Aug 04 2017

Salt Water Toxicity | Winslow Animal Hospital Dog & Cat

money beach ocean

One of the many amazing things about living here in South Jersey is that no matter which town you are in, you’re not too far from the shore! Beaches can be a refreshing environment for not only you as a pet-parent, but to your dog as well. ┬áThe change of scenery, fresh breeze, and cool ocean waves can be the summer getaway that is exactly what you need! While you plan your trip to a pet-friendly New Jersey beach, keep in mind ways you can keep your dog happy and healthy.

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Saltwater Toxicity

Playing in the ocean waves is a special treat for many dogs. It can be a great way to make sure your pet gets the exercise they need to be strong and healthy, and it’s a lot of fun for both your dog and you as the pet-parent. One concern that can come with this activity is saltwater toxicity. Humans and dogs both need a certain amount of salt, but saltwater has way too much!

Ocean soaked tennis balls or other fetch toys that are absorbent can contain enough salt to be a problem for dogs that are fetching them. Any saltwater swallowed during play adds to the risk of hypernatremia (excess salt) in the digestive system.  The salt draws in water from the blood into the intestines, which causes diarrhea. In some cases, the diarrhea can even contain blood and mucous! This is unhealthy even on its own, but in the hot summer sun, diarrhea increases the risk of dehydration.

Money beach sit

Signs of hypernatremia when your dog ingests excess saltwater

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration
  • incoordination
  • seizures

You can reduce your pet’s risk by taking a break every 15 minutes or so to offer your dog fresh water. A squeezable sport bottle can be used to squirt fresh water into your dog’s mouth if they are not initially interested in drinking fresh water. If you suspect your pet may have had too much saltwater, call your veterinarian – if severe, your pet may need treatment.

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