Newly released research from online heating supplier, BestHeating, has revealed that over a quarter of Brits don’t know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and virtually all of those polled didn't realise that it could affect their pets.
According to the research, as many as 96% of Brits don’t think carbon monoxide can affect their pets.
While we’re spending more time at home we’re also getting closer to our pets, with some shelters running out of cats and dogs due to an increase in people wanting a furry friend to share isolation with. Therefore it’s important that new pet owners know about the risks and how best to look after them.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas, which people can’t see, smell, hear or taste. Known as the silent killer, pets can’t detect it either – though some clever cats may not come back into the house if there is a carbon monoxide leak!
Every year in the UK there are around 60 deaths in England and Wales from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands are hospitalised.
The research worryingly found that 26% of Brits don’t know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and often the symptoms are mistaken for the flu or food poisoning.
The main symptoms in pets are:
Loss of consciousness
Weakness or lethargy
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 tend to be 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, and by smoking shisha pipes indoors!
Data shows that 57% don’t know all of the sources of carbon monoxide poisoning, only one in 10 think BBQ’s can be a source and only 18% know open fires can also be a cause.
John Lawless, content marketing manager from BestHeating, says: “It’s worrying that over a quarter of Brits don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in their home as they are potentially putting their pet’s life at risk alongside their own.
“We urge people across the country to purchase a carbon monoxide detector and be aware of the symptoms in both themselves and their pets caused by the poisoning.”
Top tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
1: Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home
2: Have your chimney swept at least once a year by a qualified chimney sweep
3: Never use gas stoves or burners to heat your tent
4: Never cook inside a tent or enclosed camping space
5: Have your central heating inspected at least once a year
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.