Can Dogs Smell Gas?

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Introduction

While gas is something that has become vital in today’s world, for many people it also causes fear. This is because of the dangers associated with problems such as a gas leak. Often, it can be very difficult for humans to smell gas until the odor become very noticeable. In some cases, it could be too late and gas leaks have resulted in many tragedies over the years.

As we know, dogs have an excellent sense of smell, which is why they are used in tasks as sniffer dogs. However, they are also able to use their incredible sense of smell to identify other issues and this includes the smell of gas.

Signs Your Dog May be Trying to Warn You About Gas

Knowing the devastation that a gas leak can cause is naturally a huge worry for many people and workers within certain industries. For humans, detecting gas leaks can be very difficult without the use of specialized equipment. However, dogs can do this with just their sense of smell. 

When a dog smells danger such as gas, there are various signs that it may display. This includes whining or crying, behaving erratically, hiding away, or becoming hyperactive. You may also find that your dog starts to bark and circle, which is often a sign that it is trying to warn you about something.

In fact, dogs have become so adept at sniffing out hazards such as gas that some experts believe that they could prove invaluable when it comes to pipeline leak detection. While people and companies use online systems and other equipment to alert them to gas leaks, professionals from oil and gas companies have reiterated that the use of dogs could be the most efficient and cost-effective answer to detecting gas leaks. In fact, some believe that they may be more reliable than modern equipment at doing this, which shows just how effective our pooches can be when it comes to warning us about such hazards. 

It is important to look at your dog’s body language in order to determine whether it is trying to warn you about something such as the smell of gas. You may find that your dog is running around restlessly or behaving in an erratic fashion. It may be circling you and pawing at you to try and alert you to danger. 

Your dog may also run and hide away when it smells gas or may have its tail tucked. All of these are signs that there may be something wrong and you should pay attention if your dog displays a combination of these signs, because it could help you to avoid a major disaster. 

Body Language

If your dog is smelling gas, watch for:

  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Jumping up
  • Pacing
  • Tail tucking

Other Signs

There are other signs that you should look out for when it comes to the possibility of your dog being able to smell gas. These include:

  • Erratic behavior
  • Circling
  • Paw tapping

History of Dogs' Heightened Sense of Smell

Over the years, through detailed research, we have come to realize just how heightened a dog’s sense of smell actually is. This is why dogs are used in important roles such as sniffer dogs for law enforcement officers. A dog’s sense of smell is very highly developed, which means that they are able to sniff out danger quickly and efficiently. 

This includes the ability to smell gas that would otherwise not be detected by humans. Even with the use of sophisticated equipment, some experts believe it would take longer and cost more to detect gas compared to using a dog’s natural sense of smell.

Research shows that dogs are able to detect odors that are as much as forty feet under the ground. This is why they are so effective at detecting smells such as gas. It has also been shown that the sensitivity of a dog’s nose means that it can smell electricity. 

One study concluded that the reason for this was due to the release of minute amounts of ozone, which the dog’s sensitive noses were able to detect. As a result of research into dogs’ ability to smell gas, we could see more and more canines used within the oil and gas industry in the future.   

The Science of a Dog's Sense of Smell

There are many industries that use dogs as working dogs due to their fantastic abilities when it comes to being able to detect smells. This includes everything from drug officers that use dogs to sniff out drugs through to farmers that use them to determine whether cows are in oestrus or in heat. 

A dog’s sense of smell is remarkable, as experts have come to realize over the years through studies and research. This is why many believe that using dogs as pipeline leak detectors could be the way forward and why they are already used to sniff out gas.  

Training Dogs to Smell Gas

In order to benefit from the warning signs that your dog can give you when it comes to gas detection, you need to be familiar with the way in which it may behave. Making sure you look for signs such as those detailed above can help you to determine whether there is something amiss and whether your pooch is trying to alert you to danger such as a gas leak. 

Obviously, if you do suspect that this is the case, you need to contact your energy supplier on the emergency numbers provided and make sure you get advice on what you need to do. This includes turning your gas supply off if you are able to do so safely.

If you have a dog and you are interested in teaching it to detect hazardous leaks such as gas, there are actually training facilities that you can turn to. There are a number of specialist places that now teach dogs to detect gas by showing them the smell of mercaptan. This is an odor that gets released as a result of natural and propane gas leaks. In fact, experts that run these training companies now have many oil and gas companies asking them the necessary time or resources to carry out this training themselves so they turn to specialist companies. 

Statistics show that the number of trainers that are now able to teach dogs about gas detection is on the rise. Because dogs have such sensitive noses and such an excellent sense of smell, it is easy for most to pick up on the training and learn how to detect the smell of gas. Over time, this is something that could not only help companies within the industry but also people that want to benefit from increased safety in the home. 

Steps to Take if Your Dog Smells Gas:

  • Call the emergency number from your supplier.
  • Turn off the gas supply if you can do so safely.
  • Check to see whether you can smell gas too.