Water Intoxication: Protect Your Dog This Summer

Hello Summer! Now that school is out and the sun is shining, many people are going to be heading to beaches, lakes, and rivers for some fun with their families. If your family includes a dog, then it’s likely they will be joining you. As a good pet parent, you will make sure your dog stays cool and has plenty of water to drink, but many people don’t know that your pup can have too much water.

Water intoxication can occur if a pet has ingested too much water from either drinking it or swallowing it while playing in the water. It can quickly become life threatening if not treated, so knowing the signs and symptoms of water intoxication and monitoring your dog when playing in and around water can help to prevent a disastrous outcome. Water intoxication is an extremely rare occurrence but the condition and symptoms come on very suddenly and require quick action.

1. What is water intoxication?
Water intoxication occurs when the body has ingested too much water, throwing off the sodium balance in the cells of the body. If the sodium levels are not put back into normal levels the cell can rupture from too much water.

2. How can you tell if your dog has water intoxication?
Signs of water intoxication include lethargy, vomiting, foaming at the mouth, loss of motor function and coordination, bloating, excessive drooling, and seizures.

3. What should you do if your dog has water intoxication?
If your dog shows any signs of water intoxication, you must immediately go to the nearest veterinarian or emergency clinic. The dog will need to be treated with intravenous fluids or fluid restrictions depending on the severity of the condition to correct the sodium and water imbalance in the cells.

4. How do you prevent water intoxication in dogs?
Dogs at risk for water intoxication are more often dogs that enjoy water and will spend a large amount of time in and around the water. In some cases, veterinarians report more small dogs than larger dogs experiencing water intoxication but, they feel this is due to the smaller size increasing the speed at which it can happen, larger dogs are at just as much risk. Monitoring your pet when playing in and around water is the number one prevention for water intoxication.

When going on vacation or a day trip to a body of water and choosing to bring your furry family member know the location for a nearby veterinarian clinic or emergency clinic. This can save valuable time in a life threatening emergency involving your pet such as water intoxication.

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