garage items

Alternate names

Gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, petroleum distillates, paint thinner, fuel, tiki-torch fluid, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid

Toxicity to pets

Hydrocarbons are liquids that are commonly found in your garage. Examples include liquid fuels such as kerosene, engine oil, tiki-torch fluids, gasoline, diesel fuels, paint solvents, wood stains, wood strippers, liquid lighter fluids, etc. These are often referred to as “petroleum distillates” based on their viscosity (e.g., thickness), carbon chain length, and fat solubility. Hydrocarbons consist of chemicals containing a hydrogen and carbon group as their main constituents. Some of these products are, at times, mixed with antifreeze which can be deadly to dogs and cats following ingestion.

If your dog or cat ingested hydrocarbons, one should never induce vomiting, as it can increase the risk for aspiration pneumonia (e.g., when vomitus is inhaled into the lungs). Clinical signs of hydrocarbon poisoning include vomiting, drooling, increased respiratory rate, coughing, skin irritation, eye irritation, incoordination, lethargy and coma.

Common signs to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Coughing
  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Incoordination
  • Coma

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The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.