Although renewable energy sources are becoming more and more available, it is unlikely that we will stay completely away from petroleum products. Items such as gasoline, kerosene, diesel, engine oil, paint solvent, and lighter fluid are all derived from petroleum and must be stored in a secure place to keep others safe. If you have pets in your home, it is especially important to keep these volatile chemicals away from them. Pets do not know that it is harmful and can be easily poisoned if they inhale or ingest these products.
The Risk of Gasoline Poisoning in Pets
Gasoline is composed of hazardous compounds such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. Pets may contact gasoline by licking or sniffing open containers. Gasoline can be easily vaporized, and your pet can be poisoned by simply inhaling it. Furthermore, pets can ingest gasoline spilled when used in equipment such as lawn mowers, edge trimmers and snow blowers.
If a pet encounters gasoline through their skin or eyes, they may experience redness and irritation. In addition, large exposures to the skin can be very painful. If gasoline is ingested, it may cause stomach upset and aspiration pneumonia, which can be potentially life-threatening. Respiratory difficulties and coughing may occur and require immediate veterinary care. Inhalation of gasoline fumes can cause severe depression, difficulty walking, and other neurologic symptoms.
Symptoms of Gasoline Poisoning
It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of gasoline poisoning, as they may not always be immediate. To avoid gasoline poisoning, keep your pet away from gasoline and other petroleum products. In the event that your pet does ingest a lethal quantity of gasoline, some of the immediate symptoms to look out for include:
- Skin irritation
- Eye irritation
- Difficult breathing
- Confusion and instability
Treatment for Gasoline Poisoning
In the case of a gasoline poisoning emergency, your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 should be the first points of contact. Time is of the essence in these situations, so it is important to get your pet to an animal hospital or veterinary clinic as soon as possible. Given that gasoline is an oil product, inducing vomiting is not a viable treatment as it may lead to aspiration pneumonia. Treatment may include performing skin or eye decontamination by irrigating the affected areas to help remove gasoline and minimize inhalation of fumes and damage to the skin or eye tissue. If a pet has inhaled gasoline and is experiencing a respiratory condition, oxygen therapy may be needed to ensure adequate ventilation and aid in their recovery. It is so important to secure all gasoline products in a safe place and away from pets to avoid any big accidents.