Skip to main content

Hyponatraemia - Water Intoxication in Dogs

Many dogs love a good swim or playing fetch in the water. These activities seem pretty harmless to your pup, especially considering how much fun they are having. However, your pup can have too much of a good thing. A lot of pet owners don't realize that it's actually possible for your dog can have too much water. Water intoxication, which results in life threatening hyponatremia (excessively low sodium levels), is a relatively rare but frequently fatal condition in dogs. Dogs who enjoy playing in water for long periods of time are at the highest risk. However, even a lawn sprinkler or hose can pose a hazard for pets that love to snap at or "catch" spraying water.

Hyponatremia occurs when more water enters the body than it can process. The presence of so much water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance. The excess water depletes sodium levels in extracellular fluid (fluid outside of cells). Sodium maintains blood pressure and nerve and muscle function.
When the sodium concentration in extracellular fluid drops, the cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels. This inflow of water causes the cells - including those in the brain - to swell. The central nervous system can also be affected.

Any dog can develop hyponatremia, however, it's most common in dogs who stay in lakes, ponds, or pools for long periods of time, or pets that lap or bite at water continuously while playing in it. This also includes dogs that swallow water unintentionally as they dive for a ball or toy. You may not think this is a lot of water, but it is. This condition has also been reported in dogs that over-hydrate during or after exercise. Water intoxication can effect any size or breed of dog. Water intoxication progresses quickly and can be life threatening - if you notice any of the symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately.

Symptoms include:
Staggering/loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.

If your dog loves the water, make sure you're there to supervise his activity. If your pet is repeatedly retrieving the ball or toy from the water, make sure you are taking frequent breaks, especially on days when the water is rough.
Observe how your dog interacts with water - if her mouth is open a lot - even if shes holding a ball or stick - understand that she's likely ingesting a fair amount of water.
After hard play or exercise, use caution when your dog rehydrates. If he immediately drinks the entire bowl, rest him for a bit before refilling the bowl. If your dog is very active, take water with you and give him frequent, short water breaks.

*** Salt Water Toxicity
With beach season in full effect, keep in mind that excessive intake of salt water can result in hypernatremia, or salt poisoning, which is the opposite of hyponatremia. Always have fresh, clean water available, especially when your dog is around salt water. Try to prevent as much intake of salt water as possible, do not let them drink this water. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, seizures, progressive depression, and severe brain swelling. Hypernatremia is potentially life threatening and immediate vet care is needed.


Popular posts from this blog

Brand New Salon

Hello! Welcome to our blog! We are a brand new grooming salon that provides services for both cats and dogs in Bon Air. We are located on Buford Road next to Buford Road Pharmacy. Since opening, we have received several questions from clients asking if we are affiliated with the salon that was previously here, Burroughs. We purchased the salon in November and since it has been cleaned, remodeled, and upgraded. The salon is under completely new ownership, new management, and we are in no way affiliated with Burroughs! Our Salon has a completely open concept so that we can visually see your pet the whole time they are in our care. We take every precaution to guarantee safety, which is why we have cameras throughout our facility. We never use any type of heated dryers or enclosed crates. Unlike corporate salons, our main goal is to ensure safety, quality, and a more personable experience.

Our Story Mr. Herbert Alexander, the owner of Bows & Bones Pet Grooming, opened the salon in Apr…

Types of Flea & Tick Prevention

Fleas can be a pain in the tail to get rid of. Although fleas are less active in the Winter, they are still able to live in warm micro environments such as your house year round so it's important to keep your dog on his/her regular flea/tick prevention treatment. In today's market, there are several different treatment options for flea & tick prevention. It's important to know about the different options, how they work, and how they can effect your pet.

Some people see fleas and think "no big deal, they just make my dog itch", give their pet a flea bath and call it a day. It's important to know the dangers of fleas and why they need to be taken care of ASAP. Fleas can cause a wide variety of issues for your pets. The most common issue is flea bite dermatitis which is a specific allergy to flea saliva, which leads to intense itching and scratching. That constant itching allows the skin to break open and form scabs that can get infected. This can easily war…