Natural gas is responsible for 29% of all the energy in the United States and produces more than 30% of its electrical power. The gas is non-toxic, but it is not without its dangers. On average, there are about 17 fatalities per year from natural gas, but is a natural gas installation dangerous for pets?
The Dangers of a Natural Gas Installation for Pets
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of anything that burns gas, such as stoves and water heaters. A blocked chimney is a hazard because it will push carbon monoxide back into the room. Using a gas burner inside a home can also cause carbon monoxide buildup if there is not enough ventilation to dispel it.
Carbon monoxide is dangerous for humans if sufficient levels can build, but pets are more at risk because of their smaller size. You should only use gas burners in an area that is well ventilated to protect yourself and your pets.
The Dangers of Gas leaks
As we mentioned earlier, gas is non-toxic. However, leaks can have dangerous consequences for a couple of reasons. Gas is flammable, and a sufficient buildup can be explosive if exposed to a spark or naked flame. Of course, this scenario is hazardous to pets and humans alike.
Another risk of natural gas is that a leak can displace the breathable air in a confined space and lead to asphyxiation. As with carbon monoxide, pets are more susceptible to asphyxiation due to their smaller size and faster metabolisms.
Gas companies add a sulfur-like additive called mercaptan to give it its distinctive rotten-egg odor, but there could still be a leak even if you haven’t noticed a smell. A hiss like sound near a gas appliance could be a sign of a leak. Plus, pets will be at risk of a gas leak should one occur when you are not at home.
Symptoms of a Natural Gas Leak in Pets
Pets will show symptoms of a natural gas leak before humans will. Take action if you notice any of the following symptoms in your pets:
- Looks unsteady on their feet
- Distressed breathing
- Weak and lethargic
- Seems deaf
- Has seizures or is passed out
If you suspect a gas leak or carbon monoxide poisoning, remove your pets from the residence as quickly as possible, open all windows, evacuate your home, and call the authorities.