Are Paintballs Poisonous to Dogs?

by Jodi Thornton O'Connell Google
    To dogs, paintballs smell like tasty treats.

    To dogs, paintballs smell like tasty treats.

    Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

    Paintball can provide plenty of entertainment, but leave the pets out of it. Firing a paintball at a dog is cruel and unlawful, even on accident, but accidental ingestion of a paintball -- and what dog doesn't want to fetch a speeding ball? -- can make a dog seriously ill. Be sure to store paintballs well out of his reach, as paintballs look like and smell like tempting snacks to canines.

    Paintball Ingredients

    A primary ingredient of paintballs is gelatin made from beef and pork bones, skins and hides. It is no doubt the primary attractant that draws dogs to devour them. Other ingredients include dye, sorbitol, mineral oil, polyethelene, glycerin and sometimes dipropylene glycol. While these ingredients are not considered toxic to humans when contacting the skin, the combination can prove fatal to a dog who ingests them.

    Symptoms

    Paintballs will cause an acid pH in dogs' blood and will act as a diuretic that draws water from all parts of the body, raising the dog's sodium level to dangerous levels. An affected dog will experience vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, elevated heart rate and dramatic change in body temperature that result in fever or hypothermia. Severe symptoms include seizure, coma and death. Call your vet immediately if your dog has ingested paintballs.

    Treatment

    Immediate veterinary care is crucial to the dog's survival. Your vet will administer intravenous fluids and nutritional supplementation, and regularly monitor blood gas levels. Treatment may include pumping the stomach and administering medications for nausea and seizures.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jodi Thornton O'Connell has been an outdoorswoman for more than 45 years. She shares her love of adventure in columns for "Out-and-About Magazine," "Adam’s Rib," "Senior Christian Lifestyles," "Creede Magazine" and various websites.

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