Is Asbestos Dangerous to Dogs?

Posted on: 7 August 2019


Although the use of asbestos was banned in Australia in 2003, it continues to claim the lives of Australians to this day. Sadly, asbestos causes the deaths of 13 Australians every week. But did you know that dogs are also at risk from asbestos exposure?

Asbestos-Related Cancer Develops in Dogs Too

When a human breathes in microscopic asbestos fibres, those fibres could lodge inside their lungs. Although at first there are no symptoms, there is a chance of that person developing asbestos-related lung cancer, or mesothelioma. However, it could take decades for the condition to surface.

Unfortunately, when a dog breathes in asbestos fibres, they too are at risk of developing mesothelioma. But unlike in humans, this condition may surface in dogs within a few years and is usually diagnosed at around the age of eight. If you are worried that your dog may be exposed to asbestos, the following information will help you to keep them safe.

Keep Your Dog Away From Friable Asbestos

Until the late '80s, construction companies constructed residential, commercial and industrial buildings using materials that contained asbestos. Back then, asbestos was usually bonded to another material, such as cement, to create vinyl tiles, ceiling tiles and roofs, among other things.

In its bonded state, asbestos is harmless to humans and dogs. However, over time, due to corrosion, weather damage and general wear and tear, those materials break down, exposing the asbestos fibres within. Asbestos in this state is friable, which means that you can easily crumble it between your fingers or under your boot. Both you and your dog should avoid contact with friable asbestos. Breathing in friable asbestos in the form of dust or tiny fibres puts you and your dog at risk of developing mesothelioma. Therefore, be careful in the following situations.

Asbestos Fly-Tipping Sites Are Dangerous to Your Dog

In Australia and other countries like the UK and the US, asbestos fly-tipping is a problem. For instance, a man was arrested in Sydney for illegally dumping materials containing asbestos.

When walking your dog, make sure you scout the area thoroughly before letting them off the lead. If they encounter an illegal asbestos dump, they could be at risk.

Keep Your Dog Away From Disused Buildings

Old and run-down buildings often contain friable asbestos. This could be in the form of broken tiles, ceiling tiles, or damaged insulation.

Needless to say, you should avoid walking near disused buildings. While you may be safe, your dog might breathe in asbestos fibres while sniffing the ground.

Keep Your Dog Somewhere Else When Carrying Out Renovations

If you plan to renovate your home, keep your dog somewhere else, like with a friend or relative. While the person you hired to renovate your home might be protected with a facemask while working, your dog won't have that luxury.

And remember, if you think your home may contain friable asbestos, that is, asbestos-containing material that is broken or damaged, call a friable asbestos removal professional immediately. Then, remove yourself and your dog from the premises until assistance arrives.