This is a good time of year to become aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in both pets and people. This is especially a concern with smaller dogs and cats. For the safety of your pets, animal guardians should become familiar with the common causes and signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it in the home.
Sources of carbon monoxide poisoning include non-ventilated heaters (furnaces, gas-water, kerosene) automobile exhaust in a closed garage, faulty car or house exhaust systems, smoke inhalation (building fires) and airplane cargo areas. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in pets include depression, weakness, drowsiness, lethargy, incoordination, difficulty breathing, bright red skin or gums, coma and seizures. These symptoms may come on quickly within minutes, so it is important to act very quickly in these situations.
The most important thing is to get the animal away from the source of carbon monoxide and out into fresh air, even in the cold winter months. Clients should also seek veterinary help immediately, as these pets may need emergency stabilization with oxygen therapy, IV fluids and stabilization for shock.
In order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, it is critical to make sure that the home has working carbon monoxide detectors at all times in multiple areas of the home. When carbon monoxide levels rise, the sensors will alert clients with often a loud noise and/or flashing light as to the imminent danger present from increasing carbon monoxide levels.