Even with the emergence of multiple renewable energy sources, completely doing away with petroleum products is highly unlikely. We still use liquid petroleum products such as gasoline, kerosene, diesel, engine oil, paint solvent, and lighter fluids daily. This often means you have some storage or remnants of these utility fuels around your home. If you have a pet, keeping your fuel out of reach is crucial. These chemicals are highly volatile, and your pet will be at risk of gasoline poisoning from ingesting or inhaling them. 

How Dangerous is Gasoline Poisoning? 

Gasoline comprises aromatic compounds like benzene, toluene, and xylene. A dog or cat can encounter this substance by digging their paws or snout into open containers. Furthermore, gasoline is easily vaporized, so your pet can be poisoned from inhaling it alone. They could also come across spilled or leaked fuel on the ground. Your pet may lick or smell it and ingest it that way. 

If an animal has skin or eye contact with gasoline, redness and irritation may occur.  Large exposures to the skin may be painful as well.  Ingesting gasoline may cause stomach upset and aspiration to develop, particularly if the pet does vomit. Aspiration pneumonia can be potentially life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary care if any coughing or breathing difficulties arise.  Inhaling gasoline fumes may cause the most significant symptoms with severe depression, difficulty walking and other potential neurologic signs. 

Symptoms of Gasoline Poisoning 

The symptoms of gasoline poisoning are not always immediate, so it is important that you pay attention to your pet and keep them away from gasoline and other petroleum products. If your pet were to ingest a lethal quantity of gasoline, immediate symptoms you may notice include the following: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Drooling 
  • Skin irritation 
  • Eye irritation 
  • Difficult breathing 
  • Confusion and instability 
  • Diarrhea 

Treating Gasoline Poisoning 

Because gasoline is an oil product, inducing vomiting is not a viable treatment, as it could result in aspirational pneumonia. Treatment of gasoline poisoning typically includes any or a combination of the following: 

  • Skin or eye decontamination: Irrigating the areas to remove the gasoline will help to minimize inhalation of fumes and damage to the skin or eye tissue. 
  • Oxygen Therapy: If a pet has inhaled gasoline and has a respiratory condition, they may need to be placed on oxygen for adequate ventilation and recovery. 

Your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 should be your first points of contact if your pet has a gasoline poisoning emergency. It is vital to get your pet to an animal hospital or vet clinic as soon as possible if they have ingested gasoline or other harmful petroleum products.