The Effects of Salt Water on Dogs
That splendid day spent at the beach with your dog may bring home more than fond memories of the sight of waves and the pleasant scent of the ocean breeze. Indeed, dogs may pay a high price for the hours spent rolling in the sand and playfully trying to catch the waves. The culprit of a great day turned bad is known as ''beach diarrhea'' and it comes as a courtesy of the salt water your dog ingests as he enthusiastically romps around amid the waves with that ball or Frisbee in its mouth.
What Exactly is Beach Diarrhea?
Beach diarrhea is quite different from the average diarrhea your dog gets from eating something he should not have. Typically, dog owners report beach diarrhea to being a very liquid, projectile diarrhea that seems to just shoot out of the dog's rear end. This form of diarrhea happens quickly and is caused by the salt water pulling fluids from the intestinal tissues (osmotic effect). It can be diagnosed based on the history of the dog being at the beach and can be confirmed by having the dog evaluated for hypernatremia ( a sudden increase in sodium).
A case of beach diarrhea
How to Prevent and Treat Beach Diarrhea
It is very important first of all to recognize that dogs should never be allowed to liberatally drink salt water. Drinking salt water in large amounts and very quickly may ultimately cause the dog to vomit it back up, with the devastating effect of making the dog further prone to dehydration, especially if he is romping around a lot under the sun.
The ingestion of sand along with the salt water may further irritate the intestinal tract causing the symptoms to exarcerbate. Not only, at times salt water may also contain microorganisms, toxins, algae and harmful bacteria.
A common misconception is that in order for a dog to develop beach diarrhea it must drink salt water. It is often forgotten that dogs may ingest repeatedly small amounts of salted water by grasping that salt water drenched tennis ball or by simply getting splashed by the waves when the dog's mouth is open.
So How do You Deal with Your Dog Being Thirsty?
Dogs should be restricted to drink only fresh water brought along just for Rover from home. This fresh water should be offered in a clean bowl frequently throughout the day. Dogs at the beach should also be allowed to rest at frequent intervals in order to prevent excess fluid loss and over heating.
As seen, beach diarrhea can be prevented by providing fresh water and limiting the ingestion of salt water. Should the dog still develop beach diarrhea, the good news is that generally it is short lived and the dog will progressively improve within a short time. If the dog does not get better and becomes lethargic, disinterested in it surroundings and in food, a vet should be consulted promptly.
So how to treat beach diarrhea? The following dog upset stomach home remedies may be helpful, but if you decide to fast and then cook a bland diet, just make sure you do not use any salt, your dog has definitively had enough!
Dog Upset Stomach Home Remedies
Disclaimer: this article is not to be used as a replacement for professional veterinary advice. If your dog is sick, please see your vet. By reading this article, you accept this disclaimer.
Several Other Hidden Dangers at the Beach
- How to keep your pet cool in hot weather
During the dog days of summer (pun intended!) pets easily can become overheated risking heat exhaustion. Because dogs and cats are unable to sweat as we humans do, they musy resort to panting to cool their...
- Keeping your dog safe at the beach
The beach can be a multi sensorial experience for your dog, just romping around on the sand, chasing the waves or simply soaking the sun rays on a cozy blanket, may surely make him happy. However, as a...
More by this Author
Learn about the most common and some not-so common causes of limping in dogs. Find out how to palpate the injured leg and decide what to do.
Learn some vet-approved home remedies to help your vomiting dog. Plus how to make a bland diet for your dog.
Learn effective vet-approved natural remedies to treat your dog's stomach problems at home. Find an easy-to-make bland diet recipe for your pup that you can make with food from your kitchen's pantry!