With cold weather, comes many dangers for our pets. One such danger that is all too common during winter is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that attaches itself to the hemoglobin in your pet‘s blood. When this occurs, the cells do not get the oxygen they need, which can result in serious illnesses and even death.
Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Dogs and Cats
Now, you may be wondering just how your pet can become exposed to carbon monoxide. The most common way that your dog or cat may become exposed to this harmful gas is if you keep your pet in your garage. Vehicle exhaust, which contains carbon monoxide, can quickly build up inside closed garages and poison your pet.
However, there are many other things that can produce carbon monoxide such as furnaces or kerosene heaters that have not been vented properly. Clogged chimneys and blocked vents can produce this deadly gas as well. Finally, while bonfires are quite popular during the winter, excessive smoke can produce carbon monoxide.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Cats and Dogs
It is essential to note that carbon monoxide poisoning can occur in humans as well as pets. As such, if you are experiencing unexplained headaches and severe drowsiness, you will want to take action. Symptoms that your pet may display if it has carbon monoxide poisoning are as follows:
- Severe Drowsiness
- Generalized Weakness
- Difficulty Breathing
- Bright Red Gums
- Nausea and Vomiting (vomiting in dogs, vomiting in cats)
Treatments for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to carbon monoxide, take it outside to an area where it can breathe in fresh air. Next, you will want to take your dog or cat to a veterinarian for treatment. Typical treatments include 100 percent oxygen administration and IV fluid therapy.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
First of all, every home should have several carbon monoxide detectors installed on each floor of the house and in the garage. Battery-operated detectors are best in case of electrical outages. Make sure you check your detectors once a week to ensure that they are working properly.
Other things you can do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in dogs and cats include cleaning heating vents regularly, having your chimney serviced regularly and keeping pets out of your garage. Keeping your fireplace and heaters clean, and providing proper ventilation for furnaces and kerosene heaters will help as well.
Carbon monoxide poisoning, also known as the silent killer, can be deadly if you do not catch it in time. However, when you take the proper steps in preventing carbon monoxide from developing in your home, you can be sure that you, your family and your pets will be safe.