For Some Dogs Too Much Water Can Be Fatal

photo credit: iStock MichikoDesign

Have you heard of water intoxication?

Water intoxication is the ingestion of too much water resulting in a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia.

Hyponatremia happens when a dogs body cannot process the amount of water taken in which ultimately causes the sodium levels to drop to dangerously low levels. Sodium is required to maintain a dogs blood pressure and aids with the functioning of muscles and nerves. When the sodium level drops to these levels swelling occurs in the cells which include the brain.

Symptoms to watch for:

  • Staggering, loss of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Glazed eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Pale gums
  • Excessive drooling

In extremely severe cases you might see difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, seizure or death.

You’ve got to be wondering if your dog is at risk!

Dogs that are spending hours playing in the water, lapping or biting it up; as well as diving and retrieving objects are the ones to watch closest.

Small breeds and dogs that excessively drink water during or after vigorous exercise or love to be sprayed with the hose are also at potential risk of this often fatal condition.

Water intoxication can come on very quickly and is life threatening so it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above.

Ways to avoid water intoxication include:

  • Always monitor your dogs in and around water.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Slowly re-hydrate after exercise.
  • Watch for any changes in behavior or appearance.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms.

For further information on this life threatening condition you can go here and read more from Dr Karen Becker. Be sure to share this with your fellow dog owners! It’s important that we all be aware.

The first time that I ever heard of this the ultimate price was paid. A beautiful life was lost. This information piece is written in her honor in hopes that one life can be saved.

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  1. Reply Kelly May 23, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    My dogs aren’t big water drinkers, I actually have to encourage them to drink! But this is something I don’t think many people realize and it needs to be promoted. You think, it’s summer, it’s hot, my dog is hot, so let them have a big drink, not knowing what the possible consequences are of the drinking too much. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Reply Kristin May 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Gosh, this is scary and not something I would have thought possible. Thankfully, Ruby is not a water dog. She doesn’t swim and avoids any kind of water deeper than a rain puddle. Sometimes it is a struggle to get her to drink enough water on hot days.

    I’m going to share this post. Thanks!

  3. Reply Beth May 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I was really shocked the first time I heard about this. Thanks for sharing this important information, especially right as summer begins, It could help save lives.

  4. Reply Seville at Nerissa's Life May 23, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    I actually have heard ’bout this before. I don’t think it applies to us cats – on account of our not usually playin’ in water and stuff – but for doggy parents, it’s somethin’ they really, REALLY need to know. Most peeps probably don’t even think about it. Why would they? I mean, drinkin’ water “seems” harmless enough, right? But too much of anythin’ can cause problems. It’s a good thing you’ve done here by helpin’ peeps know ’bout this danger. It really and truly is. Thank you. PURRS.

  5. Reply Michelle May 23, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Wow – such an important warning. My dog doesn’t like playing in water, so this isn’t a risk for us. But it might be for some of my clients – so I’ll be sure to pass on the knowledge. Thank you

  6. Reply Ruth Epstein May 23, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Fantastic warning and I am battling with Layla at the moment with the opposite, she does not want to drink water so am syringing drops into her mouth during the day including chicken broth. I cannot understand why she is doing this and have written it on my blog this week

  7. Reply Dash Kitten Crew May 23, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    I had read about dogs and the danger of water before, this is a timely reminder for the northern hemisphere summer so well done for such an important post.

  8. Reply Joelle May 23, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    My dog loves to swim and play fetch in the water so I know he’s taking in water. I do try to be mindful of how long he’s swimming so he doesn’t get too tired out there. Now I’m even happier that I monitor because water intoxication is a thing!

  9. Reply Joelle May 23, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    My dog is a swimmer and I always monitor how long he swims in case he gets too tired. He would just go and go. Now I’m really glad I monitor because water intoxication is a thing!

  10. Reply Dear Mishu May 23, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing… we didn’t know this! Luckily Dear Mishu isn’t a fan of water so this probably isn’t a concern.

  11. Reply Jae Marie May 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    When we spend time outside and it is warm, I try to pour small amounts of water at a time, even if I have to fill it up a few times because my dog guzzles water when it is hot. He gets so excited and starts coughing, which is the only time he coughs when he is drinking water. He is tiny too, only 5.5 lbs, so I know it wouldn’t take much to hurt him. It is scary. Thank you for sharing this!

  12. Reply Lola The Rescued Cat May 23, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Very interesting! This is really important info for dog owners to know, and i wonder if it applies to cats at all. I’ll share this with my dog friends.

  13. Reply Tenacious Little Terrier May 24, 2018 at 12:11 am

    Mr. N doesn’t like being in water enough for this to be an issue but definitely a risk for water loving dogs! I once watched a dog who would drink so much water he would frequently throw up. We had to control his water intake.

  14. Reply Sweet Purrfections May 24, 2018 at 3:06 am

    I don’t think I’ve heard of this before. But it makes a lot of sense. I don’t have dogs, so I don’t know how much is normal for them to drink after exercise.

  15. Reply Sandy Kubillus May 24, 2018 at 11:20 am

    I had a couple of springer spaniels that loved to swim and drink water. I never worried about them drinking too much. I’m sorry to hear about your dog. I know that drinking water contaminated with blue-green algae is bad, but I didn’t know about clean water. I’ll have to be more careful when I get my next springer. Now my cocker, Buffy, tends to tank up – drink a lot of water out of her dish about twice a day. She doesn’t play in the water so she is not at risk. Thank you for this informative post.

  16. Reply Heather Wallace May 24, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    A unique topic that is perfect for this time of year. My dog Beau has always drank a lot of water. At first we were concerned about diabetes, then when we ruled out physical causes we determined with the vet that it is likely behavioral from when he was a shelter mutt and a runt at that. So water ingestion is always monitored.

  17. Reply Kamira G May 24, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Yes, I have heard of water intoxication in dogs. I never knew this until recently. Water is usually so good for us all for hydration however even too much can be fatal. Thanks for sharing this post, especially with summer coming and water activities. Pet parents can take the proper precautions to keep their pet safe.

  18. Reply Holly May 24, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I have heard of this before. Frightening, really, just having a great day playing at the lake and something like this could happen.

  19. Reply Jana Rade May 24, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    It is dangerous for any dog; not every dog is likely to fall victim to that, though. I wonder if switching the fetch toy, for example from a ball to say Flying Squirrel, would work.

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