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Kent pet owners warned of the dangers of carbon monoxide


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Pet owners are being warned of the dangers of carbon monoxide hurting their animals.

Research by an online heating supplier revealed that nine out of 10 people don’t think their pet will be affected by the silent killer, but that is not the case. Here is how you can prevent a fatality.

Pets can be harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Picture: BestHeating
Pets can be harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Picture: BestHeating

Unfortunately many people don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in their homes.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas, which people can’t see, smell, hear or taste.

Known as the silent killer, pets are also affected by it, however, they can also help identify potential dangers.

For example, cats might refuse to come into the house and dogs may have a sore mouth and appear irritable.

There are around 60 deaths in England and Wales every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands are hospitalised.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Picture: BestHeating
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Picture: BestHeating

During the pandemic, an estimated 18% of households purchased a pet to keep them company, meaning that almost three fifths of UK homes now have a furry friend.

With many now returning to offices and leaving pets at home, it is important that pet owners know about the risks and how best to look after them.

The research, by BestHeating, found that 30% of Brits don’t have a carbon monoxide detector at home and more than a quarter don’t know the symptoms, often mistaking it for flu or food poisoning.

The main symptoms of carbon monoxide in pets are:

  • Lethargy or weakness
The most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning in both people and pets is fatigue. Picture: BestHeating
The most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning in both people and pets is fatigue. Picture: BestHeating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Red gums
There are several appliances in the home that can cause a leak including boilers, furnaces, fires, heaters, gas powered tumble dryers, gas hobs, wood stoves and charcoal grills
There are several appliances in the home that can cause a leak including boilers, furnaces, fires, heaters, gas powered tumble dryers, gas hobs, wood stoves and charcoal grills

The most common symptom in both people and pets is fatigue and if this is low level poisoning, it can be easily treated by spending time outside getting fresh air.

Animals are affected in the same way as humans, by carbon monoxide being breathed in and absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs.

And as they are smaller than humans, they are affected a lot quicker and sometimes more severely.

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels and can be caused by open fires, cookers, boilers, burning fuel in unventilated spaces, BBQs, blocked flues and chimneys.

Worryingly, over half of people in the UK don’t know all these sources of carbon monoxide poisoning, only one in 10 believe BBQ’s can be a source and just 18% know open fires can also be a cause.

As dogs are smaller than humans, they are affected a lot quicker and sometimes more severely. Picture: Canva
As dogs are smaller than humans, they are affected a lot quicker and sometimes more severely. Picture: Canva

There are several appliances in the home that can cause a leak including boilers, furnaces, fires, heaters, gas powered tumble dryers, gas hobs, wood stoves and charcoal grills.

BestHeating has provided some advice to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home
  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year by a qualified chimney sweep
  • Never use gas stoves or burners to heat your tent
Animals are affected in the same way as humans, by carbon monoxide being breathed in and absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs
Animals are affected in the same way as humans, by carbon monoxide being breathed in and absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs
  • Never cook inside a tent or an enclosed camping space
  • Have your central heating inspected at least once a year

John Lawless, from BestHeating, said: “It’s worrying that so many of us don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in our homes as Brits are potentially putting their pet’s life at risk alongside their own.

“We’re urging people to make themselves more aware of carbon monoxide symptoms and anyone without a detector should purchase one or see if their gas supplier will provide a free one.”

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning immediately leave the affected area and call a gas emergency on 0800 111 999.

Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home to prevent fatalities. Picture: Pixabay
Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home to prevent fatalities. Picture: Pixabay

If you feel very unwell seek urgent medical advice by calling 111 or take your pet to the vets.

For more information on how pets can be affected by carbon monoxide click here.

To read more about Kent’s furry, flying and finned friends, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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