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How to Protect Your Dog at the Beach

 Anyone who raises a pet, or has done so in the past, can’t help shedding a tear when hearing what happened to Chris Taylor of Florida. At the beginning of July 2018, Chris went out with his beloved dog, O.G for a day of fun at the beach as they did plenty of times before. All went well during their time at the beach, O.G played and swam, and everything seemed regular.

 

When they returned to their home in the evening, O.G began to have diarrhea and vomit, and he seemed to feel intense pain in his stomach. Chris thought to himself that maybe O.G ate or swallowed something at the beach and by morning it would pass and he would feel better, however, he could never have imagined what would happen the next morning. Chris woke up and noticed that his beloved dog was unable to stand, all his muscles were shaking, he became sleepy and without appetite. Chris did not know what had happened to his beloved dog and immediately took him to the vet for medical treatment, however, it was too late and he died a few hours later...

The results showed that neither spoiled food nor sea animals caused the death of the poor dog, but sea water. If you’re asking yourself what is the connection between O.G’s death and sea water, what preliminary symptoms can be diagnosed to prevent such incidents and how to protect your dog so that a day of fun at the beach doesn’t end in disaster, you should read the next article - Watch Chris tell his story and warn other dog owners of a similar fate.

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What caused O.G's death and what are the symptoms?

Every year, and especially in the summer, there are quite a few cases where dogs who were at the beach or in the pool died a few hours later. The main cause of these deaths, just as in O.G’s death, is related to saltwater poisoning brought on by drinking the sea water in large quantities while swimming or playing in the water, followed by the amount of sodium in the dog’s body rising and causing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or weakness, exaggerated swelling, slack tongue, ataxia (trembling walking) and muscle tremors. Most dog owners do not notice these early symptoms or attach great importance to them, but early detection can save many dogs' lives, so it is important to be alert and watch them especially after being at the beach or in the pool.

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What can you do while at the beach with your pet?

In order to avoid the unnecessary death of our pet, veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber recommends the following principles when taking your pet to the beach or pool:

  • Look for shade - make sure to find a shady place where the dog will be able to rest, when it is exposed for a long time to the sun it may become dehydrated. When it loses fluid the level of salts in the body rises and at the same time, it may swallow a large amount of salt water that increases the levels of sodium in the body even more.
  • Clean drinking water - As you have already seen, saltwater can be deadly to your dog, so you should let it drink clean water just like you. An important thing to do is to initiate drinking breaks after every few minutes of playing with the dog under the sun. It needs to drink to balance the level of sodium in its body.
  • Limiting ocean time - According to Dr.Werber, the dog can stay in the water for up to two hours at most, because when the dog swims or plays in the water, its mouth remains open which causes it to swallow dangerous amount of salt water.  
  • Quick Beach Shower - It is highly recommended that you wash your dogs in the showers at the beach or in the pool and remove the salt residue from the water on their bodies. The reason is that when a dog scratches areas of its body it uses its mouth and tongue, and the salt that enters its mouth is added to the amount of sodium that the dog may have already swallowed.
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What should you do if you spot one or more of the symptoms?

When you come back from fun activities with your pets at the beach or pool, take a few minutes to make sure they feel good and aren’t behaving strangely. The first symptoms that require your attention from the start are diarrhea and/or vomiting. If they occur, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not push it off for later, every minute counts...

 

So if you are planning a fun day at the pool or beach, remember that you have a great responsibility and you have to protect and care for them as you would protect your children. Give them clean drinking water, make sure they have a shady place to rest and don’t let them slash around for more than two hours in salt water. If you are not yet convinced of the importance of this information, we invite you to watch the following video to see Chris recount the unfortunate death of his beloved dog:

 

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