Beware Of These Garage Hazards For Pets
Garages contain a ton of chemicals that are dangerous to your pets. Some are flammable, others are corrosive, and most are extremely toxic to your dog or cat. While some of these chemicals are found in, around, or dripping from cars, others are used for do-it-yourself projects and are commonly stored in garages. Here is an overview of the most dangerous chemicals commonly found in garages. If you believe your pet has ingested any of these chemicals, contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Antifreeze Antifreeze is extremely dangerous to pets because of its sweet smell and taste. This attracts the pet, and they will readily consume it. Because of this, antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets. The toxin in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, a chemical also found in brake fluid. It doesn’t take much antifreeze consumption to cause fatal damage to your pet’s system, and poisoning affects the brain, liver, and kidneys. If you think your pet has swallowed this, DO NOT induce vomiting unless instructed by your vet or a poison control center professional. Sometimes the chemical can actually cause more damage coming up than going down. Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately for further instructions. When it comes to treatment, time is of the essence! Minutes count, and if antifreeze poisoning is caught later than a few hours, there’s a high likelihood of permanent kidney damage that will require lifelong intensive home care, if your pet survives. Petroleum products Pets have very severe reactions to petroleum products. Clinically, this condition is known as petroleum hydrocarbon toxicosis. That’s a mouthful, but what you really need to know is which products pose a danger to your pet: n Gas, diesel, or other fuels n Solvents (paint thinner) n Lubricants (motor oil) n Waxes n Some pesticides n Some paints Leaks and spills are the most common reasons pets get exposed to these products, and once again it does not take much to affect your dogs and cats. Even contact with skin or breathing vapors can be enough to do some damage. If your pet inhales products like turpentine or benzene they can get chemical pneumonitis — a condition in which the chemical coats the lungs, causes inflammation, and results in difficulty breathing. As with antifreeze, if your pet has swallowed a petroleum product, absolutely DO NOT induce vomiting; this could actually cause your pet to breathe some of it in and develop aspiration pneumonia. The best thing you can do is rush your pet to your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Carbon monoxide If you start your car and leave it idling in your garage, make sure your dog or cat is not in the garage exposed to the fumes. Pets are far more sensitive to carbon monoxide poisoning than we are. Watch for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include red gums, mucous membranes around the eyes, twitching muscles, weakness, fever, and wobbly legs. If your pet does inhale an excessive amount of fumes by accident, get him or her to fresh air immediately. If he or she passes out or is acting strangely, get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Another danger is that if you or a family member does not realize that the dog or cat is in the garage and accidentally injures or kills them when moving the car. Cats are attracted to warm motors when it is cold, and an excited dog who wants to go along for a ride can quickly run under a tire. Battery acid It is never a good idea to leave discarded car batteries lying around for your pet, you, or the environment. While most pets are smart enough not to lap up battery acid, if your dog or cat steps in it, their first impulse will be to clean it off. This is not a good scenario — battery acid is highly corrosive and battery acid poisoning is very, very severe. Or in the case with a puppy like Swayze, he would likely chew on a battery to further investigate this unfamiliar object. Large breeds can easily swallow them. As with other chemicals, it is important to NOT induce vomiting because it can cause much more damage coming back up. You should make sure to rush your pet to the veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately if you suspect your pet has been burned by battery acid or consumed any. Prevention If you’re serious about the health and safety of your pet, it is important to use common sense and be diligent about what is going on in your garage. You should frequently make sure that your car isn’t leaking fluids and make sure never to leave old car batteries lying around. Store petroleum-based products out of reach of your pet. If there is a spill or leak, you should act quickly to address it and check on your pet to make sure he or she hasn’t gotten into anything toxic. Keep products safely secured and away from your pets, and do not allow your pets to have unsupervised access to such areas. For more tips on garage safety and safe alternatives to antifreeze and petroleum-based products, talk to your veterinarian. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets. Your veterinarian and their staff is always willing to provide information and answer any questions you may have. Cocoa mulch also contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch, sold in garden supply stores, has a chocolate scent that is appealing to some animals. Be careful and stay safe. Dog bless. Judy Endo writes about pets. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.