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What is Gasoline Poisoning?

Gasoline poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs come in contact with aliphatic hydrocarbons, which are commonly known as butane, methane, propane, and gasoline. Gasoline is a readily-used substance in which dogs can become into contact with, especially if it is not stored properly in the home of the dog or on the property in which the dog resides. Garages, outdoor sheds, workshops, and around vehicles and lawnmowers are places where dogs can come into contact with gasoline. Dogs should also be watched in gas station parking lots, car repair shops, and on unfamiliar grounds.

Whether the gasoline is consumed, inhaled, or has had contact with the skin, illness can occur anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after contact, depending on the mode of contact. Dogs can come into direct contact with this harmful substance either inside or outside of the home where gasoline has not been properly stored or spilled. If a dog is outdoors or in a garage area and steps on a spill or a leak from a container, the dog may lick his paws when grooming and become exposed in that way. Another means of exposure can come from the dog’s curiosity of an open container. If a container of gasoline is open in a room without ventilation, the dog can inhale the fumes. Gasoline is highly vaporized and is a hydrocarbon with a low molecular weight, which makes it quite toxic when inhaled alone, and has a high level of irritant which can immediately affect pulmonary function.

Gasoline poisoning in dogs is a result of the ingestion of gasoline, either by inhalation or by consumption. This type of poisoning in dogs can be caused by many forms of aliphatic hydrocarbons, such as gasoline.

Gasoline Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Gasoline Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms of gasoline poisoning in dogs can occur immediately after ingestion. Specific symptoms and severity depend on the quantity of gasoline consumed. Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Shaking of the head
  • Pawing at the mouth area
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Lesions on the skin
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Confusion
  • Loss of motion
  • Collapse
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat

Types

Gasoline poisoning has a higher chance of occurring if the dog is living in an environment where gasoline is not properly stored or has accidentally leaked. Once taken to the veterinarian, it is very helpful to the treatment of your dog if you suspect or know that your dog came into contact with gasoline. Differential diagnoses of gasoline poisoning can include:

  • Pneumothorax
  • Chylothorax
  • Ingestion of ethanol
  • Ethylene glycol poisoning
  • Trauma
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Causes of Gasoline Poisoning in Dogs

The cause of gasoline poisoning begins with the dog consuming or inhaling gasoline. Once in the dog’s system, gasoline:

  • May aspirate into the lungs
  • May dissolve within the lipids in the fats and remain stored in the tissues that possess high amounts of lipids, including the liver or nervous tissue
  • May be metabolized within the body into a byproduct that is further toxic, such as benzene
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Diagnosis of Gasoline Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has any of the symptoms of gasoline poisoning, or if you suspect your dog has gotten into this chemical, it is important to immediately call your veterinarian. Once you have arrived at the veterinarian’s clinic, he will immediately assess the dog, looking at all clinical signs. He will ask questions about the dog’s history and the probability of him ingesting or inhaling gasoline. The dog may also have gasoline odor around his muzzle area or on his paws

The veterinarian will perform tests on the contents of the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, liver, and lungs and will perform a chemical analysis on the samples to identify any hydrocarbons in the tissues. The identification of the hydrocarbon, or gasoline, in addition to the clinical signs the dog is showing will lead the veterinarian to a definitive diagnosis of gasoline poisoning.

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Treatment of Gasoline Poisoning in Dogs

Once the diagnosis of gasoline toxicity has been made, there are several procedures your veterinarian may conduct to help the dog. Treatment methods include:

Releasing Gas Pressure

The veterinarian will need to insert a tube into the stomach if the dog has any bloat. This procedure is quite risky because the stomach tube may force the contents through the lining of the abdomen and that work is contained within, which is known as the peritoneal cavity. This can result in aspiration. 

Oxygen Therapy

The dog may require oxygen and ventilation if he is suffering from an acute respiratory condition due to the inhalation of gasoline fumes. If this is done, the ventilator will need to be replaced frequently due to the inhalation of volatile hydrocarbons.

Antibiotics

If the dog is suffering from a bacterial infection in the respiratory tract, he may be given an antibiotic of broad-spectrum form. The aspirated contents of the stomach that are mixed with the dangerous hydrocarbons can cause pathogens to enter the lungs. 

Cleansing

If your dog is suffering from gasoline poisoning on the skin, the veterinarian will remove the toxic agent using an abundant amount of cool water and soap or another type of mild cleanser.

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Recovery of Gasoline Poisoning in Dogs

Once your dog has successfully been treated for gasoline toxicity, the prognosis is good. In some serious cases of severe damage to the lungs, prognosis is very guarded and often poor. Recovery depends on your dog and the severity of the poisoning. After being monitored for approximately 24 hours, your veterinarian may allow you to take your dog home. He will give you detailed guidelines on how to care for your dog at home and will alert you as to what to watch for in terms of symptoms and behavioral changes. He will also want to see the dog soon after treatment to be sure he is making progress in healing properly. It is important to remove access to gasoline to prevent this from happening. Be sure to properly store all gasoline, either in a garage where the dog cannot enter, or in another storage facility.

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Gasoline Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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Gasoline Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Chihuahua

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

We think he drink gasoline

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. If he drank gasoline, your dog needs to go to the vet right away. This can cause a lot of issues that need to be dealt with at your vet's office. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 30, 2020

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English Bulldog

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty

I picked up my suv and decided to take the family for a ride. On the ride noticed a massive loss of gas. We hadn’t gone more than 30 miles and I had lost just under a half tank. Well that afternoon my dog started panting heavily, this car is new and we used it often he had never acted this way so we decided to take him home, a few blocks from my house he stopped breathing n rushed him to the hospital where they couldn’t save him. There’s are a lot more mistakes made in these times but to shorten this story I found out the leaky fuel pump that had been replaced earlier that day may have exposed

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm so sorry for your loss. Bulldogs are so sensitive to respiratory problems. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

July 9, 2020

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Jax

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Boxer/pit mix

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13 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

N/A

My dog ate a paper towel that my husband used to wipe gas off the lawn mower about 2 or 3 hours ago. He hasn't shown any symptoms as of now but I'm very worried. He's still running around and playing and I have no clue how much gas was on it. Thank you Melanie

Sept. 15, 2018

Jax's Owner

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Zoey

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Min Pin

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11 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Loss Of Balance
Slow
Wobbling

my 11 month old puppy is acting drunk again. This happened a month ago at a mechanic shop and I took her to the ER to give her an I.V. which she became better by the following day. Last night she was acting "drunk" again. I checked the house and found my bed foam topper destroyed. I took her to the ER where they did Ex-rays, blood work, and made her vomit, and nothing came up. I left there with no answers. They referred me to a neurologist. I now remembered my husband spilled gasoline in the garage 3 WEEKS ago and the smell had lingered in the house. We aired out the house, changed filters, put boxes of baking soda throughout and it still has a slight smell of gas fumes. Could THIS be the problem? or should I see a neurologist?

May 30, 2018

Zoey's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I think it would be a good idea to see that neurologist, as it doesn't seem to me that this behavior would be caused by spilled gasoline fumes, weeks ago. If your veterinarian has recommended a neurologist, they probably have good reason for this, and that would be the best route of action.

May 30, 2018

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Spike

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Beagle

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss

My husband used unleaded gas to kill grass. I noticed that one area is where my dog can reach. All of a sudden my Beagle has dropped weight, extremely thirsty, & is just not himself but is still eating. Could the 2 be connected? He says he did it after they had gone in for the night.

Sept. 16, 2017

Spike's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Symptoms of gasoline poisoning are usually drooling, vomiting, incoordination, dermal irritation and in severe cases death; an increase in thirst and loss of weight while eating normally may be due to a condition like diabetes. It doesn’t seem to be due to gasoline poisoning, but your husband should use caution when killing grass and should use other appropriate products whilst not allowing your dogs in that area. I would have your Veterinarian take a look and have a blood and urine test to see where to go from there. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 16, 2017

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Fletcher

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Shorthair German Pointer Mix

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Doesnt Seem To Have Symptoms.
Maybe A Little Extra Slobber

I ended up accidently spilling gasoline on my dog. The gas was on him for about 5 minutes but then i gave him a bath. I washed the gas off then put his soap on him. During the bath he was whining and kept trying to run away. He seemed like he was in pain or it was irritating him. I put vegetable oil on him and rubbed it in: he calmed down, I then washed him with Gain dish soap. He is a very lazy dog as is and will randomly moan and grunt, so i cannot tell if he is being affected by it. He is eating treats and wet food, Walking fine. While he ate a treat it seemed like he had a lot of slobber, but he is not drooling. What should i do?

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Jack

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German Shepherd Dog

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Drooling
Anorexia
Tail Between Legs
Arched Back When Standing

So last night I came home from school and my 3 year old German Shepherd was acting extremely weird. He was walking around the puddles in the driveway when we pulled in the driveway, but that wasn't the weird part. As soon as we got back in the house he laid right down with his head down and ears back. He didn't seem to want to move at all and when he did stand up his back was arched and his tail was between his legs. He was also drooling so much that there were strings of saliva hanging from his mouth. He also didn't want to eat anything but he did still drink water. My boyfriend suggested that maybe he got into gasoline because he dumped gas into a firepit and hadn't burned it yet. He did this because recently him and one of our other dogs had been getting into the firepit and dragging the trash out all over the yard, so he gathered it all up and was going to burn it, which he didn't do until after I got home. So, I have him some hydrogen peroxide to get him to throw up, but he would not throw up at all. Then when we went to go to bed, I moved the blanket he lays on at night and found a big pile of vomit that smelled just like dog feces, but my boyfriend said he must have done that when he went to pick me up because he hadn't thrown up at all while I was there, and I was with him the whole time because I was worried about how he was acting so I didn't leave him unsupervised. He was perfectly fine again when we got up this morning though, so I am very curious as to what could have been wrong with him.

Gasoline Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500