Signs of carbon monoxide exposure in pets

Here are some signs to watch for, so you can protect your pets:

  • Irritable behaviour: watch for sudden or unusual behaviour such as aggression or anxiety. For example, they may suddenly become more fearful of noises, children and other animals
  • Resisting or refusing to enter the house after being outside
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bright cherry red lips, ears, and gums
  • Unusual intolerance to exercise they usually partake in.

What to do if you suspect your pet has been exposed to carbon monoxide

Get them outside into fresh air immediately and contact a vet

Pets and people exposed to carbon monoxide are treated with oxygen therapy whereby high concentrations of oxygen are given to increase the amount of gas that is breathed out. In some cases, ventilation may be necessary.



To protect yourself and your pets from carbon monoxide poisoning, install a Canadian-certified carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. However, while carbon monoxide detectors are great as a warning signal, preventing exposure to the gas in the first place is most important. To do this:

  • Never leave your pet in an enclosed garage with a vehicle running
  • Schedule regular inspections and servicing of gas appliances or equipment by a licensed gas contractor and certified individual
  • Schedule regular inspections and servicing of appliances or devices fueled by a fossil fuel such as wood, oil or coal, by a qualified individual
  • Never operate portable fuel-burning devices such as camp stoves, barbecues or generators indoors or in closed spaces
  • Store propane cylinders in a well ventilated secure, outdoor area

CO poisoning is preventable. By following these steps you can help keep you and your family safe, including the furry ones!

Learn more about carbon monoxide in the home or look up a Technical Safety BC-licensed gasfitter to do periodic maintenance.