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Especially with hot temperatures in summer, it is pointed out again and again that the four-legged friend should be offered fresh water on a regular basis. Refreshment in the cool water is just as welcome for many four-legged friends – after all, the heat usually worries our dogs more than us. How can it be that dogs get water poisoning when water is actually only beneficial?
Vets also call water poisoning in dogs “hypotonic overhydration” . This condition occurs when the dog’s electrolyte balance is out of whack due to excessive water intake.
What happens if a dog suffers from water poisoning?
If the dog has consumed more water than it should, the sodium levels in the cells will drop and they will begin to store water. Now urine production is slowed down so that the dog does not lose additional electrolytes. The four-legged friend can no longer excrete the water itself, but at the same time becomes more thirsty. The water-storing cells swell and thus create excess pressure , for example in the head, which can lead to neurological disorders. The alveoli also begin to swell – the animal is in danger of death if no countermeasures are taken.
First aid measures
If you get the impression that your dog has been drinking too much , remove the water source and wait until he loses excess water by urinating. If the condition of your four-legged friend is already worse and you can see that it no longer urinates on its own, see your vet immediately . Until then, you can offer your dog salt sticks / pretzels to replenish the electrolytes and help the kidneys to excrete the water.
At the vet
Once you have reached the vet, you should tell them what your four-legged friend has experienced before. Did you have him fetched out of the water? Did he swim a lot? Or did I play the sprinkler? Especially when playing and romping in the water, a dog can absorb a lot of water in a short time without being noticed and run the risk of water poisoning. If there is reason to believe, the vet will check the blood values of your furry friend and provide immediate help for the messed up electrolyte balance . The dog’s lack of sodium must be made up for in order for the kidneys to work normally. In addition, the over-pressure of the cells must be normalized again by the stored water. Your dog will therefore be fed electrolytes as well diuretic drugs . Since the long-term effects of water poisoning can lead to serious problems even a few days later , the vet will carry out further blood tests until the all-clear is given.
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Prevent water poisoning in dogs
If you have planned a day at the water with your dog, you should keep an eye on him and, above all, take breaks when retrieving from the water and pay attention to the general condition of your dog . Does he urinate normally? Perhaps he has excessive thirst that you find unusual? Up to 100 ml of water per kilogram of body weight are normal per day . A dog weighing 10 kilograms would not drink more than a liter a day.
This value is only a rough guideline, because the water requirement can vary greatly, depending on the outside temperature, physical activity and feeding of the dog, etc. A dog that receives dry food drinks almost twice as much as a dog that eats wet food. Also, smaller dogs, puppies and trained dogs with low body fat faster threatened by a water intoxication . Compared to larger dogs, they simply have less mass and are therefore less able to compensate for the excess water intake.
Symptoms of water poisoning
The following symptoms of possible water poisoning should alert you:
- Light-colored mucous membranes
- Dilated pupils
- Inability to urinate
- Restlessness and fatigue
- Disturbances in consciousness up to unconsciousness
- Increased salivation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloated appearance or abdomen
- Lack of appetite
Keep in mind that not all symptoms have to appear at the same time . Symptoms can also be delayed or isolated . Likewise, listen to your gut instinct and take your four-legged friend to the vet immediately if your dog behaves differently or seems strange to you. It is better to go to the practice too much than to react too late, because if, in the worst case, it was water poisoning, this would lead to the death of the animal within two to eight hours if left untreated .
Of course, you shouldn’t do without the water fun completely! Fortunately, the risk of water poisoning is usually rather low . Be sure to keep the information in mind. Don’t let your dog fetch, swim or play with the sprinkler for too long, but always give him breaks. Watch it carefully and have some salty snacks with you in case you are planning a day trip to the lake. Otherwise: Enjoy the time and enjoy your dog’s enthusiasm for the shared experience!
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