Husky + natural gas = ?
August 22, 2009 4:12 AM   Subscribe

The gas burner was left on overnight, on a low setting. Should we be concerned about the health of our dog?

A family member left a small gas burner on for approximately 6 hours on a low setting. Upon going downstairs, my mother noted that first floor of the house smelled of gas, but not that strongly.

Our dog sleeps in the kitchen of our open concept house. She's a big, fully-grown Siberian husky. She sleeps in a wire cage that’s about 7 feet from the stovetop. The kitchen is open-concept, so the room is about 40ft by 15ft in total. Although I was not present when our pup woke up, family members described her mood as "playful," and happily played soccer outside and went for a walk.

Despite the comforting behaviour of the husky, my little sister is very concerned about the health of the dog. Thus, what are the possible consequences of this event? What symptoms should we look out for, other than diarrhoea and vomiting? When can we be assured that the dog is in good health?

(Going to a vet will be a problem—the people who are the most concerned about the dog have no say in whether the dog should go to a vet).
posted by kiki_s to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
By burner left "on", do you mean with a flame, or just slowly leaking gas? If it there was a flame, the gas was burned, although with the low setting for such a long time a small amount may have escaped into the room. It takes very little gas to create a detectable odor. If there was enough gas to cause health problems, with a flame present, you would have had an explosion. Either way, if the dog is acting normally I would not be worried. Even if he had some exposure, there's no longterm effect if the gas is cleared out and the dog gets fresh air.
posted by beagle at 4:41 AM on August 22, 2009

Second what Beagle said. If there was going to be a problem, it would have already happened.
posted by Jesco at 5:16 AM on August 22, 2009

Thirding. The smell you smell in gas is a particularly stinky odorant that is there to alert you to a leak. If you have enough gas around to be dangerous from an asphyxiation standpoint, that smell is POWERFUL.

Natural gas is mostly methane, which aside from the asphyxiation risk, isn't going to hurt you.
posted by paanta at 6:16 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

In short: you can be assured your puppy is in good health the moment she's playful and plays soccer and goes for a walk!

Natural gas (ie: methane, mostly) is non toxic and quite lighter than air. It tends to travel upwards. The risks are hypoxia, asphyxiation (because it simply lowers the available oxygen in the air) and of course explosion. Other risks are the fact that methane burning in air removes oxygen from the room and produces carbon dioxide (again, there's a risk of hypoxia and asphyxiation) or, in unfavorable conditions (burning in an oxygen-deprived environment), carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas (which leads to asphyxiation by a different mechanism).

Early warning signs for hypoxia (being in an oxygen-poor environment) are, among others, headache, shortness of breath, drowsiness, fatigue, nausea.

Asphyxiation (absence of oxygen) results in rapid loss of consciousness and death.

"Playful" contradicts the symptoms above, and even if there was the slightest scarcity of oxygen - of which there's plenty in a 600sqft room with a normal ceiling height - playing soccer outside and having a walk fixes that anyway :-)
posted by _dario at 7:03 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Thanks guys--this question was mainly for us to comfort our sister, who was the one who left the burner on and was freaking out something awful.

(I'm kiki_s's sister).
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:09 PM on August 22, 2009

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