Last month, we discussed the importance of keeping your dog well hydrated in the warmer Massachusetts weather! However, when your pup likes to play and drink too much from the hose, the pool or the local lake – water intoxication is just as dangerous, or even deadly to our fur babies…
As pet owners, we always want to keep our pets safe and happy! This shouldn’t be a deterrent in allowing your dog to have fun and enjoy playing in water, as long as we are responsible in shutting them off from consuming too much.
Although dehydration is more common, water intoxication can and does happen. What IS water intoxication and how can it harm my dog?
Water intoxication or “hyponatremia” – is when a dog swallows too much water and their body cells are then starved of sodium. The body will need to work to try to re balance itself by increasing the fluid intake inside the cells. The cells swell up with fluid, making them a lot bigger in size. Because the canine brain is encapsulated in a hard skull, this traps the fluid inside and puts excess pressure, damaging the brain. This can result in brain damage or death, if not managed right away.

Symptoms of Water Intoxication

If you notice that your dog is enjoying drinking too much water when he’s swimming or playing, even just 30 minutes can result in ingesting too much water. Keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms:
• Drooling more than usual
• Pale gums
• Bloat
• Lethargy
• Vomiting
• Dilated pupils
• Staggering, falling down or other signs of losing coordination or balance
In serious cases, seizures, respiratory issues and loss of consciousness can take place.

Higher Risk Dogs

Dogs that have little body fat, cannot absorb the extra fluid in the body.Small dogs, because it takes much less time for the water to build inside their bodies.
High energy dogs because they tend to keep focus on doing what is asked from their owners. They won’t think twice about diving into the water to retrieve that stick for hours!
Dogs that have obsessive compulsive disorder, can become obsessed with whatever they are doing. This could mean that they’ll continue to bite the hose or splash in the lake, until redirected.

Prevention Is Key

Water intoxication should be taken seriously, here are some ways to keep your dog safe this summer:
1. Limit your dog’s time spent in or around water.
2. Choose toys that are flatter to avoid your dog opening his mouth too much and ingesting excess water.
3. Monitor your dog at all times. Stop playing or swimming immediately, if you notice that he has been taking in too much water.
Our dog walkers would love to help keep your pup cool this summer! To find out more – visit us at: