Water Dangers To Your Dog

Dogs love water and playing in it can be good exercise for our dogs.  There are some dangers lurking in the water, though, that you need to know about to protect your dogs.

One danger is hidden debris in the water.   Dogs typically hit the water running and can easily be injured by a hidden fence post or log that is just under the surface of the water.  Only let your dog play in water where you know there are no hidden obstacles.

Another problem is protozoa, diseases, and bacteria.  Stagnate water has a host of diseases hiding in it, from giardia to Cryptosporidium to Leptospirosis.  Leptospirosis has a vaccine but it is rarely given because it can cause an allergic reaction in many dogs and it must be given frequently to maintain protection. Coccidia, a protozoa (single-celled animals), and Campylobacter, a bacteria,are also a concern.  People can get these problems from being licked by their dogs.  Exercise caution if your dog has been swimming in stagnate water and have a fecal run twice a year to detect these things if he does swim in ponds or puddles.

Blue green algae can erupt in ponds that are stagnant in the summer.  The musty or foul smell of the algae is often attractive to your dog.  It can cause skin rashes for dogs who swim in it.  Dogs should be thoroughly washed after playing in it as soon as possible.  Dogs that drink the water can drink in toxins in the algae that can effect the kidneys, liver, intestines and nervous system. Initial symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and difficulty walking. Immediate veterinary care is also advised in these cases.

If you are playing in salt water, jelly fish are a concern.  Many of them wash up on the beach and look like an interesting object to explore to your dog.  However, the stingers still work and the venom can be deadly to your dog.  The symptoms of jelly fish poisoning are anything from a mild local reaction to anaphylactic shock.  If your dog has been stung by a jelly fish, remove the tentacles without touching them directly with your hand and take your dog straight to the veterinarian.

Salt water poisoning is a problem when playing at the ocean.  Dogs love to chase toys into the ocean and retrieve them.  However, tennis balls and other soft toys can absorb enough salt water that your dog can get poisoned by the water squeezing out of the toy and into their mouth after repeated retrieves.  Mild salt water poisoning can cause diarrhea at the beach.  The excess salt in the intestines draws water from the blood into the intestines, causing the diarrhea.  It can sometimes contain blog or mucous.  Drinking large amounts of salt water can lead to vomiting, dehydration, incoodination, and seizures.  This requires veterinary care.

To avoid salt water poisoning, take a break every fifteen minutes and give your dog fresh water.  If the dog won’t drink willingly, squirt water into his mouth to make him drink.

Dogs love to play in the water and for the most part it is good exercise and lots of fun.  Just be careful of letting your dog swim in stagnate or algae infested water and take breaks every fifteen minutes and give your dog fresh water if he is playing in the ocean.