Water Intoxication

Water Intoxication


A few weeks ago, a happy dog owner spent a day at the lake with her family.

As always, her two year-old dog Bob went along with them and the family and the dog played together happily.

The family would throw a stick or ball into the water while Bob would rush out, retrieve it and then bring it back.  They repeated this over and over.  Each time Bob came back ready for more; a bundle of energy and joy.

After around an hour and a half, Bob had been in and out of the lake more than twenty times to collect balls and sticks.  He seemed content but no one could have known the danger he was in

Just a short while later the owner realised something was wrong with her dog.  The last time he returned from the lake he didn’t shake off he water as he usually did.

Shortly afterwards he slumped to the ground looking worn out.

With the dog’s condition deteriorating quickly the family decided to rush him to the vet.  On the journey he worsened further and the family knew they had to do something if they were to keep him alive.

When they finally arrived at the vets the dog was immediately hurried into care.  Sadly, it was without success; the little dog had died.

Only after he had passed did the family learn what had happened to their best friend.  He had suffered from water intoxication, also known as hyponatraemia.

Tragically this kills thousands of dogs every year.  It might not be very common but its good to know what can happen and in what situations the risk is more extreme.

The condition is brought on by excessive fluid intake, which causes the body to lose sodium.  As a result, the body’s cells begin to fill with water and swell.  If the cells in the brain swell it can affect the central nervous system which can be fatal.

It’s important to remember that dogs can’t always determine when they need to stop drinking.  This can occur when they are playing in the ocean, a pool or drinking from a water hose.

The first symptoms of water intoxication can be weakness, dizziness, loss of appetite or nausea and vomiting.


symptoms of water intoxication can include:


·         Tiredness

·         Confusion

·         Excessive licking

·         Loss of appetite

·         Vomiting

·         Bloated stomach

·         Widened pupils and a glazed look

·         In severe cases; difficulty breathing, cramps and loss of consciousness


Small dogs that are high energy and love to play in the water are at higher risk because they can absorb a lot of fluid in relation to their body size. 

It is always important as an owner to keep an eye on your dog if they love playing in the water.  Some dogs love to throw themselves into waves or completely submerge themselves, which puts them at added risk of taking in too much water.


What to do if it occurs:


If you suspect your dog may be suffering from water intoxication, you should always contact a vet directly.

The family didn’t know that Bob was in danger and will certainly regret what happened forevermore.