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.
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.
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.
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.