All of us know the dangers that excessively hot days can bring to your pets. Heat stroke being at the top of the list pet owners face. So, we make sure that our pets are not left outside if they’re unable to reach shade or water, we don’t leave them in locked cars or garages, and many plan outings that involve water of some sorts, such as, a lake, river, or even a pool to entertain their pets during this final summer month. Well, while having access to clean water is vital for a healthy pet, sadly too much of a good thing can prove to be just as fatal.
Hyponatremia, a life threatening condition consisting of overtly low sodium levels, occurs when more water enters the body than it’s able to process, resulting in a dilution of bodily fluids, which ultimately creates a precarious shift of electrolytes. This often fatal condition is more commonly known as ‘water intoxication’.
Water intoxication can affect any type of dog, but several factors make some more at risk than others due to inadvertently swallowing large amounts of water: dogs who spend hours on end fetching a toy or stick in a pool, lake, river etc.; dogs who play games with pressurized sprinklers or hoses; and dogs that over-hydrate during and after exercise.
- Symptoms of water intoxication include:
- Ataxia (uncoordinated, wobbly gait)
- Pale gums
- Glazed over eyes with dilated pupils
- Labored breathing
If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, absolutely they need immediate medical treatment. Restoring their bodies electrolyte imbalance is going to be paramount in ensuring their recovery.
Water intoxication is fairly rare, but if your pet falls into any of the risk factors listed above, making a mental note to let your dog take breaks from swimming or playing with water, and spacing out the amount of water they drink during and/or after intense physical activity, can definitely help ensure that the end of your summer will be ‘beachy’ keen.