Can Dogs Smell Carbon Monoxide? (Pets and Cats updated 2024)

Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Monoxide Detector, Low Level CO Detector -

Can Dogs Smell Carbon Monoxide? (Pets and Cats updated 2024)

Carbon Monoxide gas detection is important when it comes to carbon monoxide, as neither dogs, cats, nor any other animal can sense or detect this odorless gas. Despite dogs' superior olfactory system, carbon monoxide remains undetectable to them. However, pets are more sensitive to the adverse poisoning effects of inhaled carbon monoxide. To ensure the safety of pets and their owners, it is essential to monitor for abrupt or unusual pet behavior, such as aggression, anxiety, uncooperativeness, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and redness in the gums, ears, and lips. Proper gas detection methods, such as installing carbon monoxide alarms, are vital in preventing potentially fatal consequences for both pets and humans.



  • Dogs are a mans best friend
  • Dogs are a great deterrent, however they cannot smell carbon monoxide gas.
  • Dogs are the best company, and make pet owners feel 100% loved!
  • Always make sure you live with or travel with a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Do not depend on the sensitive olfactory system and nose of a dog to save you from Carbon Monoxide
  • Carbon Monoxide Gas is odorless to all animals including pet dogs and cats.
  • Carbon Monoxide is more prevalent during the winter months - be attentive and make sure all appliances are well ventilation and annual inspections have been done.

Best Carbon Monoxide Detector for Pets?

Animals can more easily be poisoned to carbon monoxide gas than humans. We often receive the question - Can Dogs Smell Carbon Monoxide? That being the case, we advocate low level carbon monoxide detectors for you and your pets. There are various low level carbon monoxide detectors on the market. The top brands are listed:

Carbon Monoxide Pet Protection CO Detector

Early and low level carbon monoxide detectors will help protect your dog and cat from early carbon monoxide poisoning. The smaller the pet the more sensitive to the adverse health effects of carbon monoxide. 

Small animals with less lung capacity are more sensitive to high levels of carbon monoxide than larger animals. In fact, the first carbon monoxide alert was a canary in a coal mine since birds are particularly susceptible and often show carbon monoxide symptoms first.

Can Dogs Smell Carbon Monoxide

Can Birds Detect Carbon Monoxide?

Indeed they can.

Birds are very small and are affected by carbon monoxide very fast and even some pet birds have saved lives due to dying first before the indoor occupants.

Low Level CO Detector versus a Normal CO Detector?

A UL2034 carbon monoxide detector purchased is not a low level CO detector. Normal CO detectors comply with UL2034 and are not designed to alarm at low levels of CO gas.

For example, the Forensics Detectors low level CO detectors trigger an audible alarm when CO levels over 25 ppm are detected. Such low-level CO alarming is closer to recommend exposure limits and will provide you and your pets with early warning and much faster than a typical UL2034 CO detector.

Do Pets Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Most often when there is a carbon monoxide tragedy, most often a pet dog or cat is also harmed. There have been instances where dogs and cats have been left in garages with the car running and have suffered and died. Pets are also exposed to carbon monoxide in home fires or when there is smoke and smoldering int he vicinity.

Can Dogs Smell Carbon Monoxide

How Do Cats Save Humans from Carbon Monoxide?

There are various reports that cats have actually saved humans from carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning. Since cats are adaversely affected by carbon monoxide, they may react in ways that alerts humans. Such was the case in Michigan, where the family cat was irritated and woke the family, hence acting as a early alert to carbon monoxide exposure.

How Do Dogs Save Humans from Carbon Monoxide?

Dogs are sensitive to carbon monoxide adverse symptoms. In the case of a Iowa family, their gas fireplace was defective leaking carbon monoxide. The family dog started to act unusually, by jumping on and off the bed late at night. Soon after the CO detector was alarming. 

Please note, dogs cannot, I repeat, cannot sense carbon monoxide gas. Some phony websites and articles claim they can, but that is total nonsense.

What to do if my Pet is poisoned by Carbon Monoxide?

Oxygen exposure is the best therapy for carbon monoxide poisoning. Take your cat or dog to the vet and ask for oxygen therapy. Continue oxygen until signs resolve or carboxyhemoglobin levels are low.

Can Dogs Smell Carbon Monoxide

How Does a Gas Leak Affect Dogs?

When there is a gas leak, the natural gas can displace the oxygen and reduce oxygen supply, poisoning you and your pet via hypoxia. 

Can Dogs Find a Gas Leak?

Typical gas used in the home is supply with natural gas which is mainly made up of methane. Methane is odorless to humans and dogs, and as such cannot be detect. However, natural gas is laced with mercaptan, which is a very smelly sulfur gas. Dogs are sometimes trained to sniff mercaptan. In fact, there are specialized sniffer dogs to sniff mercaptan to identify gas pipeline leaks.

How Good is a Dogs Nose?

A dog's sense of smell is incredibly powerful and is considered one of the most acute among animals. Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about 6 million in humans. This means that dogs can detect scents at concentrations as low as one part per trillion, which is a level of sensitivity that is beyond the capabilities of even the most advanced human-made instruments.

Dogs have been used for centuries in various tasks that require their excellent sense of smell, such as hunting, tracking, search and rescue, and detecting drugs, explosives, and other contraband. Some dog breeds, such as bloodhounds, have an exceptional sense of smell and are often used in law enforcement and other specialized fields that require scent detection. Overall, a dog's nose is an incredible tool that is highly valued in many different industries and fields.

CASE STUDY: Dogs Trained to Detect H2S Gas

Dogs can detect hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas using their powerful sense of smell. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas that has a characteristic rotten egg odor at low concentrations but can be odorless at higher concentrations, making it difficult for humans to detect. However, dogs can detect the odor of hydrogen sulfide even at low concentrations, making them valuable in detecting gas leaks, especially in industries such as oil and gas, wastewater treatment, and mining.

Dogs have been trained to detect hydrogen sulfide gas in various settings, including oil and gas fields, where they are used to detect gas leaks and prevent accidents. In addition, dogs have been used in search and rescue operations to locate victims trapped in areas with high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas. Overall, a dog's sense of smell is an incredibly powerful tool that is highly valued in many different fields, including the detection of dangerous gases like hydrogen sulfide.

Final Words

Gas detection is crucial when it comes to carbon monoxide, as even the sensitive olfactory system of dogs cannot detect this odorless gas. Pet owners should never rely on their dogs or cats to alert them to the presence of carbon monoxide. During winter months, when the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is higher, it is essential to ensure proper ventilation of all appliances and schedule annual inspections. To protect both human and pet lives, always have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home and carry one while traveling. Proper gas detection is the only reliable way to prevent the potentially fatal consequences of carbon monoxide exposure.

    About the Author

    Dr. Kos Galatsis ("Dr.Koz") is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS, where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing, and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.

    gas detector expert

    Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and enjoying the outdoors.

    Read more about Forensics Detectors here.

    Phone: +1 424-341-3886