WATER INTOXICATION…IT’S A THING!
Most dog owners are aware of the dangers of dehydration in their pets. However, many may not be familiar with the issues of excessive water ingestion.
Did you know that excessive water consumption by your dog can lead to water intoxication? Water intoxication is serious medical condition, that can even be life-threatening, if not treated.
WHAT IS WATER INTOXICATION?
When your dog consumes too much water, sodium levels can become dangerously low. This is technically known as, hyponatremia.
Sodium is essential for normal body function. As those levels deplete due to excessive water consumption, swelling can occur.
Swelling can happen in the dog’s extremities, face, brain and/or vital organs.
HOW CAN WATER INTOXICATION OCCUR?
As mentioned above, water intoxication occurs when your pup consumes too much water. This can happen while they are swimming in a pool, the ocean, or local water source.
Also, if your pooch is a fan of the garden hose, be sure to monitor their water intake.
SYMPTOMS OF WATER INTOXICATION
Unlike other medical issues that may be more breed-specific, water intoxication can happen to almost any breed, or size of dog.
The most common signs of hyponatremia include:
- Dialated pupils
- Excessive salivation
- Pale gums
- Glazing over the eyes
- Breathing issues
Immediate veterinary intervention is necessary. Smaller dogs can die within a few hours without proper treatment.
- Smaller dogs need far less water to become intoxicated, than larger dogs
- Dog’s proximity to water
- Body fat (dogs with more body fat can handle more water)
- Hyperactive dogs or dogs inclined to play in or around water
HOW TO PREVENT WATER INTOXICATION
“Prevention is the mother of invention.” Here are a few tips:
- Supervise dogs playing in and around water
- Limit the amount of time spent playing with water
- Never leave a dog alone with a large water source
- Keeping the dog well hydrated can help with his/her desire to drink
- Annual bloodwork on your pups’ kidneys will help determine if the kidneys are functioning properly
TREATMENT OF HYPONATREMIA
If you think your pup may be suffering from water intoxication, remove any source of water. Contact your veterinarian immediately!
Your veterinarian will likely administer diuretics, drugs to relieve cranial pressure and use IV electrolyte therapy. Mostly likely, your pup will also be put on very low-sodium diet for the coming months.
MORE WATER-RELATED DOG DANGERS
The warmer months are especially concerning when it comes to water-related dangers and your dog.
It’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with the following:
- Blue-green algae
- Sand ingestion (playing fetch on the beach)
- Hypernatremia (a high concentration of sodium in the blood from salt water ingestion)