As a real estate broker in Woburn, I am often warning my clients about the dangers of lead paint in many of the Woburn homes and especially how it is most dangerous for children under the age of 6. However, today I watched my dog Louie lick one of the painted doors in my house and I started thinking about whether or not lead paint affects our pets. In addition to licking the door, Louie can often be found chewing anything he can fit in his mouth. If anything, pets might be more susceptible to lead poisoning because of their curious palate and the way dust gets trapped in their furry bodies. This is concerning to me because my two dogs Eddy and Louie are my "children" and even worse, Louie is under the age of 6 :)
A quick search on the Internet revealed lots of valuable information that is worth sharing. A site that was especially helpful was http://www.peteducation.com/
According to http://www.peteducation.com/, pets can get lead poisoning by ingesting lead-based paint chips or dust during the remodeling of older homes and also when they eat items that contain lead such as toys, drapery weights, fishing weights, lead shot, and tile. Some types of insulation can also cause lead poisoning if ingested. Water from lead pipes can carry lead with it, as can water served in improperly glazed ceramic bowls.Usually, the symptoms are observed after the dog ingests enough lead over a short period of time, such as licking lead-based paint dust from the haircoat over a day or two. However, low amounts eaten over a longer time can also build up in the body. Lead affects many body organs especially the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the nervous system. Symptoms include lack of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation then diarrhea, chomping of jaws, blindness, seizures, muscle spasms, behavior changes, circling, and incoordination. Read more at http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2105&aid=1522
While its important to protect our children from lead paint, don't forget about your pets. They are just as likely to get lead poisoning especially the ones that like to chew on everything like Louie!