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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Water Intoxication in Dogs: A Rising Tide of Concern

This is an amazing shot of a dog diving after a ball from Little Friends' Photo.
But it also shows how a dog can accidentally take in dangerous amounts of water, even if it doesn't "drink".

Dedicated to Stoli, Agility Border Collie, 2011-2013. 

Can a dog die from swimming?  Can a dog drink too much? Yes, and the cause to watch out for is water intoxication. It happens quickly and often, once it starts, it's hard to stop. Too often the dog dies or has to be put down when the condition becomes irreversible. 

Swimming for conditioning and fun has become a more popular pastime for dogs and their owners. And as the numbers of enthusiastic dog swimmers rise, so has the incidence of water intoxication. 

Some well publicized losses of prominent agility dogs due to water intoxication, as well a tendency for the problem not to be diagnosed until it's too late, has brought on a cry for increased awareness of water intoxication safety precautions and symptoms.  

Remember, dogs don't have to "drink" water to get water intoxication. Repeated diving into water, chasing balls in the water and biting at waves are just a few of the behaviors that have caused dogs to get sick.

Dogs have even gotten water intoxication from playing in sprinklers. 

Prevention includes avoiding prolonged water play and enforcing frequent breaks. Check for early symptoms, such as a swollen or distended belly, disorientation, throwing up water and staggering. 

The article below has more information.

Valley Vet: Dehydration vs. Water Toxicity

Remember, this awareness doesn't mean don't play in the water. Just play it safe.

4 comments:

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Catalina Abad said...

If you're dog has ANY one of the following symptoms:
-nausea
-vomiting
-pale gums
-drooling excessively
-lethargy and lack of coordination
TAKE YOUR DOG TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY.

Time is critical in this situation, I unfortunately lost a 4 year old cockapoo to water intoxication this past weekend. She was biting at the water in lake michigan for an hour and an hour later she was already dead. There is no time for blood work at the vet, explain your situation and that your dog has water intoxication action needs to be taken immediately in order to avoid brain damage, heart failure, coma and death. Keep an eye on your pup and keep them safe this is a more critical situation than one would expect, take action immediately if you have doubt better to be on the safe side. Best wishes for all.

ViewFr4Inch said...

Sorry to hear the sad news of the loss of your dear friend.

Since I wrote this article last year, several more dogs that I know of have passed from taking in too much water during play.

You are right that the water intoxication moves at a devastatingly fast pace. As you noted, the best thing we can do is share information about prevention.

Summer is upon us. Please limit your dog's time playing in water to 5 minutes. Observe carefully and take frequent breaks.

Dogs are more likely to take in too much water if they play fetch or retrieve objects in the water.

Take care out there, and play safe!