July 13, 2010
Summer is here and most people seem to flock toward water
whether it be the swimming pool out back or the beach. These
activities go hand and hand with the importance to stay hydrated
with clean and fresh water. Our dogs however, don't know the
difference between a Dasani and a toilet bowl.
Many people like to include their dogs when swimming in the pool
and as long as you keep an eye on them, this can be a joy for both
you and your K9 friend. But should you be worried about them
drinking or ingesting the pool water?
"The concentration levels of the chlorine should not be high
enough to cause any problems for your dog if he takes a few laps of
pool water," explains Dr. Mark Stickney clinical assistant
professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. "However, if you have a
saline, or salt water, pool this would be very similar to ocean
water which is bad for your dog's kidneys."
Make sure there is always fresh water available near your dog.
Stickney recommends changing this water out twice a day and keeping
it as cold as possible.
After the fun in the sun is over, most will want to clean up and
cool off. If you have been at the beach or lake all day it would
not be a bad idea to give Sparky a bath. Stickney advises not to
give your dog a bath more than twice a week. Because dogs
have natural oils in their skin, you want to be careful not to over
bathe them which could result in them having dry skin and dandruff.
Rinsing them off with a hose is usually deemed efficient.
You are freshening up in the powder room when suddenly you
realize that your humming has an undertone of sloshing noises only
to turn around to find your fluffy friend who was drenching you in
kisses just moments before drinking out of the family toilet! Sound
"This is definitely not a healthy habit for a dog to have due to
the risk of them consuming the chemicals used to clean toilets, not
to mention all of the bacteria in there," said Stickney.
In a dog's eyes water is water and this includes standing water
that can collect in miscellaneous areas around a property or
street. When taking your dog for walks or letting him run around a
property try to avoid letting them drink this water.
"Other animals can urinate or defecate near standing water which
can cause a common parasite called Giardia to give your dog severe
diarrhea if he drinks this water. There is also a bacterial disease
spread through animal urine called Leptospirosis that can cause
dogs to have liver and kidney failure," explains Stickney.
Many people are very aware of the importance of having clean
water as a part of their dog's diet. Others might have a
picky pooch that turns his or her nose up at the site of anything
second rate. There are even vitamin water beverages now that can be
purchased for Man's best friend. This water can also contain an
assortment of flavors such as beef, gutter water, liver, etc.
"As long as your dog is regularly on a well-balanced diet there
will not be any vitamin deficiencies", grinned Stickney in
reference to this cute but unnecessary invention.
In most cases dogs will naturally regulate their water intake to
meet their needs. However, if you suspect that your dog is
dehydrated or you have a hyperactive dog that is running around a
lot outside in the heat, you should encourage the dog to take a
break and drink cool water.
"Dog owners can also try switching out dry dog food for canned
wet food which contains more water, if they feel that the dog is
having problems staying hydrated," said Stickney.
On the opposite hand, very rarely will dogs binge drink, but if
you observe this unusual behavior in your dog, hyponatremia can
occur just as it would if humans consumed an excess of water.
"One medical cause for this behavior could be acute renal
failure which can be detected in a blood test. One cause of this is
a dog ingesting antifreeze that might have been on the floor in the
owner's garage. The antifreeze causes crystals to form in the dog's
kidney which disrupts proper fluid and electrolyte balance."
Stickney continues, "Addison's disease, caused by
hypoadrenocorticisn in dogs, is also another possibility for binge
drinking behavior. This disease is trickier to diagnose but it
affects the dog's ability to regulate electrolyte levels in their
Most people do not think twice about how often we come into
contact with water on a daily basis. Just remember that your dog
does not always have the same common sense about what is healthy
for them when it comes to water. Whether it is something they
decide to drink or something they decide to jump into, help them
make it a good clean splash!
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