However, even water-loving dogs who are experienced swimmers are at risk of water inhalation. And most dog owners don’t know the signs and may not take the necessary steps to seek treatment until it’s too late.
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Unfortunately, this was the case for Chris and his beloved dog O.G.
The Dangers Of Water Inhalation
Chris Taylor, a 29-year-old University of South Florida student, owned a beautiful black Labrador Retriever, nicknamed O.G. Both Chris and O.G. loved playing in the water together, and they frequently visited Honeymoon Island dog beach to get some exercise and relax.
One night, after a long evening at the beach, O.G. started acting strange. He was having stomach issues, vomiting, and diarrhea. Chris took care of him the best he could, but his condition only worsened. Soon O.G.’s condition was critical. He wouldn’t eat or drink and he seemed to be in a daze, unresponsive to anything Chris tried.
Chris rushed him to the vet, and found that he was dying from saltwater poisoning. He was extremely dehydrated and suffering from brain damage and seizures.
Unfortunately, O.G.’s condition had advanced to a point where there was little his vet could do, and Chris’ beloved friend passed away.
The first step to preventing a similar tragedy, is to be aware that this danger exists. Most dog owners are unaware that water, a seemingly harmless substance, can be so dangerous.
Here are some other ways to prevent water intoxication as much as possible.
- Supervise. Make sure to keep a close eye on your dog whenever he is in or near water. Pay close attention to how much water he is ingesting, and try to limit this as much as possible. If his mouth is open a lot while in the water, or he is diving under the surface, you know he is ingesting water.
- Take breaks. Anytime your dog is spending time in the water, and especially if you notice he is ingesting water a lot, make sure to take frequent breaks at least every 30 minutes.
Limit water time. Even with frequent breaks, it’s best to limit your dog’s water time to 2 hours at most.
- Rehydrate safely. While it’s extremely important that your dog rehydrates after exercise, it’s equally important that he doesn’t drink too much at once. If he drinks up his entire water bowl, let him rest for a while before immediately refilling. It’s also a good idea to take water with you while your dog is exercising to give him short water breaks.
- Sprinklers and hoses too. Because hose and sprinkler water has a lot of pressure, your dog can ingest a lot more than you think in just a short amount of time. Try to keep your dog from drinking from sprinklers and hoses as much as possible.
- Know the signs of water inhalation and intoxication, and seek a vet’s help as soon as possible.
Even with plenty of supervision and caution, your dog may still be at risk of water intoxication. Being familiar with the signs of this condition is the best way to catch it early on and seek medical attention.
The most common symptoms are:
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of coordination
- Pale gums
- Dilated pupils
- Glazed eyes
If the condition becomes even more severe, you may notice additional symptoms. However, it is best to contact your vet before this point.
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
Also keep in mind that smaller dogs are more at risk than larger dogs because it doesn’t take long for an excessive amount of water to accumulate in their bodies.
Spread the word to all your dog-owner friends, and ensure that everyone is aware of this dangerous condition. Taking the necessary precautions and knowing the signs of water inhalation can help save a life.
By Emilyn Gil