Prevention & First Aid for Inhaled Poisons | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

Prevention & First Aid for Inhaled Poisons

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
1 year ago

Think about the last time you and your dog walked out of your front door to get the mail. Depending on the time of day, you may have noticed the smell of freshly cut grass and the welcoming scent of a rose bush planted near the mailbox. While that is probably the end of your sensory journey, your dog has likely been enjoying a virtual cornucopia of good sniffs ever since he crossed the threshold. 

Continuing to the mailbox, the sweet aroma of the rose was probably of less interest than the beetle who had recently crawled across its leaf.  As for those letters you pulled out of the box, well your dog could detect everyone who grabbed hold on their journey to you, and likely could tell you what the human who licked the envelope had for dinner!

A goofy tale maybe, but it demonstrates the difference between human and canine noses.

It is said that although we rarely detect the smell of sugar in our morning coffee, a dog can detect a spoonful of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool of water! Because of that, toxic fumes can be much more deadly to our canine and feline pals.

Inhaled Poisons

Inhaled poisons can include aerosol sprays, carbon monoxide, gases, and other fumes inhaled into your pet’s lungs.

Bleaches, detergents, and disinfectants are the most likely household chemicals to cause a problem, so be hyper-vigilant and keep pets away from these chemicals by securing them before, during, and after cleaning time. Pool/spa chemicals are also common causes of inhalation poisonings. Keep these products safely contained as well.  

Be sure to get all pets out of the home, for at least 24 hours, when any pest control is used, even if it says “safe” or “pet friendly.”  Ask for a guarantee in writing as due diligence. If a company won’t put it in writing, it may not be as safe as they claim.  Also important to note is that “Animal Safe” does not necessarily mean safe for ALL species!

If your pet inhales toxic fumes, assume that his airways are inflamed. Most inhaled poisons will cause difficulty breathing. However, below are additional signs and symptoms to watch your pet for:

 Signs & Symptoms of Inhaled Poisons in Pets

  • Breathing difficulty or distress
  • Sneezing, coughing, irritated or runny eyes
  • Excessive salivation or vomiting
  • Twitching or seizures
  • Collapse

What to do

If you believe your pet has been in contact with poisonous materials consider taking the following steps:

  1. Move the ailing pet to a well-ventilated area and monitor his breathing. Count the inhalations and exhalations to determine if they are in the normal range (10-30 breaths per minute for medium to large dogs; 20-40 bpm for small dogs and cats) and/or labored.  Do not return your pets to the house or contaminated room until it is well aired out!
  2. Begin rescue breathing should the pet go into pulmonary arrest by holding the mouth closed and breathing into the nostrils every 2-3 seconds; smaller, quicker puff breaths for puppies and kittens.
  3. If there is no pulse, begin CPR and get to a veterinary for help at once. If the pet stops breathing, the heart will stop as well if he doesn’t resume spontaneous inhalations.

Don’t be caught unprepared when your pet needs you the most.

Pets can also be poisoned by toxins they ingest, toxins they absorb through their paw pads, nose or skin, and toxins that are injected under the skin (i.e. insect stings). Supervise your pet, keep the scene safe, and know what to do in case your pet becomes poisoned. Consider learning Pet First Aid, just in case the worst happens.

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses can happen to all pets, even while under strict supervision. PetFirst Pet Insurancecan help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1  has cat and dog insurance policies2 to fit every budget. 

Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today.

1Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”) is the insurance carrier for this product. IAIC, a Delaware insurance company, is headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC to offer and administer pet insurance policies. This entity was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an assumed name and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other assumed names or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2Provided all terms of the policy are met. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

Denise Fleck is the Pet Safety Crusader™ having personally taught more than 20,000 humans to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better.  Her mission is to help YOU make a difference in the life of an animal through Pet First-Aid, Senior Pet Care and Disaster Preparedness classes, her “The Pet Safety Bible,” and the dozen other books she has penned.  Learn more at

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