Water Intoxication

In Uncategorized by Denico Brand

Water intoxication poses serious risks to your dog. Read this article to learn more.

What is water intoxication you ask, surely you can never have too much water?? 

Unfortunately yes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Water Intoxication (or also referred to as water toxaemia, hyper-hydration or water poisoning) is caused when your dog ingests too much water in a short space of time. For example while playing at the dam or in rivers. 

With a large amount of water ingested in a short period of time the electrolyte levels are disturbed within the body and which then effects the function of the brain. 

Symptoms may include the one or more of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lathery (pale)
  • Dilated pupils

To more severe symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Collapsing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • And seizures

So is your dog at risk?

All dogs are at risk of developing water intoxication however here are some factors which increase your chances. Dogs that gulp water while swimming or even dogs who bite at the water coming out of the hosepipe. Smaller dogs are at a larger risk than bigger dogs as they have less body mass. Dogs that are very high drive because they do not allow themselves to rest. 

What should you do if you think your dog might have water intoxication or is showing any of the symptoms above?

Water intoxication can progress very quickly and it is essential that you get to your nearest Veterinarian as soon as possible. Your dog will need to have blood work done to test for low levels of electrolytes and then your veterinarian can proceed with an appropriate plan.  In advanced cases or if intervention is not taken in time it can lead to irreversible damage and in many cases the dogs need to be euthanized. 

Prevention is a must in this case!

When your dogs are playing with water make sure that they have breaks. Call them out of the water, allow them a chance to rest, make sure that they go to the toilet. If your dog loves chasing toys in the water try changing large round objects out for flatter toys. This will allow your dog to be able to close their mouth a little tighter and thus will swallow less water. 

Some of our dogs absolutely love the water and we don’t want to stop them completely but make sure you are aware of what is happening and observe any changes in behaviour closely.  If you are in doubt or are concerned, rather take them to your veterinarian.