Written by Krista Vernaleken, VMD
While your dog is playing at the beach, does he end up drinking a ton of ocean water? But how bad could that be, right? It’s just salt, right? …I mean, those potato chips I just ate had lots of salt, and I’m OK. I think.
Remember how if you’re stuck on a desert island, you can’t drink the ocean water?
Pets (dogs in particular) can be exposed to excess salt from play at the beach, eating paintballs, eating playdough, and sometimes due to owners intentionally giving their dogs salt to make them vomit.
A thirsty dog drinks. They don’t always pay attention to what they’re drinking. And lots of salt can be ingested just from toys that get soaked in salt water that they squish and squeeze with their mouths. Keep an eye on your dog’s water ingestion while at the beach and take them out of the water if it seems excessive. Always make fresh water available so they do not feel tempted to drink the sea water.
If your dog shows ANY signs of distress (including more general signs like vomiting or diarrhea), we advise a vet visit where we can check the sodium levels and provide them with additional hydration. Salt ingestion can be fatal, and is much easier to treat when caught earlier.
Provide lots of fresh water after their beach excursion, this will help keep them hydrated, and allow their bodies to rid themselves of the extra salt.
For more information on salt toxicity in dogs, check out the Pet Poison Helpline.