Poisoning by Petroleum Products in Dogs

Petroleum products are liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons that are present in certain rock strata and can be extracted and refined to produce fuels including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil; oil.

Petroleum hydrocarbon toxicosis refers to ingestion, inhalation of or skin contact with petroleum, petroleum condensate, gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, crude oil, or other hydrocarbon mixtures. This exposure causes a severe and disease-like reaction in the body of the affected dog. 

Pets are more susceptible to petroluem toxicity through inhalation. When the solvents are breathed into the lungs, it causes a chemical pneumonia (  chemical pneumonitis) which can quite possible be life-threatening. Products that have an aromatic, ring-like chemical structure, such as benzene, are most likely to cause systemic toxicity (throughout the body).

Toxicity caused by petroleum products is based on the thinness and lightness of the product. Due to the ease of absorption, the thin, light products, such as gasoline, are more toxic than the thick, heavy products, such as motor oil.

Dogs may be exposed to petroleum products through exposure to accidental spills. Sometimes, people use petroleum products on the skin of dog to remove something like paint etc.

In petroleum toxicity, inducing vomiting should be strictly avoided since the ingested products may cause more harm coming back through esophagus than they did going down. Also, the dog may inhale toxic substances into lungs which can result in aspiration pneumonia.

Common symptoms associated with petroleum hydrocarbon toxicosis include:

Pet smells like a petroleum product







Difficulty breathing (i.e., choking, coughing, gagging)

Abdominal pain

Blue-purple colored skin/gums

Excessive salivation

Pawing at the muzzle

Champing the jaws


Instability/trouble walking (ataxia)

Tremors and convulsions (rare)

Irregular heartbeat

Respiratory arrest

Loss of consciousness/comatose

Loss of all body functions

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