Hazards of Dogs Swallowing Ocean Water

by Axl J. Amistaadt
Saltwater on toys can sicken your dog.

Saltwater on toys can sicken your dog.

Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

The beach is a paradise for dogs who love running, swimming, fetching and hanging out with their best buddies. But frolicking seaside makes a pooch thirsty, and he might decide to rehydrate by guzzling saltwater. Because your beloved pet has no clue that swallowing ocean water is hazardous to his health, you’ll have to protect him from himself.

Drinking a Little

Dogs may swallow small amounts of saltwater while swimming in the sea and while mouthing saltwater-soaked toys. Small quantities of saltwater can dehydrate your dog and give him an unpleasant condition known as beach diarrhea. His stools will turn frequent and liquid, and may contain mucus or blood. The poor thing will suffer a sense of urgency but strain when he tries to poop.

Drinking a Lot

Consuming too much ocean water causes severe salt poisoning, or hypernatremia, which can spell disaster for your dog. Rapid onset of diarrhea and vomiting is followed by neurologic symptoms such as depression, seizures, unsteady gait and stumbling. Salt poisoning results in severe, dangerous swelling of the brain, which requires immediate emergency IV treatment.

Heading Off Trouble

Bring fresh water and a bowl with you to the beach. Encourage your dog to take a break in a shady spot and offer him a cool drink every 15 minutes. This prevents dehydration, which should discourage him from thinking he needs to drink ocean water.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

A full-time writer since 2007, Axl J. Amistaadt is a DMS 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award recipient. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. Amistaadt has written book reviews for Work At Home Truth.

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