Published: 09:00, 14 October 2021
| Updated: 12:46, 18 October 2021
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.