Water Intoxication: Can Too Much Water Kill Your Dog?
Higher temperatures this summer usually means more time is spent outside for pet owners, but this can also mean more trips to your veterinarian. During the summer months, we typically see an increase in the amount of injuries and illnesses overall. One of those illnesses that Doctor Yetter and his staff have encountered this summer is water intoxication.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
While it may be hard to believe, drinking too much water can be fatal to your dog. Ingesting too much water while playing in a pool or lawn sprinkler or retrieving toys from a river causes electrolyte levels to drop (hypoatremia) which thins blood plasma and leads to swelling of the brain and other internal organs. It’s important to know the symptoms of water intoxication so you can get the affected dog to a veterinarian ASAP.
Symptoms of water intoxication:
- Lack of coordination
- Excessive salivation
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Dilated pupils
- Glazed eyes
- Light gum color
Most at Risk
Dogs that are most at risk are ones who will stay in a lake or pool all day if you let them, pets that lap or bite at water from a hose or sprinkler continuously while playing, dogs that swallow water unintentionally while diving or retrieving a ball or other toy, and dogs that are allowed to over-hydrate during or after exercise. Also, dogs with little body fat are more at risk due to lack of fatty tissue that helps to absorb excess fluid.
Water intoxication can affect any size or breed of dog but small dogs show symptoms more quickly due to the smaller capacity to retain water. This affliction progresses quickly and can be life threatening so if your dog has been playing in or around water and shows any of the symptoms listed above, it’s imperative that you visit the closest veterinarian as soon as possible.
Prevention is Key
Prevention is the best course of action with water intoxication. Be sure to supervise your dog around water at all times, familiarize yourself with the symptoms, and monitor your dog’s appearance and behavior. Do not allow your dog to consume large amounts of water at one time after hard play or exercise; instead, give frequent, short water breaks.
“Dr. Yetter’s professional & compassionate care enabled us to have Lady as a member of our family for over 17 years. Through his knowledge, extensive research, and willingness to reach out, he provided Lady with a long quality life in spite of numerous health issues. We are eternally grateful.”
— Diane & Terry Svob
“Dr. Yetter and the staff at Prairie Ridge have given excellent care to my family of pets for about 20 years. I always feel comfortable asking questions and knowing I will get complete, caring answers. Dr. Yetter researches to find the best treatment options. My cats and dog are family to me, and we trust Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic.”
“We are so grateful for the hard work and extra research Dr. Yetter did for our Tansy-cat to find out why she wasn’t eating. If there is a time when your most precious friend is ill and you need to trust someone to care for them, Dr. Yetter is definitely that person! He went above and beyond to do everything he could to save our beautiful Tansy.”
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“My pets have been patients of Dr. Yetter and his great staff for many years, and I have always been grateful for their efficiency and helpfulness. Having good care right here in Havana is a big plus!”
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“I began to bring in my labs into PRVC when I started working there, and was happy to have such a caring and knowledgeable doctor to take care of two of my best friends. It always amazes me just how much care goes into each and every animal, let alone the perseverance of Dr. Yetter and staff (I should call them family) in working out how to treat each and every problem.”
— Chris Johnson