There’s something lurking in the water and that something could potentially kill your dog. We’ve all heard of drowning dangers and the dangers of dogs not consuming enough water. There are, however, some dangers and misconceptions floating around the Web about dog water dangers.
Let us splash a FiDOSE of Reality over these dog dangers, tell you how to avoid them, and clear the air with a few “no, that just isn’t true-isms.” Here we go:
“I have friends that took a trip to the beach last year,” Fidose of Reality fan, Nanette Roberts, says. “Unfortunately, during a morning stroll, their fur baby stepped on a jellyfish that had washed up on shore. Never even considering the possibility, they were unprepared and had to make an emergency run to the store. Now, they are prepared and always have the “Jellyfish Kit” on hand, when going to the beach.”
Jellyfish present a real and present danger if you take your dog to the beach. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation is important. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
CLICK HERE: Help for a Dog Stung by a Jellyfish
NOT All Dogs are Natural Born Swimmers
Not all dogs innately love to swim and are not natural born swimmers in the water. Though many dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Never force a dog to swim. If your dog is near a pool or body of water, ensure he or she has a life vests or life jackets. According to petMD, and we concur, never rely on the life vest so much that you leave your dog unattended.
In general, dogs can be categorized in one of the following three areas:
- Dogs who can swim with a natural ability;
- Dogs who are not able to stay afloat/survive in water;
- Dogs who can be taught to swim and enjoy the experience;
Never force a dog to swim if he or she shows signs of displeasure/not liking it. You can still take your pooch along on a boat, to the lake, or beach with certain precautions in place, as noted.
Say what? Blastomycosis is a fungal disease primarily affecting dogs and people. It primarily affects the respiratory tract but can cause eye and skin issues. The cause might surprise you: Moist soil! And who among us does not have their dog around moist soil? It rains, we go into the woods or on park walks, near bodies of water, and so on.
Rock star service dog and a good friend of ours, Gander the Service Dog, is presently affected with blastomycosis. The Merck Veterinary Manual reports that about 85 percent of dogs have respiratory involvement. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, coughing, eye inflammation, weight loss, and others. In Gander’s case, it was caught in time. The disease can be fatal if not caught and treated early on.
Prevention is tricky at best. According to petMD, “The only useful recommendation that can be given is to avoid lakes and streams where risk of exposure is greatest. This is, admittedly, an impractical suggestion for most. If you do live or spend time in these types of geographic areas, you may practicably be able to avoid the dense, dark areas where the fungus would thrive, reducing your pet’s risk of exposure. As well, if your dog’s immune system is already compromised, you will not want to include it in trips to high risk area.”
The focus is definitely on keeping your pet hydrated year-round. In fact, our friends at PetSafe™ remind us that your dog (or cat) needs one ounce of water per pound of body weight. Too much of a good thing, however, can be a bad thing. Have you heard of water intoxication? It can happen to people and pets.
Water intoxication happens when the body takes in more water than it can handle. The result is often fatal. How is it possible dogs can take in too much water?
- Swimming and swallowing water
- Playing with the hose
- Frolicking in the ocean and taking in water
Additionally, if a body of water is closed due to blue green algae bloom, do not let your dog in it nor drink from it. As a lifelong dog parent and dog writer of over 10 years, I have seen many dogs fall victim to diseases from water.
Standing water is a likely source of leptospirosis, which stems from water being contaminated with urine from rodents and the like. So if it’s a puddle and your dog is thirsty: DON’T DO IT! There are many ways to easily transport water for your dog. I just purchased a S’Well bottle for myself, my spouse, and my dog. It keeps water cold for up to 24 hours without ice. It works. Carry that and a collapsible water bowl. Easy peasy and your dog will be safe.
Life-threatening hyponatremia (excessively low sodium levels) can result with water intoxication. In an article for Whole Dog Journal, Dr. Janet Dunn shares, “It’s not only how low the sodium falls, but it’s how quickly it falls.”
Avoid water intoxication by:
Taking frequent breaks during water play. If you toss your dog a toy into a body of water, every time they retrieve the toy, they are consuming water as well.
Be careful with hose play: Biting at the water from the hose is a summertime rite of passage for many dogs. Use caution and limit the amount of time dogs are allowed to “catch” or “bite” at water from the hose.
Take breaks and often clean, cool, fresh water: If playing in the ocean, let your dog take breaks and be sure he or she drinks clean water from your own source.
Ah, the great Internet urban myth. I’ve seen headlines like:
“Ice Cubes Can Kill Your Dog!”
Um, no, not really.
In a report for ABC News, Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, reports this is totally false.
“This is not true,” said Dr. Wismer. “Dogs do not bloat from drinking ice water on hot days… They can be given as treats or put in the water bowl. Some behaviorists even recommend freezing toys or treats in ice for dogs to chew on.”
Why the rumors about dogs and ice cubes then? Everything you read online is not true: Surprise surprise! There are dangers with ice cubes and dogs that include:
- Allowing dogs to chew ice cubes and the possibility of the cube(s) getting lodged in the dog’s throat;
- Dental damage to teeth due to chomping on ice;
Note: Eating or drinking too fast can cause bloat in dogs, and that is with or without ice. I know my dog personally does not like water with a ton of ice: He turns his nose up.
Disgusting Water Bowl Ring
Did you ever rub your fingers around the inside rim of your dog’s water bowl? If you feel a slimy substance there, you’ve got a problem. Clean your dog’s water bowl daily with warm water and dish liquid.
A stainless steel or ceramic bowl are best for your dog. Either way, a clean bowl makes for a healthy dog. That slimy substance you feel is a biofilm that basically holds bacteria together so that it clings to the inside of your dog’s water bowl.
Just keep the bowl clean with daily scrubbing. Hot water doesn’t cut it: You need to actually clean the bowl with a pet-friendly cleaner: You know, like dish liquid.
Ah, the dreaded porcelain castle. Keep the lid down. Dogs should not be drinking from a toilet. It’s an age old joke and fodder for Internet memes, but toilet water can harm or kill a dog. Why?
Well we defecate and urinate into it, so there’s that. Toilet water is dirty and any cleaning chemicals in the bowl or tank get into the water and make it worse.
Did you know some people put antifreeze in their toilet during the colder months so the water does not freeze? Antifreeze and dogs are a lethal combination.
This is a growing concern in the water supply. The folks at Dogs Naturally Magazine write that the fluoride added to our water supply is synthesized fluoride. They say that osteosarcoma, which can be caused by fluoride, is the most common primary bone tumor in dogs, occurring in over 8, 000 dogs each year in the United States.
So what can diligent pet parents do?
Dogs Naturally Magazine recommends pet parents consider distilled water or installing a reverse osmosis system. Avoid toothpaste with fluoride, and if feeding your dog fruits and vegetables, try to obtain organic produce that is organic. Note: You should be using a dog-safe toothpaste to begin with, so be careful.
Giving your dog access to clean, filtered water is key. We all want our dogs to live longer, healthier lives, right? Keep harmful contaminants lurking in the water away from your dog.
Did we miss any water dangers? Let us know how you keep your dog healthy year round in the comments below. We love and encourage our readers to bark back!