learn more about how toxic RV antifreeze can be to pets and ways to avoid your dog, cat, birds, livestock, or other animals getting near it.

Is RV Antifreeze Harmful to Animals?

Automotive antifreeze is far more toxic than RV antifreeze [affiliate link]. With auto antifreeze, it’s not designed to be used in active water plumbing systems. But is RV antifreeze toxic?

Pet owners should know that when adding antifreeze to any type of vehicle, they should lock their pets away safely, clean up thoroughly, and look for any leakage or spillage too.

Antifreeze with its usually pink appearance and sweet taste is an attractive thing to a ball of fur like your active cat or curious dog. They don’t know how dangerous it can be. You must be the responsible pet parent here.

Is RV Antifreeze Toxic to Animals

What is RV Antifreeze Made Of?

RV antifreeze Propylene Glycol based [affiliate link] is best for animals. It is by far the least non toxic RV antifreeze available currently.

Camco RV Antifreeze Concentrate

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This compares to Ethylene Glycol based, which is toxic to pets including dogs and cats.

We cover these points in more detail below.

Read Also: Does RV Antifreeze Freeze?

Is Propylene Glycol Safe for Animals?

Cats are far more vulnerable to Propylene Glycol than dogs are.

Why is this?

Is Propylene Glycol Toxic to Cats?

Propylene glycol can be responsible for subsequent growth abnormalities in their red blood cells. Previously, wet cat food often contained over 5 percent (and as much as double that) of propylene glycol. However, now the FDA strictly prohibits the inclusion of Propylene Glycol in cat food for safety reasons.

It’s important to bear in mind that even with a small percentage of the synthetic substance in foods, it was enough to cause health issues in felines.

Thinking about RV antifreeze, a spoonful of full-strength antifreeze even when it’s supposed to be non-toxic is going to be poisonous to our little furry friends. Because cats are smaller, even a spoonful of liquid on the ground or licked up from an open container is enough to cause severe health issues for them.


RV antifreeze leads cats to display drunken behavior, fever, or discolored skin, usually, these are the bad side effects. While the toxicity is relatively low with Propylene Glycol, Ethylene Glycol is far more toxic. This is another reason to only use Propylene Glycol RV antifreeze, and never other types.

Is Propylene Glycol Toxic to Dogs?

When it comes to RV antifreeze and dogs, they usually have a substantially larger body mass compared to cats. And different internal systems too. Nevertheless, dog licked antifreeze is worrisome. Thankfully, Propylene Glycol is considerably less toxic for pooches. The same deformation effect in cats isn’t true with dogs based on FDA findings.

With that said, while dog food may contain 5-10 percent of Propylene Glycol and not be toxic for them, that’s in a diluted form mixed with other food matter. Should a dog lick up some concentrated Propylene Glycol – even 1 to 1.5 teaspoons full – that can be enough to begin to cause issues. The non-diluted liquid is far more concentrated than Propylene Glycol found in dog food or medicine prescribed for dogs.

As to RV antifreeze and dogs, the K9 side effects may include drunken behavior, panting, disorientation, tremors, or appearing poorly.

SPLASH 619526 RV/Marine Antifreeze – 1 gallon (Pink)

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Is Ethylene Glycol Safe for Animals?

Ethylene Glycol is far more toxic for animals compared to Propylene Glycol. The difference is night and day.

It can be deadly to dogs, cats, and other animals because of how it metabolizes inside their bodies once consumed. This is different from how propylene glycol responds which is closer to when digesting citric acid which is unpleasant but usually not deadly. Indeed, Ethylene Glycol poisoning cats is not uncommon. It’s also possible to accidentally poison birds with antifreeze, so it shouldn’t be left out in the open or on surfaces.

For pet owners, it’s critically important to not use any RV antifreeze that is made using Ethylene Glycol. Even if consumed in exceedingly small amounts, it causes upset to your pet and worse.

What Should You Do If Your Pet Has Consumed RV Antifreeze?

Seek immediate assistance from a qualified veterinary surgery. Do not hesitate.

They will have access to medicine and other options to remedy the situation in time.

Their solutions are not available over the counter which is why an emergency appointment should be made.

Bring the bottle of antifreeze with you, so the vet can inspect the ingredients and offer the most appropriate treatment plan for your beloved pet.

Other Information

To learn more about RV antifreeze, our primer, “What is RV Antifreeze?” will fill in the blanks.

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