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Can Dogs Drink Salt Water? Salt Water Poisoning In Dogs

Can Dogs Drink Salt Water?
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Summer is here. It means you and your four-legged buddy can enjoy some fun time at the beach.

Caution – Make sure that your pet does not consume excess saltwater. They can become ill.

In 2018, Chris Taylor lost O.G, a six-year-old Labrador, to saltwater poisoning.

As per reports, Taylor said his O.G. swallowed lots of saltwater. The signs of saltwater poisoning include diarrhea, wobbly, and appearing tired.

O.G. recovered the next day only to become worse in the following days. He stopped eating food and later failed to respond to his owner’s call.

Chris rushed O.G. to the nearest vet emergency, but his brain had started to swell. He did not respond to medicine.

The vet recommended euthanization and Chris agreed with a heavy heart.

What Happens If Your Dog Consumes Salt Water?

Some of the common dog saltwater poisoning symptoms include –

  • When a dog consumes excess amount of saltwater (a condition termed “hypernatremia”), the sodium in the water builds up in your dog’s intestines. This forces the body to release water to counter the salt intake, resulting in diarrhea.
  • Sometimes, you can notice blood and mucous in diarrhea. Hypernatremia can also lead to vomiting, severe dehydration, seizures, injuries in kidneys, lethargy, and swelling in canines.

How to decide if your doggie had excessive saltwater?

The basic signs of saltwater poisoning include-

  • Confusion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Diarrhea

Preventing Saltwater Poisoning

Reports say that the mortality rate of canines having excess sodium levels in their body has been more than 50 percent, regardless of treatment. So, it is vital to prevent the poisoning of saltwater in dogs.

You can prevent saltwater poisoning in canines in the following ways.

  • You should give your pooch enough clean, drinking water before going to the beach. Also, feed fresh water to your pet every 15-20 minutes to be away from water because dehydration can set in anytime.
  • If your dog is not willing to drink the water, use a bottle with a sports cap and squirt fresh water into its mouth.
  • Don’t let your dog to fetch tennis balls or other absorbent things from the beach as those things have salt content in it.
  • When you reach home from the beach, vets urge pet parents to check their pet’s behavior. If you find anything abnormal, talk to your local vet at the earliest.

Treatment For Saltwater Poisoning

Unfortunately, no specific treatment has been found yet to treat saltwater poisoning in dogs. But, the vet will try his best to restore the fluid balance in your dog’s body to normal levels. He will

  • Make the excess sodium levels in your dog’s body lower. But, lowering sodium levels in a too fast manner will increase the fluid (cerebral edema) on the dog’s brain.
  • Recommend IV fluids to remove the excess salt content in your dog’s body.
  • Monitor the electrolytes and provide treatment for seizures and brain swelling. Generally, the electrolyte balance and water content will be restored to normal levels in 2 to 3 days.
  • Suggest extra medications and care, depending on your pet’s condition.

Is Salt Water Safe For Dog’s Skin?

Of course, yes. Although the consumption of saltwater causes toxic effects on dogs, it can relieve itchy skin in canines.

If your dog takes bath in the ocean water, irritation in its skin may become lower. But, keep an eye on your dog for not over bathing in the seawater as it may let the skin dry!

As saltwater relieves itchy skin, you can bath your dog with it. Saltwater will also kill fleas in canines. But, a salt bath can be part of a treatment to prevent fleas.

So, it is better to use Epsom salt in 1:6 ratio (i.e. 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to 6 cups of water).

Is Pool Water Safe For Dogs?

Yes, but in moderation! If your dog drinks the pool water occasionally, it won’t harm it. Also, the pool water doesn’t suit all dogs. Canines that have salt restrictions and those with heart and kidney disease are not advisable to drink pool water.

Usually, pool water contains a normal amount of chlorine. But, it may irritate your dog’s skin, coat, and eyes. So, you should clean your dog’s skin with clean, freshwater.

Heather Loenser, the senior veterinary officer at the American Animal Hospital Association, says that the salt content in the dog’s body may be lower when it swims in a pool.

When the salt content is low, the dog’s body has to work hard to regulate the fluid balance. So, it is advisable for immediate veterinary attention in cases of any behavioral changes in your dog after swimming in the pool.

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