Saltwater poisoning in pets is a threat to pet health and outdoor pet funWhen we think of beach and ocean safety, certain ideas immediately come to mind – drowning, sunburns, jellyfish, etc. Drinking too much salt water generally isn’t one of them, but for our pets, this should be of particular concern.

Saltwater poisoning in pets is a serious and often overlooked risk. Review our beach safety tips to keep your day at the shore from turning into a tragedy.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Ingesting too much saltwater is toxic to dogs, cats, and humans. When the intestines contain excess salt (a condition known as hypernatremia), it causes water from the bloodstream to enter into the intestines. Many problems can result from hypernatremia, including death in extreme cases.

Signs and Symptoms

Saltwater poisoning in pets can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination/stumbling
  • Swelling
  • Excessive thirst or urination

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms after a day at the beach, please contact us or bring your pet in immediately. If left untreated, saltwater poisoning in pets can cause kidney damage, brain swelling/damage, seizures, or death.

Preventing Saltwater Poisoning in Pets

Whether you live in the city or near the shore, protecting your pet while at the beach (or during any outdoor summer activity) is a must.

  • To offset the effects of ingesting salt water, take breaks every 15 minutes, and offer fresh drinking water to your pet. Bring a bottle with a sports cap so you can squirt water into their mouth if they refuse to drink from a bowl.
  • Always rinse your dog thoroughly after swimming to remove excess salt water and towel dry.
  • Tennis balls or other toys soaked in ocean water can cause problems for pets. Make sure to take the toy away and rinse it when you’re done for the day.
  • Even during water play, pets can suffer the effects of too much sun and heat. Take breaks in the shade, and always monitor your pet for signs of heat exhaustion (excessive panting/drooling, pale or bright red gums, vomiting, collapse).

The team at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital wants you and your pet to make the most out of this wonderful season! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about ocean/beach safety or heat safety for pets.