Why Are Dogs Immune To Tear Gas

This information needs to be prefaced with an explanation that any use of tear gas has the potential to be problematic, overused to the point of injury, and in extreme cases, even fatal. To do this, the gas would need to be used in extremely large amounts for an extended period of time in an enclosed space with little to no airflow in order to have the desired effect. Normal tear gas element deployment, especially outdoors or even indoors in the right concentrations, does not pose any dangers to people or animals.

The lachrymal system of the canine species is very different from the lachrymal system of a human being since the chemicals are intended to effect the lachrymal system. The skin is also severely burned by the chemicals, especially in human areas of excessive sweating like the forehead, armpits, and groin. The different ways that tear gas products may make people feel make them incredibly effective at managing crowds.

Remember that dogs and other animals can become irritated by lachrymators (chemical weapons or tear gas, such as CS and OC), but that each species is affected at a different rate.

Here’s how police canines can function in CS, CN, and OC circumstances. Please be aware that Dr. John Anderson, a veterinarian on my team, who was frequently present when we taught dogs in tear gas conditions, gave this information to me. I’ve worked in CS, CN, and OC environments over the years, and in these contexts I’ve deployed hundreds of teams, if not thousands of teams. Early on, CN was utilized, but it was swiftly replaced by CS gas. Since CN was more poisonous and less efficient than CS gas, it is no longer used. Dr. Anderson was one of the top experts on the subject and a kind man who tragically passed away in a farming accident a number of years ago. Because of the number of officers and dogs we have trained, it appears that we are among the only organizations in the world with this level of expertise in using dogs in tear gas conditions.

1. A dog’s lachrymal system is significantly more effective than a human’s. In my early years, I learned that dogs don’t have a lachrymal system or tear ducts. In fact, even today, a paragraph stating that “CS has less effect on animals due to “under-developed tear-ducts” can be found when searching for CS Gas on Wikipedia. In actuality, dogs’ lachrymal systems cleanse the eye considerably more effectively than humans do. Larger dogs have noticeably larger excretory ducts in terms of diameter. Additionally, compared to humans, dogs have substantially larger lachrymal ducts. For example, the lachrymal gland in a human is typically 20 mm × 12 mm in size, whereas it is typically 152 mm x 138 mm in size in canine species. This enables the canine species to flush the eye of irritants much more effectively. Large adult dogs have lachrymal systems that are nearly 87 times larger than those of humans just in terms of volume. According to Dr. Anderson, a dog’s eyes can flush at least ten times faster than a human’s. However, as I’ve learned more, I think it’s even faster than Dr. Anderson thought it was back then.

2. On a few occasions when the gas was particularly heavy after initial deployment of the gas, I have noticed the dog’s nictitating membrane drawing over its eye during a few indoor deployments of the dogs in a heavy gas environment where I was acting as the decoy (the subject who the dogs would have to search for using their olfactory abilities and then bite a protective sleeve during training). If the lacrimal system is unable to flush the eyes rapidly enough to counteract the irritating effects of the tear gas, this serves as a supplementary defense for the dog.

3. Unlike humans, canines do not develop their apocrine system. The only sweat glands they have are on their paw pads and around their noses, while the rest of their bodies are covered in hair. As a result, only a small portion of the dog’s body would be impacted in a similar way to how it would impact a human. The dog just wouldn’t experience the same level of burning in the groin or on the skin as a human would.

4. In truth, CS gas is a very fine acidic powder with acidic PH values rather than a gas. A solution created from the acidic powder is then sprayed as an aerosol or burned out of grenades to release it. Human skin is naturally acidic, making it sensitive to the burning sensation that results when it comes into contact with products that have an acidic pH level. However, the canine species’ body has a slightly alkaline PH value of 7.5. As a result, the dog’s inherent chemical makeup naturally lowers the effectiveness of the irritant, further protecting it.

Pets would probably not be as immune to the irritant, and even while they wouldn’t experience much pain, they would undoubtedly be able to sense the product’s effects. Police and other working dogs, on the other hand, are typically bred and raised and have a natural predisposition for courage, strength, and a high threshold for tolerance; as a result, they hardly ever show any problems when working in even greater levels of CS or OC settings. Since it is intended to be sprayed directly into the attacking animal’s face, is typically stronger concentration, and produces a fast and instant burn that the animal doesn’t understand and therefore gets confused by, pepper spray (OC), which is frequently sold as a dog or even a bear spray deterrent, is quite effective on most dogs and animals. This defeats the attack in most cases.

However, we have also shown how those products can be sprayed right above the eyes during one of our conferences, literally soaking the dog’s forehead with product while he was on the bite of a decoy and fighting the man. Despite having copious amounts of OC on his face, the dog didn’t give up the fight. The dog was then deployed to hunt for and attempt to discover a second suspect who the dog needed to track using his olfactory abilities as soon as we called off the bite. We saw the dog had no trouble locating the second suspect or apprehending him.

This is not something we regularly do, but it was a test done with care to prevent the dog from being sprayed directly in the eyes, as that could cause damage to the dog’s eyes from the stream of the product, while our vet team was there. The dog was over-saturated, yet there were no negative effects, and he was still able to complete the exercise.

The visual impact of Smoke on the dogs appears to be more of a problem than the CS/OC environment. When they see the smoke, the dogs frequently pause. When the smoke is dense, the dogs will occasionally stop and refuse to enter it because, to some of them, it appears to be a wall. Other dogs don’t experience any problems, and it seems that some of the dogs have a perception problem.

HIGHLY IMPORTANT Smoke (HC) from smoke grenades (HC) is made from a substance that is quite poisonous and carcinogenic; it is not the smoke from CS canisters. Moreover, it replaces oxygen.

Being in a small space can lead to issues with the dogs. Rarely, if ever, are smoke canisters used to provide a screen for police entry teams, despite the fact that they quickly deplete the oxygen in a closed space. As a result, we do not utilize HC Smoke products unless we are in an open, well-ventilated location and the exposure is very limited while teaching dogs to overcome the visual impacts of the smoke emitted by CS canisters. Instead, we use theatrical smoke machines or the actual CS gas canisters.

I have trained thousands of dogs all over the world, and during training I have done with police and military agencies, I have placed well over a thousand canines through CS and OC settings. Personally, I have worked a lot of dogs in CS or OC-filled buildings and spaces. When used appropriately, police dogs do not have any negative consequences from working in the gas. In fact, they remain fully functioning and are able to aggressively search for and find suspects who are hiding in a tear gas atmosphere using their olfactory abilities.

One fascinating side point. I have discovered that a person can start to develop an immunity to the effects of the gas over time and with consistent training in a gas environment. I’ve discovered that it doesn’t affect me as negatively as it did when I initially trained there, and I assume that consistent training in a CS or OC environment has a similar effect on dogs. I’m not immune by any means, but I do notice that the burn is less severe and that I can stay in the atmosphere for longer periods of time without feeling too uncomfortable. I worked for over four hours in a cramped space filled with CS gas during one of my more recent training conferences, taking bites from 60 dogs during that time, and I was fairly at ease. I could never have accomplished that when I first started my training many years ago.

Can you resist tearing gas?

Corson-Stoughton Gas, also referred to as CS gas or tear gas, is a non-lethal irritant that is frequently used to subdue riots during times of civil disturbance. The gas “burns the nose, mouth, and other mucous membranes, resulting in severe coughing, partial incapacitation, and a good deal of misery.”

Throughout their careers, troops often have to suffer two trips to the CS chamber—once during initial training and once more at a later time. It gets everywhere and is harsh, coarse, and coarse, much like sand. But it hurts like a motherf*cker, unlike sand.

Surprisingly, the drill sergeant or the chamber operator will breathe in the gas like it’s nothing because they are equipped to manage it. How?

A small percentage of the world’s population—between 2 and 5 percent, according to estimates—is innately resistant to CS gas, with a preponderance of East Asian ancestry. A combination of genetics and exposure to a gas’s active constituent aid in tolerance development.

Drill sergeants and CS chamber operators are continuously exposed to the gas over an extended length of time. Yes, it hurts the first time. It hurts a little less the second time, and even less the third. Simply accepting the suck for a sufficient amount of time will do.

You can still develop tolerance at home even if you are not an East Asian drill sergeant. Capsaicin is the substance that creates the “burn.” It is the same molecule that is present in chili peppers. This is the origin of the term “pepper spray.”

We don’t advise you to go home and squirt Sriracha in your face, though. People have asserted that when compared to those who avoid spicy foods, those who consume a diet high in spicy foods have milder exposures to CS gas and pepper spray. However, there is no official study to support this claim.

What To Do For a Dog That Has Been Pepper Sprayed

Many people carry pepper spray with them as a form of self-defense. The majority of people believe they run the chance of encountering a human attacker. However, there are also runners, mailmen, meter readers, and other individuals who routinely come into contact with stray dogs and carry pepper spray for their own safety. A single dose of pepper spray will render both canine and human attackers helpless! Unfortunately, you will have to worry about looking after your pet after the incident if they get sprayed.

In the event that your dog has been pepper-sprayed, they are probably in a great deal of pain. Significant searing pains are felt in the eyes, nose, and mucous membranes after using pepper spray. The consequences of this non-lethal weapon are the same for humans and dogs. The symptoms will last for approximately 45 minutes in your dog.

Signs That Your Dog Has Been Sprayed With Pepper Spray

A dog who has been pepper-sprayed will be clearly uncomfortable. He likely received a pepper spray shot directly to the face. He probably won’t be able to open his eyes without squinting. He’ll likely be attempting to lick the irritation off of his face as much as he can. Because of the agony and discomfort, your dog will probably be weeping and whining and may not allow you to get closely enough to provide immediate assistance.

How To Help Your Dog

Giving your dog quick relief after being pepper sprayed is challenging. Try to use as much water as you can to rinse his mouth, nose, and eyes. It is challenging to do this for a distressed pet, but you can frequently mitigate the effects of the pepper spray by using a hose. As long as your pet will tolerate it, keep flushing.

Does My Dog Need Veterinary Care?

You might not need to take your dog right away to the vet if you can instantly flush the affected regions (eyes, nose, and mouth) and ease the discomfort. However, if your dog’s condition does not improve after a few minutes of flushing, you might wish to see an emergency vet clinic. Considering that the effects of pepper spray linger for roughly 45 minutes, assess whether your pet is recovering sufficiently promptly. The veterinarian might be able to provide you with a topical treatment to hasten the effects of the pepper spray burns on your dog’s eyes. However, other than cleaning the afflicted regions and giving it some time, there isn’t a specific drug or treatment that will cure the effects of pepper spray more quickly.

Effects Are Temporary

Although the effects of pepper spray are only momentary and shouldn’t have a lasting negative impact on your dog, the impacts of these chemicals are severe. To stop your dog from ever approaching a stranger and perhaps coming into contact with pepper spray, it is strongly advised that you keep your dog under close supervision, either in a fenced-in yard or on a leash.