Dogs' noses are so incredible that they're able to sniff out wide varieties of drugs - even opioid pills.
Are you interested in more information about how dogs sniff out these pills? Want to know what kind of signs trained dog will give their owners if they've found opioid pills? How about training your dog to sniff out opioid pills? We've got all the information here!
Signs Dogs Give When Detecting Opiate Pills
Untrained dogs can still sniff out drugs, and often, they'll alert you to what they've found, even if they don't understand what they've found or weren't specifically looking for it. If your dog finds opioid pills, he or she might react by sniffing or licking intensely (this is incredibly dangerous, as opioids can kill your dog quickly). Other dogs might jump around, howl, bark, paw, scratch, or jump on you to alert you to what they've found.
- Trained behavior
- Nose touching
- Sitting or standing in front of an object
History of Drug-Sniffing Dogs
But dogs have also been helping law enforcement sniff out and detect controlled substances for a long time, too. By the 1970s, dogs were being used to detect illegal substances like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and more. Now, dogs are employed by almost every police force and used specifically to help government agencies hunt down controlled substances. There's no doubt that we'd be severely lacking in our drug finding abilities if we didn't have dogs and their wonderful noses.
The Dangers of Opioids for Dogs
At a lower dose, opioids will make you sleepy and will relieve pain by traveling through your blood to attach to your opioid receptors in your brain cells, which then release signals that will muffle your perception of pain. At high doses though, they slow your heart rate, make breathing difficult, and often may lead to death.
So what's the problem with opioids and your dog? They're incredibly easy to overdose on, and dogs are far more susceptible to overdose than humans are. Just a small touch or smell, especially in powder form inside pills, could injure or kill your dog.
Training Your Dog to Sniff Out Opioid Pills
Training drug-sniffing dogs to detect opioid pills is incredibly tricky, especially because it's so dangerous. Because of that, government agencies and police forces who use dogs have come up with a system to train them carefully.
Instead of allowing dogs to sniff out the insanely deadly powder version of opium, they instead create a liquid version by combining a small amount of the opioid in water. Once it dissolves, they place this mixture into an absorbent pad that is then placed in a container specifically used for training the dogs.
These pups are trained with play as a reward and throughout the search, they're essentially looking for their favorite toy. They're taught that sniffing out this particular scent will get them love and affection from their trainers - and playtime with their favorite toy (perhaps even a treat now and again). Eventually, the toy will be taken out of the sniffing process and dogs will hunt down the scent specifically as if they're looking for their favorite toy. Your dog must be certified to be an opioid-pill sniffing dog.
Safety Tips for Dogs Smelling Opiod Pills:
Opiates can be dangerous, so train your dog with a professional trainer.
Never let your dog ingest any of the pills they're sniffing out.
Only use the correct form of training liquid with a professional trainer present. Training your dog on your own with opioid pills is dangerous and could lead to overdose.
If there are opioids in the house, never allow your dog near them. Keep them locked away, in a high up place.