Having fun in the summer often means excursions to saltwater, sand and sea adventures. But you need to know that saltwater can be deadly to your pets – here’s why:
Summer Safety: Saltwater A Lethal Threat to Dogs
Monday, July 9, was supposed to be a fun day in the sun with his Labrador retriever, O.G.
After a day full of classes and studying, Taylor took O.G. to Honeymoon Island, a dog-friendly beach in central Florida.
“He was like any other Lab. He loved to play in the water, loved people, and was a big old goofball,” Taylor told WebMD. “We were swimming and having a good time. We took breaks, and I made him drink fresh water, but we just stayed out too long.”
Later that night, his dog started vomiting and had diarrhea, something that had happened after other beach trips. But by Wednesday, the pup wasn’t eating and was lethargic.
“He would just wander around the apartment. He would walk into a corner and stare at the wall. I’d call his name, and he would not even acknowledge me,” Taylor says.
Taylor rushed O.G. to the vet, but unfortunately, it was too late. He discovered that his canine companion was dying of saltwater poisoning.
O.G. was severely dehydrated and had brain damage, according to the veterinarian. While at the vet’s office, the dog had a seizure due to brain swelling.
“They put him on a standard IV and tried to get some electrolytes back in him, but he wasn’t really responding to that. The last-ditch effort was a drug called mannitol, which reduces swelling in the brain. But the vet said if he doesn’t respond well to the mannitol, there’s nothing we can do for him,” said Taylor.
Heather Loenser, DVM, the senior veterinary officer for the American Animal Hospital Association, says that fortunately, saltwater poisoning is not common.
Loenser says that when sodium builds up in a dog’s body, it can cause brain swelling, seizures, and death.
When the body has too much salt, its cells release their water, attempting to balance out the salt content in the blood. This causes brain cells to shrivel, triggers seizures, and leaves your dog severely dehydrated. According to the Pet Poison Hotline, the most common signs of saltwater poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lack of appetite, and lethargy.
“The body works very hard to regulate the balance of salt and water. Dogs can also drive their body’s salt content too low if they drink too much fresh water when swimming in a lake or pool,” says Loenser. “If your dog’s behavior changes after swimming in either fresh or salt water, take him to the vet immediately for bloodwork.”
Taylor, 29, met O.G. when he was just a puppy. Reminiscing, he told Tampa TV station WFLA of O.G.’s “wide, curious, loving eyes and flopping ears that bounced in the wind.” The pair had been together for 7 years.
Be Prepared for Summer
If you need a vet while traveling with your pet, visit AAHA.org/locate to find a veterinarian’s office in your area.
Even if you aren’t planning a beach trip with your dog, the summer can be dangerous for your pup.
At FCVC we are dedicated to helping you avoid the dangers that can befall your pets. If you have any concerns please let us know right away. Call us at 970-587-5140.
Articles related to summer with your pets that you may be interested in – Tips for Traveling With Your Pet Friends This Summer and 9 Most Common Summer Pet Dangers.
Attribution: From our friends at Pets.WebMD.com