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. But 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 his 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 to recognize that dogs should never be allowed to liberally 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 exacerbate. 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 salt water by grasping that salt water drenched tennis ball or by simply getting splashed by the waves when the dog's mouth is open.
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 it is generally short lived and the dog will progressively improve within a short time. If the dog though does not get better, the diarrhea persists for a long time, and the dog becomes lethargic and disinterested in it surroundings and in food, a vet should be consulted promptly.
So how to treat beach diarrhea? These dog upset stomach home remedies may be helpful for mild cases, but if you decide to be fast and cook a bland diet, just make sure you do not use any salt. Your dog has definitely had enough!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli