Many dog owners describe their pets as heroes, but some good pups out there really do have the ability to save human lives. Recent research suggests that some dogs can potentially alert their owners to hidden dangers they never expected, such as carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
A survey of 2,000 pet owners conducted by npower — a UK-based supplier of gas and electricity — revealed that one-third of participants have been alerted to danger by their animals at some point in time. While these hazards include more visible and obvious problems like fires, some smart doggos have also helped during more "silent" moments of peril, such as a CO leak in a home.
"I was very lucky as three years ago one evening, I passed out on the sofa whilst watching television and my seven-year-old Collie named Candy licked me non-stop to wake me up," said 53-year-old dog owner Cathy Jessop. "I was able to get up and went out for fresh air in good time. I later found out that the gas fire was giving off high readings of carbon monoxide, as was the cooker."
Since most dogs are much smaller than us, carbon monoxide tends to affect them before it affects people. Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in pups include vomiting, tiredness, and erratic behavior. It's no wonder why a dog acting stranger than usual can potentially save a life. However, it's crucial to remember that while some dogs are able to realize there's a problem, this is not always the case.
A CO leak can potentially be fatal, so it's crucial to keep your house and all your loved ones — including your fur babies — safe from this problem happening in the first place. Experts say the best way to protect everyone in your home from CO poisoning is to install a detector on each floor of your house, which will alert you if there's gas in the air. But if you happen to be in an indoor location that has no detector and your dog suddenly starts exhibiting troublesome symptoms, take your pet and get the heck out of there immediately.
"You can’t see, smell, or taste a carbon monoxide leak, so it’s important to be aware of this potentially fatal danger in the home," said npower spokesperson Matthew Cole in a press release. "Common household appliances like boilers, gas fires, log burners, and cookers can all cause accidental exposure. So it’s important that people understand the symptoms of CO poisoning, and if you notice any symptoms in combination go outside immediately and seek help."