| Michaela Fisher
Summer is well underway, and with it comes the heat! One way many dogs cool off is with a little swim! But before you let Fido take a dip, let’s talk about swim safety with your canine companion.
It’s great if your dog loves water, but too much of a good thing can be dangerous! Some dogs while playing fetch in a pond or lake can accidentally ingest too much of the water in a very short period of time. This can also be accomplished by dogs who “catch” water from hoses. When a dog drinks too much water in too short of a time they may experience water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia. This potentially fatal condition manifests in symptoms such as lethargy, loss of coordination, bloating, vomiting, and glazed eyes. If your dog is playing in the water and starts to exhibit these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately for care.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is certainly true with water intoxication. To prevent your dog from getting this dangerous condition ensure they take breaks when playing in or with water.
We’ve all seen algae in ponds and lakes before, but some types are poisonous to your dog. Blue-green algae is actually a bacteria that produces toxins that can affect dogs as well as livestock and people. While swimming in waters with blue-green algae, your dog might inadvertently consume the bacteria, resulting in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool, weakness, shock, and even seizures. As with water intoxication, if your pet starts to exhibit these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
To ensure your dog’s safety, be aware of the current bloom of blue-green algae in your area. Check websites and call whatever park or nature area you might be bringing your dog to. These places will typically be able to tell you if they recently have had an algal bloom.
Floaties and More!
Sometimes our dogs might need a little bit of help in the water, just like us! Depending on the age, breed, and health status of your dog, looking into dog floatation devices could be a good option! This is especially a great idea if you are taking your dogs on a boat or kayak, where shore could be far away. We wear life jackets, so why not our dogs too?
We hope these tips help you and your dog stay safe this summer, while still enjoying the water! Safe swimming!