Police carry Naloxone to protect dogs who overdose from sniffing opioids

A kit with naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is displayed at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. An overdose of opiates essentially makes the body forget to breathe. Naloxone works by blocking the brain receptors that opiates latch onto and helping the body "remember" to take in air. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

BOSTON (AP) – Police have started carrying new protection for their K-9 partners: naloxone, a drug that has long been used to reverse opioid overdoses in humans.

Even a tiny amount of powdered fentanyl can sicken both police officers and dogs who sniff out drugs during raids.

Three police dogs in Florida were rushed to an animal hospital last year when they ingested fentanyl, a powerful painkiller often mixed with street heroin.

The dogs were given naloxone and recovered quickly. Massachusetts State Police began carrying naloxone for their K-9s in March.

Police in Hartford, Connecticut, began carrying it in January.