You could walk your dog on the local streets or around the block. Out of nowhere, there is this tear gas smoke cloud, and people are running everywhere. As you try to get away from the discomfort brought by exposure to the gas, you may wonder whether or not your canine friend is immune to it or suffering the same as you.
The True Bit About Teargas
It is a primary tool in the police force, used to weaken and subdue criminals, fugitives, demonstrators, and the like. Tear gas and many other types of gas, for instance, pepper spray have effects on both animals and dogs, only they have more adverse implications on pups.
The symptoms in humans are very similar to the ones observed in dogs upon exposure. They include painful eyes and tearing, respiratory tract irritation, painful nostrils, lungs, mouth, and throat, and frequent sneezing.
In this article, we will pay attention to how much tear gas is harmful to dogs and what causes them to be sensitive to it. We will also look at how best you can help your dog cope with the exposure and overcome its effects.
Teargas Effects On Dogs
The implications on dogs are the same as those experienced by humans. Also identified as a lachrymator agent or CS gas, tear gas is a chemical compound whose typical use is attributed to it being so effective and immediate. If exposed, one experiences severe eye irritation, followed by very watery eyes, which prevents you from seeing clearly.
Furthermore, exposure to teargas puts you at risk of severe eye and respiratory tract pain and skin irritation like swelling and reddening. The extreme case effects include bleeding and blindness.
Other similar gasses are pepper spray and mace. These are mainly carried as protective and defensive measures to keep big predators like wildcats and bears away. They also come in handy if you find yourself with some unwelcome audience, like a thief, stalker, or other assailants.
When one encounters tear gas, it affects the mucous membranes lining the eye, nose, mouth, throat, and lungs. This results in endless crying, sneezing, coughing, and staining the respiratory system. Additionally, it causes eye pain and momentary blindness.
Tear gas in itself is not a gas. It is a product of aerosolized liquid or solid compounds. These compounds are not easy to get out of the eyes or the nose, and they tend to cling more to one’s skin than gas. Due to these properties, it has more adverse effects on your furry friend.
Teargas may not qualify as lethal, but its effects can have lasting properties on dogs exposed to it for a substantial amount of time. Enough of the compound causes your dog’s cornea to scar, and if your pup is exposed for too long, it may experience a permanent loss of visual accuracy.
The gas reacts even more adversely in people and canines with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma or pneumonia. A little exposure is enough to have them hospitalized.
Why Is Tear Gas Harder On Dogs?
Your canine will experience a more harsh reaction than you because of its design and build. A dog’s olfactory lobes are more extensive than a human’s. The lobes’ size gives them a powerful sense of smell. If you’ve been keen on investigative movies or scenes, you will realize that k9 dogs can sniff out drugs and bombs and find missing people or items. We’ve seen canines even tell when a patient has cancer cells.
Besides the massive olfactory lobes to enhance their sense of smell, dogs have the olfactory epithelium, a specially adapted tissue that lines their nasal cavities. This membrane is packed with olfactory neurons, which aid canines in picking up faint smells. The more area the membrane covers, the stronger a dog’s sense of smell.
Seeing that dogs are masters of smell makes them more prone to strong scents and at-risk upon exposure to irritants, such as teargas. In more severe cases, your dog might experience nose bleeding when subjected to too much tear gas.
Signs And Symptoms To Watch Out For
When they detect teargas from a distance, your dog will immediately react differently. It might exhibit behaviors like excessive salivation, whining, gasping, whimpering or pawing at its nose and eyes, and vomiting.
Next, you might see their eyes tear up and a running nose that may even bleed. Some dogs experience seizures or cardiac arrest.
The above reactions are brought about by the acute pain caused by teargas, irritating the mucous glands in the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs. It could also be from the inflammation caused by the gas in your canine’s airway and lungs.
If your dog is exposed to tear gas for a long time, it may cease moving. The tears in their eyes hinder them from seeing ahead, while the pain searing through their body may inhibit regular body coordination and functioning.
What To Do
Be very proactive once your dog has had contact with tear gas. To help reduce the impacts of the exposure:
- If you can, move them away from the polluted area as soon as possible.
- Use clean, cold water to rinse their eyes and face.
- Make sure to provide them with fresh water to drink.
- Treat them for pain over the counter if need be.
- Have your vet on speed dial in case of troubling symptoms.
The answer to whether dogs are immune to teargas is a bold no. They are not, and the implications on your dog can be ten times higher than as seen in humans. This does not mean the effects will be permanent. There is a high chance that your furry friend will fully recover.
As a parent, be aware of your dog’s surroundings to prevent exposure, and if it happens, keep vigilant about the measures to take.
Also, if you live in a teargas-prone environment, keep your dog inside and always have an air filter mask around.
This piece was helpful, I trust.